Richard Allum is Managing Director of The Paraplanners and this blog details the measures he believes will help businesses when outsourcing.
At any time, if you have made the decision to outsource a key function of your business, following a methodical and thorough process when making your selection will stand you in good stead – immediately and in the long run.
At The Paraplanners, we have a guide to outsourced paraplanning that we share with all prospective partners.
As well as deciding if outsourcing is the right solution for you, and due diligence, we’ve got ideas on the steps to take for a successful relationship for both the financial advice practice and the outsourced paraplanner.
1. Baseline your business processes and ways of working
Before you work with a new partner, make sure you understand how your business works. If you don’t already have a clear map of the business and your processes – that you can easily share and discuss with your partner – then develop one. This doesn’t need to be a lengthy process and your partner may be able to help you with a few pertinent questions. This will avoid any ambiguity, ensure nothing is missed and speed up the time it takes for you to reap the benefits of outsourcing.
2. Be open
Your partner may work with more than one financial advice practice. They’ll have interesting experiences that they’ve built up from working with different firms. This perspective is valuable for you so I’d suggest an open mind to the advice they offer and the suggestions they make. Foster an environment open to feedback – it works both ways. Their feedback will help you and your feedback will help them.
Make sure you have agreed channels and routines in place for regular communication. Stick to these and then do even more. You’ll rarely over-communicate. So, check your understanding, make sure everyone is on the same page, clear up any areas you’re not sure of. Don’t let things fester – raise issues quickly and positively so they can be resolved.
Formalise a regular review with your partner. Use this as an opportunity to take a step back and evaluate the overall health of the relationship. Prepare for the conversation by gathering feedback from those closely involved in the working relationship. Use this preparation to identify any common themes and agree priorities for improvement.
5. Set clear expectations
Make sure you have a set of jointly agreed objectives. If it’s early days, set some objectives connected to the beginning of the relationship – whether that’s team introductions, set up of new processes or service levels for the first few months as you work out how to work together.
Further on, set objectives based on priorities you establish in your reviews. Track these objectives; making sure everyone is clear on what’s expected and continue to review progress.
While many of these steps seem simple, I’ve learnt from (sometimes difficult) experience that you won’t regret taking them.