A good few years ago, probably 20 or more I signed to go on a one day management course in Toronto run by Dan Sullivan which was called The Strategic Coach Course. Looking back at it now it appears to have been a crazy thing to do. I flew into Toronto one day for the meeting and flew home the next day!

I did however get a few good ideas/work practices from going to that meeting which more than paid for the flight costs and I am going to share one with you. You don’t even have to leave your office!

How to increase your annual production by 60%

When we start up our own businesses and if we are working on our own we have to be a kind of jack of all trades. We do all the administration and the phoning for appointments. We complete the fact finds and the risk questionnaires and the application forms and then arrange the underwriting. We also have to do all the other bits of stuff like marketing and PR and advertising that have to be done when we are trying to run a successful business.

That’s fine at the start as we have nothing else to do but if we are successful it is very easy for us to eventually become strangled with administration and to find that we are spending much of our time on doing things that we shouldn’t really be doing at all. As a result our time available for actually doing new business can become seriously impacted upon.

It was suggested at the meeting in Toronto that it was common for up to 60% of a busy entrepreneur’s time to be spent on administration. The suggestion was that if a support person could be employed to take away all of that stuff then the time spent on doing business could increase by up to 60% in that year. As a result new business production would also increase by a similar amount.

When I first heard that amazing statistic/suggestion all I could think to myself was wow if this is true this could be a solution to something that I had been working on for years and hadn’t been able to achieve.

Back then I was an active member of The Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) a worldwide association of financial advisors. You had to be at a certain business level to qualify to attend the annual meeting. I was achieving that level quite regularly so I was able to attend the meetings.

Within MDRT they had another level just for top producers. They achieved business production levels over six times the basic qualification. Only about 3% of the overall membership of around 25,000 made that group. I had been trying to qualify to get into this Top of the Table group for many years but just hadn’t been able to do sufficient business to qualify. I really wanted to meet with those top producers and learn from them.

I knew that if I could increase my production by 60% I would qualify.

One of my business partners at that time was, and still is Dermot O Mahoney. Now Dermot is a sharp eyed accountant and his initial training was looking at costs and where possible taking costs out of a business not adding to them.

I knew that if I suggested taking on a support person that his reaction might be negative so I had to make a sound case for what I was proposing. I had to justify financially what I wanted to achieve and show him that this was an investment that would generate extra profit and that it would not necessarily be a bottom line cost.

I am not sure what my production levels were at that time but let’s say that they were €80,000 pa and the annual cost of employing a good support person was probably lose to €15,000.

Naturally the initial reaction was going to be negative, an extra cost to the business of €15,000. At times though I can be quite persuasive and I kept the conversation on the positive side and kept talking about the potential extra business that I could do of up to €48,000 by taking on a support person whose only job would be to help me do more business and take care of all the administration that needed to be done.

In fairness to Dermot he readily agreed and we advertised the position and received many applications. Two of them appeared especially good. We ultimately made the decision to take both on. One as my support and the second to support Dermot.

The outcome was truly amazing and 12 months later both of our production levels were up by more than 60% and as a result I qualified for that elusive Top of The table group and did so for 15 years in a row afterwards, by continuing to keep myself freed up to do more new business by having a support person employed to help and guide me along the way.

It proved indeed to be indeed a wonderful investment and not a cost. Arguably one of the best investments our business ever made!

Thanks Dermot!

Ted Dwyer Family Business

April 2015