This article first appeared in Professional Adviser.

Help is here to get your business off to a flying start in 2023.

January might be coming to an end but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to set some new year’s resolutions.

From cutting down on chocolate to taking up a new hobby, the start of a new year can be a great time for us to step back and look at what we want to achieve in the year ahead.

But it’s not just our personal lives we should be thinking about. For IFA business owners, this can be the perfect time to evaluate where you want your company – and clients – to get to over the next 12 months.

With this in mind, here are some new year’s resolutions I believe every financial adviser should consider making for 2023.

1. Prioritise protection
Professionals like mortgage brokers are known for being proactive when it comes to selling protection, but this isn’t always the case with IFAs.

This is often because advisers don’t want to seem like they’re pushing products, but there has arguably never been a better time to reassess clients’ protection needs. Or at the very least, look at re-broking existing products.

After all, rates have generally improved and we’re all looking to save money and safeguard ourselves against any future challenges that may lie ahead.

That client who’d never considered life cover may welcome your help in navigating the market now they’ve had their first child, for instance. At the same time, one of your older clients may be very glad to save £ per annum on an existing policy amidst the current cost-of-living issues.

2. Benchmark your business
As well as reviewing client needs, now is an ideal time to undertake an assessment of the business itself. Particularly with the FCA sharpening its focus on Consumer Duty, it’s well worth getting on the front foot with an honest review of your firm; in some ways a peer comparison.

There are many ways of doing this, from comparing assets under management year on year to the number of clients being serviced per adviser. Another option is to look at how your firm stacks up in different areas outlined in industry benchmarking reports, such as those published by the PFS.

A benchmarking exercise will no doubt throw up some potential red flags that must be sorted, but also opportunities to drive operational efficiencies and enhance client service.

3. Bring external speakers into your events
With the cost-of-living crisis, and resultant mental health issues, continuing to dominate the headlines, building some features designed to support clients’ broader wellbeing into your service could prove to be very valuable.

During the pandemic, some of our advisers began inviting those who could talk sensibly about mindfulness in relation to money (and more broadly) along to their workshops and seminars, with success. Why not try this for your own events this year?

At a time when clients are inundated with doom and gloom in the news, initiatives like this can equip clients with practical tools to help them gain some perspective over their financial plans. Aside from this, the ability to understand our own behavioural triggers can add value to all of our lives.

4. Track trends in referrals
It’s very typical for advisers to see their business as a success because they only need to rely on referrals. But in taking this approach, you never know where new business really comes from – and what you might be missing out on.

Even if your business doesn’t have great MI, you can build a step into your onboarding process whereby new clients tick a box to say how they found out about your business.

With this one simple step you could build some valuable data. You might find, for example, that most referrals aren’t coming from existing clients like you’d thought, but through professional connections.

With the cost-of-living crisis affecting everyone, including advisers, it often occurs that the first thing to be cut in times like this is the marketing and business development spend. By tracking referrals, you can ensure any resource you do have is being directed towards your ‘sweet spots’.

At the very least, you’ll know who gets the good champagne come Christmas time!

If you want to get your business off to a flying start in 2023, then be sure to get on the front foot in these four areas. Being prepared is crucial to avoid missing out on some solid business development opportunities.