Webinar: Knowledge, Systems & Outsourcing with David Carney

Webinar: Knowledge, Systems & Outsourcing with David Carney

From The Leveraged Advice Firm Program – Audere Coaching & Consulting 

Outsourcing parts of your advice firm to others who can do it well so you can focus on what you do best is big business these days, and few are as big as Virtual Business Partners.

One of the people behind VBP is David Carney, and he’s my guest on this live Insight session to show how he’s built an outsourcing company of such significant size, specifically designed for financial advisers.

The range of services he provides extends beyond just VA, paraplanning and admin support, to cover areas like document production, marketing, and a whole host more. What we’re going to talk to David about is not just his experience in this space, but also his previous experience as a consultant to financial advisors, to give insight into how he’s made it work at scale, so you can do the same.

So up for ‘the land Down Under’!

So up for ‘the land Down Under’!

When I won the Paraplanner of the Year award, I said to myself, “Thank you, Lord, for the self-validation I have always been praying for.”

Facing 2018 was a challenge for me because of a personal journey I faced in 2017 which made me realise that, where you are now is where you are meant to be. And that sometimes, even hard work and determination to achieve a dream won’t be enough, especially if it isn’t the timeline God has set for you.

I feel blessed that somehow, all the questions I had for myself, with all the self-doubt and loss of confidence, now have answers. And it all finally makes sense.

Trip to ‘Straya!

Part of the award was a trip to Australia to meet my clients in MBS Insurance. The trip was set from the 11th to the 21st of January 2019 which was such a perfect time since it was still summer and the office was still not as busy.

The flight to Sydney was smooth. Since the schedule relatively coincides with my usual sleeping time, I basically just slept through the flight.

When I arrived, Ash (lead paraplanner of MBS) collected me at the airport and we went straight to the Blue Mountains where she lived. I stayed there for a night and then the following day, Sunday, we went for a bush walk up to the Hanging Rock.

It was an 8-km walk. I loved the scenery going there! When we reached the top, the view definitely did not disappoint. I was afraid that it might not live up to its “hype” and how it looked like in pictures. But nope, Hanging Rock was breathtaking. At first, I was having jelly legs. I’ve done treks to mountains before but this was by far the highest peak I’ve ever stood on.

Come Monday, Ash and I went to the city to meet Kristina, another one of our lead paraplanners. We went out for lunch at Café Sydney and again, I was in awe of the view. I had a medium rare beef tenderloin with potato puree and onion rings. Now, I can attest to its popular reviews – the steak definitely melts in your mouth!

After our lunch, I went ahead and explored the city all by myself. With a map in my hand and a good sense of direction, I managed to get around the city pretty well. I went to the Art Gallery of NSW to see Van Gogh and then decided to walk to the Queen Victoria building. Along the way, I also got to see St. Mary’s Cathedral and other amazing sites.

By Tuesday (15th of January), I went up to the MBS office to join our huddle. Then Loren (another lead paraplanner) picked me up for lunch as we planned to do the Spit to Manly Walk. When we reached Manly, it was time for lunch. The vibe there was refreshing, with all the funky cafes and colourful stores. I had a huge serving of their famous fish and chips for lunch and then a cone of ice cream for dessert to fight the scorching heat.

The next few days I spent visiting more places in Sydney – went to the Bondi Beach with Loren then to the fish market (by myself) to try some delicious lobster. I also spent another day in the office – had lunch with the team, played some table tennis and grabbed a drink at a nearby pub.

I also got to spend time with Carolyn (general manager) and Steph (client services manager). We headed out to The Rocks Market to see some local and artisanal products. Carolyn got me a photo taken by the local photographers as a sort of memento of my visit to Sydney. Such a really sweet gesture from her! We then had lunch at a nice place with a view of the Harbour Bridge. This time, I had a pulled pork bun and a “drink”. *wink

We took a walk down to the Sydney Opera House to have some drink at the Opera Bar. Though the place was filled with loud music, the vibe was so chill and very relaxing.

Then, Sunday came, 20th January, my last day in Sydney. When I found out about the day’s itinerary, I was pretty sure my Sydney trip was going to end with a blast!

I took the train bound for Loftus Station where Ash, Hannah and Helen collected me. We headed straight to Bundeena where we walked to Little Marley Beach and then bam! I couldn’t put into words exactly how to describe the amazing view and how the whole experience felt. Although it looks awesome in the photos, I feel like the pictures still haven’t done justice. It was just spectacular!

Time to go home

And just like that, it was now time for me to fly back home.

Throughout my Sydney trip, the MBS team didn’t fail to make me feel like I’m part of them. Not just because I was there physically that I felt that I was more than just an offshore team member, but I think it was because of how accommodating and warm they were to me. They even seemed to be more excited to tour me around than me being excited about visiting Sydney. Haha!

I couldn’t express how grateful I am to my whole VBP family especially to DC and DD, for this opportunity as well as to Christian, Tim, Team Phoenix and Team BabyCorp for all the support they provided me since day one.

This trip has made me experience a lot of new things – visiting a new country, bush and coastal walks, train rides, and not eating rice for almost 10 days! Haha! And of course, having had the chance to meet our MBS team, and this time, not just virtually but in the flesh, meant a lot to me. 

Life, indeed, has a lot to offer. We just need to be patient and take every opportunity as a step closer to our goals. And it’s full of surprises! Take that from me. Now, be ready for yours!

Watch: 2018 Year in Review

Watch: 2018 Year in Review

2018 was another amazingly fulfilling year for VBP. Apart from consistently hitting our targets and satisfying our clients, we also have greatly increased in number, both our staff and clients.

Last year, another milestone was reached as we launched our third expansion and our largest office yet.

Let’s take a look back at how 2018 went:

VBP at Five: 10 things we’ve learned along the way

VBP at Five: 10 things we’ve learned along the way

Oh, how time flies!

We can’t believe it’s been five years…yes, five years. For most businesses, five years may seem relatively new, but for us, these five amazing years have given us a lot more than we can imagine.

A mix of thrill and excitement—it definitely is a ride!

So we asked the Davids, “In those 5 years, what lessons have you learned?”

The things we learned about outsourcing and more

As we, in VBP, all know, DC (David Carney) and DD (David Deegan) met in a conference way back, talked business, drank some beer and the rest, as they say, was history.

From 2 employees to now over 300, handling everything in a rapidly growing business in a foreign land is definitely no piece of cake.

Here are 10 things that they’ve learned about running an outsourcing business according to the Davids: (in no particular order)

1.  Limiting beliefs

In outsourcing, most people think about the limitations, the things they can’t do. But one thing we’ve learned in this industry is to be open-minded, to have the ability to find things that you can can let go of and maximize the potential of an off-shore team. Because with the proper process and training (for your team members), you can get more done from outsourcing than you may think.

2.  The importance of priorities

As a business that has quickly developed in five years, there were tons of things that we had to go through—more complex clients, office expansions and most importantly IT upgrades and security. Currently, we have given more time and efforts in handling information security, this is why we are now in the process of getting certified with ISO 27001 – Information Security Management System  (ISMS).

3.  “Culture trumps strategy”

A quote from business management guru Peter Drucker. We’ve learned the importance of a strong culture and that a culture is present in any business whether we design it or not. Designing our culture has helped us get to where we are now. Nurturing an amazing team has, in turn, improved our quality of service.

4.  Business is about relationships

Essentially, the importance of relationship in a service business has been paramount to what we believe is our success with our clients; ensuring that we teach our staff to be confident, to communicate better so they can let the clients know what they need and want. In the same way, we encourage our clients to build relationships with their team members. Which is why a common tip that we give our clients is to consider their offshore members as part of their own team, have regular huddles and treat them  how they would with their Australian team.

5.  The power of clear instructions and documentation

We see  a lot of assumed knowledge in the financial services industry. Our FPAs/PPs start with less to zero knowledge before they undergo intensive training with our team. To ensure accuracy and minimal reworks, we encourage our team as well as our clients to practice giving clear instructions in any task assignment and process. We have also learned that developing a good documentation process is the ultimate tool to achieving desired results, consistency and efficiency.

6.  Engage everyone in the business

So if you’re going to outsource we believe it is important that everyone understands the WHYs and the objectives. Don’t assume they understand the reason for outsourcing and don’t assume they will necessarily be on board from day one. Make sure you have someone in your oganisation accountable for the success of outsourcing (have it as part of their KPI) and involve those that will be closest to the outsourcing team easely in the process so they understand what to do and why they’re doing it.

7.  Self-leadership

An important framework that we have in our business is called the Situational Leadership which was developed by The Ken Blanchard Companies. This has allowed our staff to be self-leaders and take ownership in identifying the training and development they require. Regular one-on-one sessions with their managers allow them to ask for the support and direction they need from us or from their clients.

Paul Stapleton (Senior Consultant, Blanchard International AU)
Situational Leadership training at VBP Cebu Office

8.  Feedback, feedback, feedback

In the course of five years, one of the most important parts of our growth is feedback. Of course, feedback from clients on how we provide services, feedback from our team towards our clients and feedback from the staff on how we are as a company. Whether pinpointing slip-ups or recognising performance highlights, feedback is vital for everyone’s growth. Make sure you are asking for feedback from clients, staff and your licencees on what’s working and what you can do better.

9.  System set you free

It’s simple. When you have a clear process and a system in place, it allows you to have more time to create, and evolve your business model. Don’t use original thought for routine activities. In fact, it is so important to us that we created these mouse pads to have in our desks as a simple everyday reminder.

 
Mouse pad design

10.  Continue to evolve

Looking at it now—the structure, how we do training, onboarding process, etc.—it’s vastly different from how we did everything a few years back. And no matter how old we get, the business will continue to evolve. Every business has 6 -10 main processes (Advise Delivery, Ongoing Service, Sales, Recruitment etc.), pick one area a quarter and review everything you do in this area, get everyone involved and look for incremental improvements. Then next quarter, pick the next area. In the span of two years, you can renovate your entire business.

Remember most people overestimate what can be done in a quarter (try to review everything) but underestimate what can be accomplished over a few years.

Let’s raise our glass to our 5th year and to many more years of supporting our clients!

Marketing tips: Blog writing checklist

Marketing tips: Blog writing checklist

Why do you need a blog?

A blog humanizes your brand. It gives your business an avenue to discuss about the things that relate to your company and clients. A blog lets you share information and opinions, it shows your voice and character as a brand. It is one of the best ways to establish your purpose and expertise.

Improves traffic and conversion rates

Blog posting is an easy way to build content to your website. As per online algorithms, the more content and pages you have on your site, the more it improves organic search visibility. Thus, increases traffic on your site.

In addition, it drives lead generation and conversion rates. Having a well-maintained blog on your site builds authority for your business and loyalty from your audience—which can be your new, existing or soon-to-be clients, potential leads and prospects.

How to start writing a blog post?

Well, some may think that creating blog posts is fairly easy. Nope.

But here’s a quick guide to help you start with your first blog entry. We have created a checklist on the stages of blog writing based on Daniel Pink’s tips on business writing from HubSpot.

 

Writing may seem intimidating at first but having a quick checklist on how to go about with the process will definitely give you an extra push to start that blog.

Moving forward, you can also create variety in your posts by experimenting with other types of content like infographics, interactive visuals, video contents, and many more.

If you need help with blog writing and other digital content production and even website revamping, click below: