The Perfect Week

Throughout my career in practice and management, I've collaborated with Agents and Financial Advisors to enhance their businesses. Many, if not all, have lamented the struggle of having too much on their plate and too little time to manage it all effectively. Time management stands as one of the pivotal aspects of running a successful business, and it's particularly crucial for business owners who must accomplish more within the constraints of limited time.

Across human history, the number three has held significant symbolism. I propose that every business can be dissected into three major components.

For Independent Agents and Financial Advisors (FAs), I advocate breaking down their workload into three major components:

  1. Marketing
  2. Business Management
  3. Personal Production

Recognizing that not all aspects of a business carry equal weight, I recommend allocating time accordingly for the vitality and prosperity of their agencies. Specifically, Agents/FAs should devote 40% of their time to Marketing (engaging in Rainmaking, Branding, and Community Outreach), 30% to Business Management (managing finances, staffing, analyzing reports, HR functions like recruiting and selecting), and the remaining 30% to Personal Production (preparing for and meeting with prospects and clients).

In a standard 40-hour workweek, this allocation would translate to 16 hours dedicated to Marketing efforts, 12 hours to Business Management, and another 12 hours to Personal Production.

As an agency expands, the allocation of time within these divisions must be reevaluated. A larger agency with more staff may necessitate the business owner spending more time on Business Management and less on Personal Production.

To assist my clients in reclaiming control over their valuable time, I've developed an exercise called 'The Perfect Week.' This exercise allows business owners to visualize an ideal week and prompts them to schedule activities and meetings that offer the greatest return on their time investment.

Let's delve into the Business Management component. I suggest that Agents/FAs set aside Friday mornings for Review and Analysis time, although any day could suffice. This dedicated time may require a setting away from the office to minimize interruptions and maintain focus. By utilizing this time effectively and consistently, reports will convey meaningful insights, trends will emerge, performance issues will surface, and opportunities will manifest.

Within the Business Management realm, regular staff/team meetings are imperative. These meetings serve as a platform for formal and structured communication, essential for fostering a strong organizational culture. It's crucial to note that staff meetings should focus on the 'Whys' of business decisions, not the 'Hows.'

Business leaders often invest substantial time and resources into crafting strategies without realizing that the organizational culture is what ultimately determines their success. Cultures thrive or wither based on communication. The weekly staff meeting serves as a vital tool for nurturing a culture of high performance and should be non-negotiable.

While staff meetings address the 'Whys,' discussions regarding 'Hows' should occur in one-on-one meetings between business owners and individual staff members. Investing in building a strong rapport with employees is crucial for fostering a culture of excellence.

The Business Management component also encompasses activities such as recruiting, conducting interviews, liaising with company representatives, etc.

Moving on to Marketing, I've allocated a significant 40% of time to this area, emphasizing its paramount importance. Insurance agencies fundamentally operate as sales organizations, and marketing is the lifeline for maintaining a pipeline of potential clients. The business owner must consistently generate leads and opportunities to sustain growth and prosperity. The quality and quantity of leads generated directly impact the agency's success.

Finally, Personal Production rounds out our time allocation model. While many Agents start by handling most, if not all, of the agency's output, their role evolves over time. This evolution typically progresses through three stages:

  1. Agent: Initially, Agents handle all tasks, from administrative duties to prospecting, selling, and servicing clients.
  2. Agent/Manager: Transitioning into a managerial role involves delegating tasks and overseeing a team to achieve objectives.
  3. Manager/Agent: In this phase, the Agent focuses more on soliciting and networking for leads while their staff handles client interactions. The agency shifts into a growth-oriented mode, servicing clients through a highly competent team.

Business owners face numerous challenges, but those who achieve higher levels of success understand the importance of prioritizing critical tasks. It's easy to become ensnared by urgent demands, but maintaining focus and discipline is paramount.

Implementing a plan for a Perfect Week empowers business owners to proactively manage these demands by prioritizing essential activities. While achieving the Perfect Week every week may not be feasible, starting with a structured outline significantly enhances the likelihood of accomplishing key objectives.

Feedback from the Agents/FAs I work with indicates that utilizing this tool to map out their actions and activities has afforded them more time and flexibility, ultimately contributing to their success.


Thomasina Skipper, CLF, ChFC, CLU, MBA, CPMBC

Business Growth Specialist

WIFS Atlanta Chapter, WIFS National Secretary

Originally posted on WIFS website on March 22, 2024

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