The Fundamental 4™

Ironstone has identified 4 key performance areas known as the Fundamental 4™, which encompass optimal strategies required to design, develop, and sustain a successful business. 

The foundation of our professional engagements is based on these core elements and built with a step-by-step approach to create a custom road map revolving around our client objectives.  The Fundamental 4™ is the philosophy that shapes our business, ideas, and solutions.


oneStrategic Planning twoBusiness Development threeOperational Effectiveness fourHuman Element
Business Model Advisory Boards Client Database Communication
Business Plan Branding & Value Proposition Client Segmentation Culture
Compensation Capabilities Presentation Existing Client Workflow Hiring & Onboarding
Incentive Plan Client Appreciation New Client Workflow Job Descriptions
Investment Model Marketing Plan Reports & Tracking Systems Leadership
Operating Costs Niche Marketing Service Matrix Organizational Skills
Strategic Alliances Prospecting Staff Meetings Performance Evaluation
Succession Plan Referral Network Time Management Team Development
oneStrategic Planning twoBusiness Development
Business Model Advisory Boards
Business Plan Branding & Value Proposition
Compensation Capabilities Presentation
Incentive Plan Client Appreciation
Investment Model Marketing Plan
Operating Costs Niche Marketing
Strategic Alliances Prospecting
Succession Plan Referral Network
threeOperational Effectiveness fourHuman Element
Client Database Communication
Client Segmentation Culture
Existing Client Workflow Hiring & Onboarding
New Client Workflow Job Descriptions
Reports & Tracking Systems Leadership
Service Matrix Organizational Skills
Staff Meetings Performance Evaluation
Time Management Team Development


one Fundamental 1 – Strategic Planning

The main objective in this fundamental is to create an uncomplicated plan that clearly defines the direction of the practice. Primary focus areas include business and succession planning, creating organizational structure, and collaboration amongst the management team. It is crucial for management to develop realistic goals and objectives creating the framework for team member focus. Even more crucial is management's ability to communicate these goals so that the common focus permeates throughout the team. Plans and models that are stored on a computer are seldom implemented and likely to be forgotten.

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Key Performance Indicator Program Objectives
Business Model What model type are you following – solo, silo or ensemble? Strong ownership mentality helps drive success and creates focus to leverage services offered.
Business Plan Are your goals clear, attainable, and reachable? Bring your plan to life by communicating it to the team and visually tracking milestones for better business focus.
Compensation Disciplined compensation plans are crucial for top performance. Develop strategies for effectiveness without paying too much and maintaining competitive compensation.
Incentive Plan Discover how to motivate employees and grow the business. Reinforcing exceptional behavior with attainable goals tied to specific performance drives desired results.
Investment Model Designing a methodology for managing your client investments is essential for a clear representation of financial performance and aides in effective decision making.
Operating Costs What are the ongoing costs for running the business? Surprisingly many business owners have an unclear view of these expenses, which is key to achieving the sales goals.
Strategic Alliances Cultivate a web of alliances with your peers to identify and implement best practices to build a world-class business and achieve bottom line results.
Succession Plan Failure to plan for succession jeopardizes more than timing of retirement. Selecting the right successor and positioning the practice for acquisitions are both factors for active planning.



two Fundamental 2 – Business Development

The goal within Fundamental 2 is to create a clear strategy, a simple plan, and to carry out systematic execution that drives business building results. This includes creating networks, niche targets, and uniqueness within the industry. It is not enough to create the company's core values, vision, mission, and common message as a team, but to have these elements become "living" themes within a practice. Incorporating these key elements into the marketing materials, the client experience, and team communication is essential.

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Key Performance Indicator Program Objectives
Advisory Boards Select a cross section of your client base that will provide advice and objective feedback in order to elevate the level of service and enhance the current client experience.
Branding and Value Proposition Create a distinct fingerprint that sets the practice apart. Ensure brand uniqueness while effectively meeting client needs and creating the value promised.
Capabilities Presentation What's your story? Personalize and package your client experience by organizing and illustrating the components of your brand and service offering.
Client Appreciation Give clients a reason to be loyal. Define and plan events or service offerings that intend to foster, strengthen, and maintain relationships.
Marketing Plan Define implementable marketing strategies, actions, and programs to target your ideal client. Lay out tactics within segments, track activities and budgets, and analyze level of success.
Niche Marketing Who is your ideal client? Decide on a subset of the market you intend to focus your efforts. Make use of the market needs to refine the product and services to best satisfy your target.
Prospecting Systematically position the practice to attract new clients. Choose the activities that will put you at your best in order to invoke natural enthusiasm to cultivate trusting relationships.
Referral Network Who best adds value to the business? Identify the key people that promote business growth by sharing like clients and work together to build each other's businesses.



three Fundamental 3 – Operational Effectiveness

The aim for this area is defining the standard operating procedures for the practice and creating multiple tracking and reporting systems to measure results. A powerful client engagement process consists of the design and creation of FA service teams, client segmentation, service matrices, and existing and new client workflow systems. The fusion of these elements increases the efficiency of managing the workload while increasing the level of the client experience.

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Key Performance Indicator Program Objectives
Client Database Decide what information you want about your clients. Systematically collect, organize, and store records for the most powerful and effective client interactions and campaigns.
Client Segmentation Segmentation is the first critical step towards greater efficiency and ultimately improved profitability. Distinguish clients based on financial attributes and more importantly characteristics beyond the dollars.
Existing Client Workflow Define your unique process to solve problems, manage interaction, automate tasks, and provide consistency for positive and repeatable impact to the client experience.
New Client Workflow Define your unique process to solve problems, manage interaction, automate tasks, and provide consistency for positive and repeatable impact to the client experience.
Reports and Tracking Systems Observe current projects/processes, create reports on the current sequence of events and checklists to aid in
the management and implementation of projects/processes.
Service Matrix Treat your clients fairly, but not equally. To make segmentation truly effective, determine the type of services and frequency to promote clear communication to clients and prospects.
Staff Meetings Communication is essential for effective teamwork. Communicate decisions, discuss progress, and answer questions about actions and implementation of activity.
Time Management Gain control over the amount of time spent on specific activities in order to increase efficiency or productivity.



four Fundamental 4 – Human Element

The purpose of this component is the development of individual and team efficiency and effectiveness for the benefit of the business. The evolution of this fundamental revolves around organizational skills, management of teams, refined roles and responsibilities, and accountability for performance. This opens the lines of communication throughout a team to create a positive culture. "Everyone on the same page" is very simple to understand but in reality, there are many directions and agendas driven by egos, greed, and lack of leadership.

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Key Performance Indicator Program Objectives
Communication Knowledge is power, but fruitless if poorly communicated. The Myers-Briggs Personality assessment helps you understand and convey meaningful information and express ideas effectively to attain a deeper level of communication.
Culture Foster a healthy pattern of interactions among team members by encouraging openness, honesty, respect, and assertiveness in day-to-day dealings and when handling problems.
Hiring and Onboarding Outline the process through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders. Profiles International assessments help you find the best matched
candidates to specific roles.
Job Descriptions Summarize the roles and responsibilities of all the team members needed to reach the desired goal or outcome of the practice.
Leadership Leaders don’t merely take charge. They make the tough decisions while motivating and empowering others to succeed.
Organizational Skills Effective management of the details lies in the art of being able to see how everything works together to complete a project. Hone these skills to create a razor-sharp team.
Performance Evaluation When did you last conduct a performance review? Define a method to evaluate, develop, and maintain performance in terms of quality, quantity, cost, and time.
Team Development Enhance the effectiveness of work groups by refining roles, expectations, and interpersonal communication to create accountability for results.


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At Abel Advisors, our relationship with Ironstone has proven invaluable in establishing ourselves as a premier wealth management firm. We immediately benefited from Andrea’s application-based Fundamental Four structure, as well as her experience, insight and coaching. Andrea serves as a mediator between our office staff and owner Leo Abel. In doing so, she presents creative solutions in a way that Leo appreciates – and even better, that our team can implement. If you are tired of incremental progress and are looking for exponential leaps, then Ironstone may be a fit. Andrea has a unique ability to recognize the role for which each employee is best suited, and she helps unleash each employee’s potential. She is in a league of her own, and the best part is that your clients enjoy the improvements while your firm enjoys the rewards.

Drew Hall, M.B.A.

Financial Advisor



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