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.

THE FUNDAMENTAL 4™

oneStrategic Planning twoBusiness Development threeOperational Effectiveness fourHuman Element
Business Plan Branding & Value Proposition Client Segmentation Job Descriptions
Succession Plan Niche Marketing Service Matrix Hiring & Onboarding Culture
Compensation Prospecting New Client Onboarding Career Path
Incentive Plan Referral Network Staff Meetings Performance Feedback
Business Model Marketing Plan Technology Communication
Investment Model Client Advisory Board Existing Client Workflow Culture
Operating Costs Client Appreciation Reports & Tracking Systems Leadership
Peer Alliances Sales Effectiveness Time Management Team Development
oneStrategic Planning twoBusiness Development
Business Plan Branding & Value Proposition
Succession Plan Niche Marketing
Compensation Prospecting
Incentive Plan Referral Network
Business Model Marketing Plan
Investment Model Client Advisory Board
Operating Costs Client Appreciation
Peer Alliances Sales Effectiveness
threeOperational Effectiveness fourHuman Element
Client Segmentation Job Descriptions
Service Matrix Hiring & Onboarding Culture
New Client Onboarding Career Path
Staff Meetings Performance Feedback
Technology Communication
Existing Client Workflow Culture
Reports & Tracking Systems Leadership
Time Management Team Development

 

one Fundamental 1 – Strategic Planning

Creating a simple yet effective plan that clearly defines the direction of your practice is the first step in charting your firm's future success. The primary focus areas of this fundamental includes business and succession planning, creating a sound organizational structure, and encouraging collaboration within the management team. By developing realistic goals and objectives, you will then create a framework of focus for each team member. Rather than creating a plan that sits on a server, you'll be equipped with clear steps to communicate these goals and help your entire team embrace their individual responsibilities.

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Key Performance Indicator Program Objectives
Business Plan Clearly define attainable goals and communicate them team-wide to bring your business plan to life. Track milestones visually for better business focus.
Succession Plan Proactively select the proper successor to secure the future of your firm or position your practice for the ideal acquisition.
Compensation Develop disciplined compensation plans to remain competitive while also fully compensating the top performers on your team.
Incentive Plan Motivate employees by reinforcing exceptional behavior with attainable goals tied to specific performance.
Business Model Whether your model is solo or ensemble, a strong ownership mentality drives success and creates focus for the team from top to bottom.
Investment Model Design a distinctive methodology for managing client investments to clearly represent financial performance and aid in solid decision making.
Operating Costs Identify ongoing costs for running your practice to gain a clear view of expenses; a key to achieving your overall sales goals.
Peer Alliances Cultivate a network of peers to share best practices and identify opportunities to build a world-class business that achieves bottom line results.

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two Fundamental 2 – Business Development

The goal within the second Fundamental is to create a clear sales strategy, a practical marketing plan based on available resources, and systematic execution that drives revenue generating results. In this step you'll learn how to create networks, identify niche targets, and generate a unique identity to differentiate against competitors. Rather than simply creating your company's core values, vision, mission, and common message, we'll instead help these important elements to truly and organically become "living" themes within your practice. Once you internally embrace these key notions, they can be effectively incorporated within your marketing materials and brought to life directly with clients and prospects.

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Key Performance Indicator Program Objectives
Branding & Value Proposition Create a distinct voice that clearly sets the practice apart. Your unique brand must effectively address client needs while also imparting a promised value.
Niche Marketing Pinpoint your ideal client and focus intently on their desired outcome. Make use of their concerns to refine your messaging and showcase how you can holistically solve their problems.
Prospecting Methodically position your practice to attract new clients. By purposefully choosing activities that will put you at your best, you will 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.
Marketing Plan Define implementable marketing strategies that successfully target your ideal client. By developing specific tactics within segments and tracking your activities, you will be able to analyze your level of success.
Client Advisory Board By selecting a trusted cross section of your client base, you can solicit objective advice and feedback to elevate your level of service and enhance the client experience.
Client Appreciation Give clients a reason to be loyal by showing your true appreciation. Define and plan events, gifts, celebrations and more that will foster, maintain and deepen relationships.
Sales Effectiveness Track your sales efforts and gain a deeper understanding of what's working/not working. Continuous improvement of sales messaging and strategies will ultimately earn additional business and help you identify your sweet spot.

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three Fundamental 3 – Operational Effectiveness

The aim for the third fundamental is clearly defining standard operating procedures for your practice and creating tracking and reporting systems to measure results. You'll more powerfully engage clients through the design and creation of service teams, client segmentation, service matrices, and existing and new client workflow systems. This process will help you better balance the workload throughout your team while exponentially improving the client experience.

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Key Performance Indicator Program Objectives
Client Segmentation Segmenting clients based on financial attributes and other characteristics beyond dollars is the first critical step towards greater efficiency and improved profitability.
Service Matrix Always treat your clients fairly, but not necessarily equally. To make segmentation truly effective, determine the type of services and frequency for each segment to prioritize service levels for clients and prospects.
New Client Onboarding Consistency is the key to successfully onboarding clients and kicking off new relationships with a warm welcome. Follow a specific task list to get all the information you need while clearly communicating next steps to set client expectations.
Staff Meetings Ongoing communication is essential for effective teamwork. Staff Meetings provide opportunities to display leadership, communicate decisions, promote accountability, and maintain team unity.
Technology Analyze each area of your business to discover how technology and digital tools can streamline and enhance the operation of your entire practice.
Existing Client Workflow Create a positive and repeatable client experience by defining your unique process to solve problems, manage interactions, automate tasks, and provide consistency.
Reports & Tracking Systems Embrace checklists and reports to ensure consistent management and implementation of projects and process while also measuring results.
Time Management Employ effective time management efforts across your practice to increase efficiency and boost productivity.

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four Fundamental 4 – Human Element

The fourth fundamental is geared towards highlighting the development of individual and team efficiency and measuring its effectiveness towards the business. After thorough analysis, you'll be equipped to better analyze organizational skills, management of teams, roles and responsibilities, and accountability for performance. By clearly defining and communicating expectations while engaging in fair compensation, you'll create a more positive culture through attainable goals that get everyone on the same page.

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Key Performance Indicator Program Objectives
Job Descriptions Clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of all team members to set expectations and measure performance.
Hiring & Onboarding Culture Develop a roadmap for new employees to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors that will help them become effective team members. PXT Select can streamline your hiring process, minimize the risk of bad hires, and lower hiring/training costs.
Career Path Give your team members a clear road map to their future success. By each knowing where they are headed and what they can achieve, they're more likely to stick around.
Performance Feedback Provide performance feedback to reward team members who are achieving or exceeding your expectations and motivate those who are falling behind. These critical milestone reviews build the case for promotions or team changes.
Communication Sharing your knowledge, goals and vision with your team is important. Truly listening to your team and understanding their experience is just as important. As they say, the art of communication is the language of leadership.
Culture Foster a healthy pattern of interaction among team members by encouraging openness, honesty and respect at all times. Transparency from top leadership creates trust throughout the organization.
Leadership Leaders don’t merely take charge. They motivate and empower others to succeed, provide direction for the practice and make the tough decisions when needed.
Team Development Enhance your team's overall effectiveness by refining roles, setting expectations, and encouraging communication to create positive collaboration and 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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