Success Is 90% Planning, 10% Execution

I recently had lunch with a friend of mine who owns a very successful home improvement business. I heard wonderful things about his process and was curious to find out more. My challenge: I have a rough idea of the desired outcome but difficulty putting it into words.

In reality, I just was not sure what I really wanted. As we spoke, he bragged that he delivers 100% of his projects on time with clients suffering from the same pox as me. We could sort of see it but just could not say it. Look at your kitchen or bathroom; do you know how to make it reflect the style and feel you want? If not, you represent almost all of his clients. I became very intrigued because it reminded me of my financial planning meetings.
Many clients come to me because they know a problem exists but are just not sure how to put it into words. He broke out a flip chart and walked me through his 11 step process. His first step was a 30 minute conversation about how they use their home, what they liked, what they did not like, favorite things they have seen at other homes, and what life in their home will look like in 5 or 10 years. The process begins with their story.

The next 4 meetings are with designers and architects brainstorming possible solutions with the goal of putting the client’s vision into pictures. (Our brains can process images instantly but words don’t always come out right.) Once the vision is on paper, all the materials are ordered before the first nail is struck because suppliers can be unpredictable. The construction waited for step 9 of 11. All his previous steps of preparation and planning made for a flawless execution. The financial planning industry has much to learn from his process.

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