COVID-19: Be Prepared

“Be Prepared” was the theme for AADMM’s 2019 Annual Conference. Who could have imagined last November in beautiful Savannah, GA how timely this theme could be? That time seems so long ago and innocent now as we attended sessions titled “Avoiding Disputes Through Clear and Complete Engagement Agreements” led by Matthew Thiry, Esq., and “Innovative Money Management Interventions for Clients with Dementia” with Colleen Cove, RN. Now in early 2020, as we shelter-in-place during the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the sessions presented have a relevance we could not have predicted.

As Daily Money Managers we are always thinking about two things:

  • how we can best serve our clients, and
  • how best to run my business so that it is successful.

There is one attribute that is critical in addressing both concerns, and that is the ability to be flexible.  Think outside the box. Be nimble, be able to shift our mindset and redefine how we do things.  With that in mind, I’d like to share some of the ideas I’ve come across from many others through conversations and in the many articles and blogs I’ve read recently.

Redefining Client Services

Now is the time to redefine how we serve our clients. What do they need right now? How can we better serve them during this period of social isolation?  In many cases transitioning to remote work is relatively simple with the use of online banking, encrypted share file apps, and video conferencing.  But many of our older clients may not have their accounts set up online, and perhaps don’t even have computers let alone internet. Lynn Plait, CDMM, owner of Financial Order, LLC in Arizona, suggests sending prepaid large envelopes along with self-addressed labels to your client with instructions to send their bills and statements back to you for processing. You can either continue to provide bookkeeping using paper statements, or perhaps the current situation has convinced your client that allowing you to create online access to their accounts is the more efficient way to go.  If you have a smart phone, you can easily set up conference calls with your client and other professionals on their financial team, such as their banker, cpa, or financial planner. The important thing is to always be thinking when working for clients, “what is another way I can be doing this specific task?” I’ve come to realize that thinking of doing specific tasks in only one way can prevent me from being creative in problem solving when a situation such as what we are living through right now comes up.

 spending plan for paying bills

Your Business Will Survive!

Times are tough right now. Our clients need us more than ever. I started my business way back in 2008 during the Great Recession and enjoyed success from the beginning. Our industry is recession proof, and we will survive this period of economic uncertainty too. For a little inspiration, here is a very short video of Dave Ramsey on Winston Churchill’s Never Quit Speech.  Never give in! Never quit!

A helpful concept to realize is that there are three kinds of effect the Coronavirus is having on businesses:

  • Business is booming right now because of the shutdown (medical supplies)
  • Business is down just a little bit, but our services are still needed (daily money managers!)
  • Business is being hammered, and have to shut down (restaurants, personal care such as nail salons)

Knowing this helps me have confidence that we will survive, and that this is a great opportunity to evaluate our business model, and maybe consider reinventing it to continue to serve our clients and attract new clients that up until now haven’t realized that they need us.

How can we pivot our messaging to meet our existing and potential clients where they are today? We can communicate to our clients and referral sources to find out what they need today. Ask for feedback. Our clients are our best source of support and information for ideas; they know best what they need, and we can adapt to meet those needs. Blake Morgan shares some great tips in her blog for Forbes about sending emails during a crisis that customers will actually open.

So let’s continue to market our businesses, send those emails to our network of referral sources reminding them that we are here to support their clients in a safe way by working remotely. Let’s continue to call our clients to check in and let them know that we care about them, and that we are here to support them in the safest way possible.

Circling back to last year’s conference where this blog started now is a terrific time to review the materials from the sessions and implement some of the ideas and strategies presented. Now more than ever we can Be Prepared.

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Alison Salisbury is the founder of Founder of Fiscally Fit, Inc. in San Francisco. 

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