Give Your Financial Business a Tune-Up

Our Business Tune-Up Assessment will help you measures 46 key indicators of a successful, profitable business.

New to business or an old pro, the first step to growing a business is to assess where you are right now. Why? Because those things that need “immediate fixing” will be placed in your Growth Plan’s goals, where you’ll create strategies and action plans to make changes.

The areas that are working well, give a big hurrah!


Rate the state of your business.

Rating System N/A= Not Applicable 1 = disaster 3= average 5 = brilliantly successful

_________ Business Plan/Written Goals
_________ Business Tracking System
_________ Daily Game Plan
_________ Business Plan Effectiveness
_________ Attracting Your Ideal Clients
_________ Exit Strategy
_________ Marketing Plan Effectiveness
_________ Marketing Skills
_________ Selling Skills
_________ Sales System
_________ Branding/Identity
_________ Distinct Competitive Edge
_________ Elevator Speech That Works
_________ Expert Status in Your Industry
_________ Customer Retention/Loyalty
_________ Advertising/PR Efforts
_________ Networking & Follow-up Process
_________ Profitability/Cash Flow
_________ Pricing Process/Marketing Funnel
_________ Availability of Capital
_________ Delivery of Products/Services
_________ Speaking Engagements
_________ Presentation Skills
_________ Product Knowledge
_________ Products/Intellectual Property
_________ Budgets & Reporting Processes
_________ New Services/Products
_________ Technology/CMS
_________ Internet Presence
_________ Ongoing Internet Marketing
_________ Controls/Procedures
_________ Contracts, Legal Advice
_________ Administration Functions
_________ Strategic Alliances
_________ Teamwork/Leadership
_________ Hiring Process/Manual
_________ Employee/Consultant Retention
_________ Business & Health Insurance
_________ Training, Cross-training
_________ Office Organization
_________ Computer Organization
_________ Your Professional Development
_________ Your Personal Development
_________ Personal Organization
_________ Work/life Fulfillment/Balance
_________ Setting Life Priorities & Goals
_________ Personal Health/Having Fun


Scoring: Since you must consider all the above in your successful business/unit, it’s not the total number that counts; it’s how well you do in each area!


Congratulations! You’ve now assessed the “state of your business.” Next, it’s time to propel your business to the next level.

* These 5 concepts are from The One Page Business Plan® program, Maria Marsala certified one-page consultant.


©2005, updated 2009, 2011  Maria Marsala, Strategic Business Coach, Speaker and former Wall Street Trader at Elevating Your Business.  Helping financial advisors run more productive, efficient, and profitable business.  Download the three parts of our Business Tune today by visiting

137 Tips to Create the Right Mindset for Success

#43. It’s Not About You.. Get Going

You “birthed” your business, but you are not your business. Your business is an entity — it has no emotions, it does not breathe. Speak at an event, create a website, write an article and some will love it and others hate it.    Take all criticism knowing that it is just someone else’s opinion — it’s what they would do.

Ya, we’re sensitive human beings. So, get annoyed, vent, cry if you need to.   And then, see if you can find a sliver of truth in it and take an action to make things better — your way.

Thanks to: Maria Marsala of Elevating Your (Financial) Business    Visit Maria’s website at


From: 137 Tips To Create The Right Mindset for Success by Carol Roth


Technology, the U.S. stock market, Flash Boys & Dark Pools

The word of the decade must be transparency and fairness to all


March 30:  60-minutes expose  and after the show Overtime programs or view below

March 31:  I enjoyed, with awe, this Charlie Rose 60-minute interview on his PBS show with Michael Lewis, on Lewis,  the author of Flash Boys.



April 1:  The Worst Response Yet To The New Michael Lewis Book

March 28:  Another look  by CNBC’s


2010:  Quants by Scott Patterson


Dark Liquidity or Pools… the next place that needs more exposure?

Goldman Mulls Closing Dark Pool


What’s your favorite quote on the topic of planning?

Over the years, I have used many different quotes in my talks, Power Points, etc.  I’d like to learn new ones from you!  Please include the author of the quote.   And feel free to comment on the quote (or other quotes) posted here, too!


Here are some of the quotes LinkedIn Group members have contributed to:

“If it’s going to be, it’s up to me” – Dr. Robert Schuler

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Give me a firm spot on which to stand and I will move the Earth.” – Archimedes

“He who fails to plan is planning to fail” – Winston Churchill

“If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm”  – Publilius Syrus Roman Writer

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French writer

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin

“In life, as in football, the principle is: Hit the line hard.” – Teddy Roosevelt

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” – Richard Bach

“Most people don’t plan to fail: they fail to plan.” John L. Beckley(1925-?)

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”  – Wayne Gretzky



Members of the following LinkedIn Groups contributed to this list.   Financial Planning Magazine Group    Morningstar Advisor   Ameriprise Network

Plan a Daily Desk Vacation & Boost Your Productivity

I learned a lot when I worked on Wall Street; sometimes, my lessons took me by surprise. The phones on the trading desks often stop ringing right before the Fed releases an economic number. During one such lull in activity, I was chit-chatting with other team members about life in general. "What do you do for fun?" my colleague asked us. I listened to the others talk about what they do for fun. However, I couldn’t remember the last thing I’d done that was "pure fun". I instantly realized that I wasn’t doing enough to reenergize myself.

I enjoyed everything I was doing — even the long hours. But my colleagues were talking about fun that had nothing to do with work. That was the day I also recognized myself as the type of person who has to "plan" for fun. Strange but true! Since that epiphany, I’ve scheduled time for fun into every day, week, and year.

Girl Daydreaming At Her ComputerThere’s a practical reason to make room for fun during your daily agenda. You need new stimuli in order to think new thoughts and be more productive. You can’t coax creativity from your brain if you’re constantly working in the same environment, or allow new ideas to drift in if you’re busy 24/7. Some of my most innovative outbursts have created a running joke with my team. "Have you been on the ferry or taken a drive to a new place?" they’ll ask. They tell me that I send them out-of-the-box articles, concepts, or new programs soon after one of my excursions.

When you’re running a business, you can never have too many creative solutions and ideas. But you don’t always have the leeway to venture out of the office every time you need to think of one! A few minutes of mental redirection as you take a "vacation" at your desk is a great way to get a little rest and jump-start your creative mind.

Below are 7 websites to visit when you take a Desk Vacation. You can explore them to lighten up, take some "time off" to regroup during the day, or find inspiration when you need it.

1) I Like You: I first found this on ICQ (one of the original instant message companies) but it has disappeared from there. At first, it seemed a little corny, but it’s really quite good. Find it on YouTube at or on a website in its original format at

2) 2 Minutes: What can you do in two minutes? If you love the sound of the ocean, this website will show you how you can "do nothing for 2 minutes". See if you can pass the test!

3) Where Cool Things Happen: This site has great photos of cool things, ranging from amazing places to clever gadgets to mind-blowing architecture.

4) Positivity in Action: Journalists and photographers employ their craft to share stories and images of people and organizations making a positive difference in the world.

5) Values: This foundation was created to remind us of the inherent goodness of people, and inspire us with values we all share as human beings. Their popular video is worth watching.

6) Oscar-nominated "Happy": Pharrell Williams’ cute and catchy music video will stir your serotonin and have you bopping along in your seat. Warning: this song proves that happiness can be highly contagious. "Happy" is from the "Despicable Me 2" soundtrack

Serenity Cards7) Serenity Cards: While in training as a Life Coach, my coach requested that I start a list of things to do when I felt stuck, anxious, or overwhelmed. I turned the list into an article that I shared with my clients. At my clients’ urging, I turned the list into "Serenity Cards for Business Owners". Here is the original article about the 50 Ways Business Owners Find Serenity.


Last, but not least, take a few minutes to read or watch something spiritual. Whether it be the Bible, Torah, or Koran – you’ll find many online resources to visit. OR maybe subscribe to a quote list, like, watch YouTube videos by folks like Marianne Williamson, Louise Hay, or Wayne Dyer, one of Joel Osteen’s videos, or TED videos, like this talk by Rick Warren:” target=”_blank”>

©2014 – Maria Marsala guides high-achieving independent financial advisors to reach their 5-year business and personal goals in 24 months. She is a financial advisor coach, speaker, and a former Wall Street Trader. Named one of the Top 30 International Coaching Gurus in 2011, Maria has been recognized as a thought leader whose ideas have been published in Financial Planning Magazine, RIA Biz, Advisor Max, Dow Jones, The Street, Entrepreneur Magazine, and numerous books, trade journals, and magazines. She has authored four business-building workbooks including, Attracting Clients You Love Working With: 6 Steps to a Profitable Client Base.

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Comment below. How do you take brief time off and rejuvenate while at your desk?