Given the choice, most financial advisors would rather deal with client issues on a deck in the sunshine than in an office under fluorescent lights. In the summer, many do just that. Thanks to modern cloud-based services, you can create a mini-office at the cottage, putting out fires in the morning before going swimming with the kids before lunch.

Setting up the proper technology to work at the cottage takes a little planning, though, warns Jill Tipping, president and chief executive of the BC Tech Association in Vancouver. Even advisors who run small, independent practices should consider how their technology for working remotely integrates with all of their existing tools, she advises: “Think about what your workflow is as a business rather than just picking up one piece [of technology] for this and one piece for that.”

Working with a mentor is a key component of the continuous learning process for advisors, and a strategy that can help you grow your business by avoiding the mistakes that others have made.

“[Mentors are] giving you hands-on knowledge of the pitfalls they want you to be aware of,” says Joanne Ferguson, president of Advisor Pathways Inc. in Toronto.

Continuing education (CE) is a necessity in the financial services industry, yet it’s not uncommon for financial advisors to find themselves in a mad scramble to get their CE credits toward the end of every year.

A recent report from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario found that almost one-third of insurance agents who were subject to a compliance review were referred for possible enforcement action – with failing to comply with CE requirements being a top reason.

As you look for ways to build your business in 2014, consider pursuing a professional designation. As part of a broader strategy of continuing education, a designation can help to strengthen your practice in various ways.

For one, a designation helps you prove your credibility to your clients. It will also give you more confidence, especially when you are talking to prospects, says April-Lynn Levitt, a Toronto-based business coach with The Personal Coach.

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