Game plan

According to life coach and author Shannah Kennedy, the backbone of success is time management and the key to time management is adequate planning. 

Shannah kennedy has made it her life’s mission to help others succeed. she works hard to help her clients improve their personal and professional strategies, and provides the support needed for them to achieve their goals.

after 10 years in a highly stressful corporate environment, Kennedy suffered from chronic fatigue that forced her to re-evaluate. she rebuilt her life from the ground up with the help of a life coach. kennedy is still in touch with her coach, who she credits with helping her to coach others.

She recently presented a WIMBN webinar on how to simplify and structure your life in order to succeed. The basis of it all, she says, is planning.

“Success doesn’t just happen,” she says.

Time management

According to Kennedy, time is money and is key to health. Effective time management could make or break a business.

“Managing your time gives you freedom, choice and results,” she explains. “It reduces stress and it gives you back control.”

For most credit advisers, the attraction of the industry is its flexibility. Credit advisers, for the most part, are lucky to enjoy the ability to work for themselves, design their own hours and spend more time with family.

The downside to this: no one is there to tell you to stop, to go home at 5pm, to say ‘no’ when you are well over a full-time workload.

“With this in mind, if you mismanage your time, it can have dire consequences,” Kennedy says. “Stress is higher, you’ll miss deadlines and you won’t look professional.”

In today’s world, with the ability to connect 24 hours a day, the need to manage time and balance workloads is even more imperative, and one of the most important aspects of managing your time is putting in place processes that encourage you to resist the urge to automatically say ‘yes’.

“Set boundaries so that you can learn to say ‘no’ when you need to say ‘no’,” Kennedy suggests.

Lists, lists, lists

Mortgage broking can be a highly stressful environment. To combat the stress that is normally associated with being your own boss, Kennedy says it’s important to write lists.

Monthly, weekly, daily and hourly lists are needed at different times. For example, each month Kennedy encourages her clients to write a project list.

“Take a minute to think about what is critical for the month,” Kennedy advises. “Then each monday, create a weekly to-do list. and each morning, write up your list of priorities for the day. remember, each list is ultimately gearing you for the overall monthly project.”

One thing kennedy is adamant about is ticking off each item as it’s completed.

“Pat yourself on the back, get a coffee, eat a chocolate – do something to treat yourself,” she says. “Then, at the end of each day, you can see exactly how much you’ve achieved.”

By physically writing tasks down you are giving yourself instructions and making yourself accountable for them. Kennedy says it’s also best to write them in order of priority, and to only go on to the next task once the one above it is ticked off.

Aside from these lists, which should be written rather than typed, Kennedy says to create a private recipe to make your own continual success. “This is your non-negotiable list to keep you balanced and performing optimally. The recipe is made up of tasks and structures that keep you ‘up’,” she says.

Goal setting

To manage your time, you need to set goals. While part of this is writing those monthly, weekly and daily lists, it’s also important to have overarching goals that have been set for the long term.

The wording of a goal can do wonders for its success rate. For Kennedy, there are several important steps to follow when setting your goals.

“Make them specific and ensure they are simple, clear and focused. never overcomplicate things because you’re bound to confuse yourself,” she says. “Make your goal significant – something that will be worth achieving – and ensure that you’re strategic when you set it. The best goals accomplish many great outcomes, all at one time. Design your goals to strategically impact as many areas of your life as possible.”

Kennedy insists that a goal is not worth setting unless success can be quantified, so try to make your goals measurable. They should also be rational and tangible.

“Your goals should be out of reach, but not out of sight,” she says. “And make sure any goals you wish to achieve are written down and clearly visible.”

Final words

Time management is the essence of success, and planning is the foundation of time management. Kennedy says to book everything in and make yourself accountable to goals and tasks.

“Sit down with a coffee and your diary, and book in all the ‘must-dos’: the meetings, the business events, the deadlines and any commitments you have for growing and streamlining your business,” Kennedy advises.

“And make sure you do the same for your personal life. Book in all the fun time. The time with your family, date nights, fun activities and seeing friends. if it’s in the diary, you have to do it.”

Download Game plan

A paperless office

More businesses are becoming aware of reducing business waste, endeavouring to decrease their environmental footprint and save dollars along the way. Jessica Goulburn reports on the best way to cut office waste. 

On average, each Australian generates 543kg of waste each year – and it’s growing. Multiply this by our population and the numbers run into the billions.

While most people do their part to minimise any impact on the environment, it’s a workplace that is often the biggest contributor to waste, and paper products make up the largest share of it.

According to Janet Sparrow from Planet Ark, the best way to cut office waste can be as simple as bringing your recycling habits from home into the office with you. “More than 95% of Australians have access to a kerbside recycling service of some kind,” she says. “But those services are not always duplicated in the workplace.”

Why go paperless?

Australian businesses generate about 12.5 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste, and spend more than $2.2 billion on waste services each year.

While the recycling rate for office paper is sitting at a healthy 64%, businesses are still spending approximately $890 million sending office paper to landfill each year. Go paperless and you’ll dramatically reduce your spend.

“If you’re printing less or not printing at all, you’re obviously saving on paper, you’re saving on ink and you’re saving on the equipment costs of actually having those printers,” Sparrow says.

And when it comes to office paper, it really is a no-brainer. “When you get a lot of paper together, it can be really valuable,” Sparrow enthuses. “It can be made into new office paper or other paper products, including cardboard boxes.”

The environmental impact equation is simple: less paper means less energy and less waste. And for every tonne of paper or cardboard that you recycle, you’re saving 30,000 litres of water.

Cost comparisons

When it comes to weighing up the financial benefit, Sparrow says to do your research.

“Any waste you are producing, you’re also paying for those disposal costs,”
she says. “You may also have to pay for recycling costs, but it’s definitely worth investigating.”

Sometimes when you reduce what you send to landfill and increase what you recycle, despite the pick-up costs, there may actually be savings.

This is especially true in states that impose taxes on waste that gets sent to landfill. For example, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have levies all aimed to encourage businesses to seek legitimate alternatives to landfill disposal. These levies are generally added to the disposal costs set by landfills and don’t necessarily translate into recycling costs.

Tricks of the trade

When it comes to implementing a recycling plan in the office, a good place to start is to make note of what you’re throwing away. If you find that a couple of key materials are constantly thrown away, a visit to the Business Recycling website is well worth a visit:

The website features a search facility that enables you to find nearby service providers to help dispose of any waste safely and appropriately.

It’s also a matter of being proactive and bringing recycling habits from home into the workplace. If you don’t already have a recycling system at work, there’s no reason why you can’t be the person to implement one.

Case study: Shayne Betreen, Gain Financial

Shayne Betreen launched Gain Financial Aggregation to help brokers implement efficiency strategies into their own businesses. “At first, I didn’t intentionally go paperless. It was not about reducing costs; I was always looking at ways to improve productivity and efficiency within my business.

“In my previous working life I was working long hours, had poor work/life balance and was restricted in having to go to an office each day. I wanted the ability to have flexible work hours and access personal and business information instantly from anywhere to respond to any situation – whether I was in my office, at a function, interstate or overseas.

“By going paperless, I also wanted the ability to expand and grow my business with minimal infrastructure.

“Reducing office waste is environmentally friendly. It reduces your carbon footprint, increases profit and gives you back more time in your business.

“The reason we are all in business is to make money and to be as profitable as possible. There is no point if you generate great sales, but profits are dramatically lower than they could be due to overheads, for example.

“At times we spend a lot of money on advertising and marketing, but forget to take time out of our businesses to look at the everyday running.

“In the majority of cases, getting the right advice and implementing new technologies and software can dramatically improve efficiency, productivity and reduce costs. This in turn gives you more time in your day to grow your business and spend time with friends and family.

“I’ve spent the past three years trialling and testing different products, services and processes that work for mortgage brokers. The systems and tools that we now use are designed to change and grow with our business, and we have made sure that they are as user friendly as possible.

The set-up can be challenging, but once implemented, you won’t know how you did business any other way.”

Download A paperless office

Life-changing conversations

We have multiple conversations every day, but few of them are life-changing. Enter the MFAA’s recently launched consumer campaign showing that a conversation with an MFAA member is so much more than just a financial transaction. 

What would your life-changing conversation be? A first home? A bigger backyard for kids’ play time? Help to grow your business?

The MFAA’s recently launched consumer campaign centres around ‘life-changing conversations’. More than just bricks and mortar, life-changing conversations deliver on hopes, dreams, plans and passions. While we have countless conversations throughout our lives, few have the ability to be truly life-changing.

With credit advisers not only helping people into homes and businesses but also helping people’s lives, the ‘life- changing conversations’ brand position cements MFAA members as the best.

The objective of the consumer awareness and advertising campaign is to raise awareness of MFAA members as providing the highest standard of service in the industry.

“A key point of the MFAA strategic objectives is to promote consumer awareness of MFAA credit advisers,” Phil Naylor, CEO of the MFAA says. MFAA members undergo higher educational qualifications and ongoing professional development, but broker feedback states that consumers don’t necessarily recognise this.

The campaign ensures MFAA members are recognised for their extra qualifications and that MFAA Approved Credit Advisers are the first choice when consumers are financing or refinancing. Based on research undertaken by the MFAA, the campaign recognises that, despite consumers wanting different things out of life, everybody wants someone reliable on the journey.

“It quickly became evident that a conversation with an MFAA member is so much more than a financial transaction,” says Christian Finucane from Core Sydney, the creative agency behind the consumer campaign.

“These are the people that get you great deals so you can buy your dream home, start your new business or find more time for what’s important.”

The MFAA is choosing to promote online this year, finding that general media campaigns don’t produce benefits unless they are ongoing. This has largely been influenced by last year’s success. The 2012 campaign was less expensive, offered more flexibility and was more measurable compared to traditional media campaigns.

“This year’s campaign builds on those experiences with an even greater emphasis on online and social media to encourage consumers to only deal with an MFAA credit adviser because of their higher professional standards,” says MFAA CEO, Phil Naylor.

The campaign is entirely digital, consisting of display advertising and a Facebook promotion. Both serve to drive people to the MFAA’s ‘Essentials of Borrowing’ website to find an MFAA Approved Credit Adviser.

The display advertising is based around three core concepts to target key audiences.

When it comes to first homebuyers, most just want to know how best to enter the property market easily and sensibly. The consumer campaign shows how MFAA credit advisers make this happen, including educating young consumers on different finance options, the various ways to pay back mortgages and how best to finance a loan in accordance with individual circumstances. It’s all about helping consumers understand their options.

A second angle the campaign takes is refinancing to give consumers more time – time to dedicate to what’s most important in life.

Lastly, the campaign looks at how a life-changing conversation can impact commercial lending, using the example of a farmer who was able to extend his farm after discussing his business options with an MFAA Approved Credit Adviser. All creatives executions are illustrative and are not intended to be literal interpretations.

The Facebook competition, entitled ‘Life-changing Likes’ gives one lucky consumer the chance to win $5000 from life-changing partners Wattyl Paint, Accor Hotels and Resorts, Qantas Holidays or Freedom Furniture.

Consumers are also educated about the importance of good advice and where to go to get it.

Download Life-changing conversations

You need to know: Keiran Evans

With a long and strong history at ANZ, it’s Keiran Evans’ time to shine as the new Head of Third Party Distribution, taking the reins from Meg Bonighton, who is now General Manager of Specialist Channels. 

Jessica Goulburn: Tell me a bit about your experience with brokers and third party banking.
Keiran Evans: It was around 15 years ago that I set up ANZ’s commercial broker team. We were the first major bank involved with brokers in a commercial sense. That was probably when I first realised the value that brokers could bring to the marketplace and truly understood that customers wanted choice in delivery methods.

JG: Do you think that years of experience within ANZ gives you an advantage when dealing with such a specific field?
KE: I’ve owned a small to medium business, and that – together with my commercial and corporate background – gives me a real empathy for, and knowledge of, the particular challenges of running and operating a business. It also means I have a strong connection with brokers and a deeper understanding of their needs and concerns. The one thing I’ve had at the forefront of my mind in everything I’ve done has been to always put clients first. I’m really pleased to see that the broking industry has matured along those lines and it’s still very much a client-first approach. When you’re in commercial and corporate, you’re putting together some pretty sizeable deals. I’m happy to say there’s no bigger thrill or emotional connection than when you help a client buy their first home, so I’m delighted that I’m in this role and helping people achieve their dreams. I’m experienced in the industry, but I’ve also been slightly removed from it for a little while, which means I’ve got a fresh pair of eyes, and some new ideas and perspectives. I believe that will be a good combination.

JG: How do you intend to fill Meg Bonighton’s shoes?
KE: I have great respect for what Meg did when she was in the role. The business is in great shape and that’s a credit to Meg and all of our teams. When I’ve been out visiting aggregators and brokers, the one clear message I get is how strong and consistent our teams are. It’s a great legacy that Meg has left and I plan to continue to build on that.

JG: What are your plans for the third party channel in the coming six months?
KE: Feedback about ANZ from aggregators and brokers is really positive, so it is great to know that ANZ has such a strong, consistent reputation in the marketplace. It’s about continuing to enhance what we’ve already got, especially our great relationships. There is future growth potential and there will be opportunities for us to continue the momentum and improve it even further.

JG: What do you think about increased professionalism of the industry, taking into account the strong stance the MFAA has taken with education requirements far above that required by legislation?
KE: One of the things I’ve noticed since coming back into the industry is that it is more professional and mature in its approach. Customers are always looking for knowledgeable advice, so I believe it’s essential that the industry is well regulated and that advisers are equipped to support their clients. Continued professional development is important in any industry, but especially in the finance industry. ANZ is committed to supporting all of our broker partners in terms of professional development, especially with accreditations and credit training. We also spend a lot of effort ensuring our Business Development Managers are receiving professional development because you need to keep enhancing that. It’s always about more and more knowledge and providing better service to customers. If we can help brokers to help their customers then it’s a win for everyone.

Download You need to know: Keiran Evans

Home sweet (expensive) home

Along with our wedding, we’re also house hunting. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy finding a home can become a very stressful process. But only if you make it one.

As your weekends become filled with open houses, measuring tapes and deciding whether the couch you love so very much will fit in the corner of the living room, slowly slowly you begin to realise how much there is to actually think about when it comes to choosing a home together.

If you’ve found the home, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

When you walk into your home… you’ll just know it’s the one.

It’s choosing which direction it faces, making sure the kitchen is in working order, making sure it has the right amount of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether there’s an internal laundry, whether there’s a parking spot… and through it all, it’s two people who have to be satisfied.

While we know what we want, my fiancee and I don’t believe we’re being too picky when it comes to our search. It has to have a balcony, at least one parking spot and if it’s a walk-up, no higher than first floor (let’s face it, baby #1 is going to arrive in this apartment and who wants to lug a pram up and down four flights of stairs or more?)

Trouble is, there’ll always be something wrong with the place. You could be in love with the size, but there’s no bath. Or the kitchen could be delightful, but the living space is too small.

We’ve seen several apartments that we both love. And while a few of them have satisfied the criteria, none of them are our home.

It’s like the perfect dress. When you put it on, you just know.

When you walk into your home… you’ll just know it’s the one.

Despite the strangers milling around you, you’ll picture yourself there with a glass of wine in your hand and the TV blaring with your favourite show. Yes, there may be some imperfections, but over time they’ll become your imperfections and you’ll grow to love them even more than the best features of your home.

My advice when house hunting: take a moment to let the atmosphere sink in while you wander through the rooms. Can you picture yourself there?