3 Ways to Help Clients with Business Planning
- By Chip Milner
- May 4, 2016
Did you know that more than 70% of business owners have no written succession plan?
The U.S. Small Business Administration found that more than half of the 28 million small businesses in America have owners over the age of 50.
Last year, CNBC and The Financial Planning Association surveyed thousands of small business owners. They found that 78% planned to sell their business to fund their retirement.
Despite this high number of business owners who intend to make a transition soon, most have not invested enough time in planning for the future. They do not have a strategy for selling, retiring, or passing the business to a family member.
Do your business owner clients have a plan to make sure their business will continue?
Intending to sell and not having a plan for how to sell is not the best way to reach their goals.
This issue is particularly important to me. I am proud to be the fifth generation of my family in the insurance business and a third generation business owner. I know the difficulty of working in a business while trying to find the time to work on the business. It is difficult and something that most people just put off.
So, what can you do? ## Here are 3 ways to help your clients with business planning.## ### 1) Start a conversation and share stories of success and failure### Paint a picture by telling a story. This is one of the most effective ways to communicate. Help them push the pause button long enough to consider what they want to happen. Give them a positive vision for what could happen. On the negative side, show them potential traps and roadblocks. This is how you can give value in the time they spend with you. ## 2) Share valuable resources## There are several different companies that offer specialized planning tools like:
- business valuation
- buy-sell agreement review
- succession planning recommendations
- key-person planning
- deferred compensation guidance
Valuable insight offered for free that would normally comes with a hefty price tag is a compelling reason for the business owner to take a timeout and brainstorm with you about their options. ## 3) Break the process down into bite-size pieces## Successful business owners are always busy. It is difficult for them to carve out 2-3 hours to answer your questions or hear lengthy monologues on what they should do.
Instead, take it one step at a time, in the first meeting, tell a brief story that resonates. Make sure to provide value, perhaps using one of the resources mentioned above.
In the next meeting, review the findings and ask a few questions to get them thinking about the future. With the stage set, you are ready to brainstorm and set priorities.
This will be the most crucial part of the process, so prepare to listen. Also, pay attention to their body language. You want to keep them engaged. If they are interested in the process, when you meet again to start working through the priority list, they will have a clear view of the “why” behind what you are trying to do.
At the Milner Group, we want to help you become the go-to advisor in the business owner space.
Contact us today to learn more about how these resources can help you bring immense value to your clients.