Although every business owner is different, there are four broad long-term goals that are common in most.
There are essentially three categories of money as it relates to the lifestyle your business provides:
Some would suggest that to increase the lifestyle provided by the business, one would have to also increase the net profit of the business. Not necessarily true. Expense Lost is not only the money you are forced to spend which is simply the cost of doing business but also money you could be losing unknowingly and unnecessarily. Obviously if you knew where the losses were occurring you would have already solved those issues.
Many advisors have ideas of where you should invest the money your business is generating but when it comes right down to it there is no better place to invest your money than in your own company simply because it is something you know and something you can control to some degree. The money your company generates is investment return. We believe there is more opportunity to positively impact your business financially by helping you avoid expense losses than helping you pick better investment opportunities.
When you work with an advisor that understands how all the pieces work together rather than each on its own, then you have the ability to increase your lifestyle without taking additional risk. For example, if you were sending your kids to college and were told your income is too high for them to qualify for need-based financial aid, you might be tempted to send them to a less expensive school than the one that would give them the best education. We can teach you strategies where you may be able to use your business to pay for your child's education through a tax offset and not have to compromise the quality of the education. There's a lot more value to be obtained from a knowledgeable advisor than just having someone who picks stocks for you.
For many business owners, there may not be a lot of investing going on outside of the business. The old saying "My business is my retirement" is well worn and probably carries a lot of truth to it.
Because of that, it is critical that your business continue to build value and stave off all the challenges and risks that could challenge that value when you're ready to exit the business. Therefore, it is critical that you work with an advisor that can help you maximize efficiencies that will help drive the value of the business well into the future.
For a business owner to just walk into the sunset at the end of a career is very rare. It takes more than just investing into the company 401(k) plan or perhaps a Profit Sharing plan. These items along with any outside personal investments typically make up a minority of the money available to fund retirement.
The larger component is the sale of the interest in the business, which is often not just a matter of someone being willing to write them a check. A smart buyer would often want the seller to stay on for a while in some capacity and to have some skin in the game to ensure the business continues to prosper after the transition. If the deal involves any type of owner financing, it would be imperative for the business to continue succeeding in order to secure the balance of the sale proceeds.
For this reason, it is important that a business owner work with an advisor that is well versed in being able to help them increase the sale value of the business as well as working with their legal and accounting partners to construct a properly designed succession plan that provides for the legal agreement with its triggers and processes, as well as the proper funding mechanism. These plans should be designed to account for a variety of reasons, including death and disability, that a business may have to be transitioned quickly without having to resort to "fire sale" prices. The sooner a plan is put into place and the more well thought-out it is, the better the results will be.
Many business owners seek to really make a difference in the lives of other people. They have strong opinions about what types of things are beneficial and worth promoting. They often feel a need to give back to the communities that have supported them as well as preserve the name and reputation that they have spent so many years developing.
It also doesn't hurt that charities need cash, business owners often have it, and the government gives incentives for these two groups to benefit from each other while benefiting the community. Working with an advisor that can help the business owner channel their charitable inclinations can be very rewarding to the business owner, the charities they desire to help and the people and causes that are the recipients of that exchange.