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G2 Perspectives : Advice for Next-Generation Owners

As industry leaders in designing and facilitating internal succession plans for financial advisory firms, the leadership team at FP Transitions has its own talented, multigenerational ownership team in place. Our next-generation leaders have unique strengths and perspectives that keep our business constantly innovating and growing.

“If you could give one piece of advice to prospective G2 candidates what would it be?”

“Build up your skillset.”

Being an owner is about more than just advising clients and producing revenue. You need to look at–and contribute to–the broader picture. Know where your knowledge gaps are and spend time understanding these areas to expand your contributions to the business. Owners may focus their expertise in one or two areas, but to be successful they need to have a solid understanding in every aspect of running a business.

“Act like an owner now.”

Don’t wait until the ownership opportunity is on the table to start filling these knowledge gaps and becoming the best employee. Start cultivating your “ownership mentality” early. Learn the mechanics of running a business and pay attention to the larger strategic decisions to understand their impact on value, growth, and the overall success of the business. Align your actions with this mindset and make your transition from employee to owner a good investment for the business’s existing ownership team.

“It’s not me, it’s we.

Concentrating on your own clients and your own production alone does not drive the strength and success of a practice. Understand that for a business to thrive you must act as part of a team and recognize how your role fits into the larger structure. A team of talented professionals working together has the ability to make great impact. And a team of multi-generational owners who leverage their varied strengths in concert creates a prosperous and sustainable enterprise.

“Stay tuned in.”

An important part of the ownership mindset is paying attention to the business around you. As you prepare for your ownership opportunity, stay attuned to the existing ownership and their receptibility to building up the leadership team. Ask them about their plans for succession and the future of the business. If you find that that the ownership path is murky or non-existent, you will be able to take the diverse skills and ownership mindset you’ve built and leverage them in your search for a new firm, defining your ownership trajectory there from day one.

“Experience means a lot, but humility goes a long way.”

In honing your abilities and solidifying your place in the leadership of your business, you must acknowledge that you are building upon the hard work of others. As a young–albeit talented–professional, you will not be able to simply step in and immediately fill the shoes of your existing leaders. They built the business from the ground up and have decades of experience running it. Recognize their experience and their inestimable contributions, just as they recognize your value as a member of the ownership team. Ownership is a constant process of learning and developing skillsets.

The most important advice for prospective owners comes down to adapting an ownership mentality. Go beyond your role, learn as much as you can, recognize the strengths of your team, look out for the growth of the practice as a whole, and align your decisions and goals with those of the business.

Bonus advice for founding owners: President and Founder David Grau Sr., JD, shares his from his unique perspective as industry expert and G1 owner on how he cultivated a powerful, multigenerational team.

“What would you say to a founder who’s struggling with making the decision to pursue a succession plan and engage in this investment opportunity?”

“Having next-gen partners is different than having peers as partners.”

As a founder you used your entrepreneurialism to build the business from the ground up, but building on that foundation and taking the business to new heights requires a different, more intrapreneural, approach. Choose G2 owners who demonstrate this quality. Having peers as partners is not wrong, but the key is: a multigenerational ownership team is more powerful and generates higher growth rates year-over-year.* Tapping into the talent of new advisors allows you to leverage diverse skillsets as well unique generational perspectives.

“It’s not about retiring, it’s about making the business better.”

The incremental transfer of ownership is more impactful when your goal is creating business sustainability rather than pursuing your own personal endgame as a founder. Succession is a natural result of sustainability, but the focus should be on the latter. By doing the work and taking the time to structure your entity, team, cash flow, and compensation, you strengthen the business and create a greater capacity for growth and future success. 


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