TRANSITION TALK

The Fine Art of Enterprise Consulting

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on Jul 26, 2021 5:10:17 PM

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FP Transitions conducted most of its work by phone and video conferencing long before the virus made this approach commonplace. So, it is with a great deal of humility, and a little courage, that we admit that even after two decades of honing our craft, we’re still perfecting how to provide consulting solutions in this fashion, to this unique profession.

Providing advice over a phone line or a computer isn’t all that difficult; what’s harder is gathering enough high-quality and relevant information to diagnose the problem or problems and then to provide customized, accurate and practical solutions. To do all that, we’ve had to learn how to listen at a professional level–and we had to design those systems and processes almost from scratch.

The mistake that almost all consultants and coaches in this industry make is to try to get an advisor on board as quickly as possible so that, as information providers, they don’t give away too much up front or spend too long trying to help only to be passed over as the service provider. The process usually comes down to 30 minutes of discussion and then a quick diagnosis that best fits what the consultant or coach has to sell, rather than what the client truly needs.

We don’t do it that way.

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Topics: Compensation, Business Growth, Sustainability, Enterprise

Estimating Value Based on Recurring Revenue

Posted by Ryan Grau CVA, CBA on Jun 7, 2021 2:18:00 PM

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Recurring revenue is one of the most important single determinants of value. Revenue produced through management fees, trails, or renewals is ongoing and reasonably predictable. Transactional revenue is more elusive and difficult to predict. While this isn’t cutting edge news, it is important to understand that recurring revenue is more predictable and presents less risk of future earnings when compared to transactional revenue. As such, when a portion of revenue is generated from transactional revenue, buyers will require a higher rate of return (discount) when compared to other market alternatives that provide more certainty.

Rule of Thumb?

It is important to understand the difference between an adjusted pricing multiple based on the specific characteristics of the business being valued versus a “rule of thumb.” A rule of thumb for the financial services industry is that businesses sell for two-times gross recurring revenue and one-times non-recurring revenue, or that they are worth five-times Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA). Often sellers approach us asking if the offer they have received based on a rule of thumb is sufficient or fair. This question cannot reasonably be answered without understanding the revenue characteristics of the practice.

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Topics: Business Growth, Revenue Strength, Business Value, Multiples

Aligning Ownership Priorities for Success

Posted by Kem Taylor on Jan 28, 2021 2:17:34 PM

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In our over ten years’ experience helping businesses design and implement internal succession plans, we’ve seen that each generation—G1, G2, and G3—can, naturally, have their own distinct points of view and priorities. These differences are common and normal. By acknowledging these differences and communicating with each other, teams can adjust their expectations, align their priorities, and see their transition plans work out to the satisfaction of everybody.

But how do you align different priorities within your own ownership team? Below are three examples of how to facilitate this alignment. These examples are not of particular clients, but are taken from a conglomeration of advisor situations over the years.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Acquisition, Business Growth, Next Generation

The Opportunity of a New Year

Posted by FP Transitions on Jan 4, 2021 2:47:00 PM

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Happy New Year!

More than ever, we look forward to 2021 with the sense of reset and resolution that comes with the changing of the calendar year. We can breathe a sigh of relief that we made it through the chaos and onslaught of 2020.

If we take a moment to look back before we look ahead, we can see just how far we’ve come and how resilient we’ve been as a community of global citizens, financial professionals, and business owners. 

In terms of M&A activity, the financial services industry has held its ground despite the market downturn that came earlier in the year. This is a reflection of the shrewdness of professionals like yourself. In the face of market uncertainty, you rose to the challenge, adapted as necessary, and pushed forward.

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Topics: M&A, State of the Market, FPT in the News

Managing Roadblocks Along the Next-Gen Ownership Path

Posted by FP Transitions on Dec 8, 2020 7:24:01 AM

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When it comes to planning for the future, flexibility is important. Change is bound to happen–whether we see it coming or not. Planning for future growth and ownership of a business is no different. As a next-generation professional in this industry, being able to adjust your course while keeping your eye on the ball is imperative.

In the past, we’ve written about how founders and existing ownership teams can prepare for and adapt to changes that might come their way. While next-generation professionals may encounter similar roadblocks, you will face unique challenges of your own. In the current phase of your career–building experience, relationships, and leadership potential–the course correction discussion is less about planning for the future of a business as an owner, and more about carefully plotting the future of your career.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Multi-Generational Ownership, Next Generation

The Case Against Revenue Splits [Article]

Posted by FP Transitions on Oct 28, 2020 6:16:00 AM

With all of the modern tools for practice valuations and equity management solutions available, some financial advisors still choose to use revenue splits, or a revenue-sharing arrangement, as a makeshift succession plan. For a practice owner, this can be a poor and shortsighted business decision for several reasons, including:

  • Unfavorable tax implications.
  • Potential asset and client disputes.
  • Reduced business value.
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Topics: Compensation, Succession Planning, Enterprise Strength, Cash Flow, Sustainability

Identifying Key Successor Traits

Posted by FP Transitions on Oct 21, 2020 6:19:34 PM

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As an owner of a successful financial advisory business, you understand that the team you’ve built is vital to that success. Taking the next step and giving your top talent the opportunity to become owners can increase your growth and ensure that the business will continue to be successful–for generations to come.

Assembling this successor team and committing to a long-term partnership are important and weighty decisions. How will you know who will make a good partner? What traits and behaviors suggest that someone will make a successful owner? Much of that depends on your own values and priorities as the majority owner of your firm.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Next Generation, Sustainability, Building Your Team

Virtual Meetings : Navigating the Tools [Video]

Posted by FP Transitions on Oct 14, 2020 4:22:20 PM

Digital meetings with colleagues and clients are the “new normal” for business operations. There are many free and paid options for virtual meetings­, and each software platform has different capabilities in terms of customization, security options, and additional features. Each of these tools is designed to help you connect “face-to-face” in a digital world. 

We’ve put together the video guide below on navigating the basics of virtual meeting software and successfully connecting with your colleagues and clients. Learn about managing audio and video settings, screen sharing, virtual backgrounds and, of course, the importance of practice, practice, practice.

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Topics: Client Trust, Client Relationships, Business Operations

Benefits of Synthetic Equity for Next-Generation Professionals

Posted by Stuart Smith, JD on Sep 30, 2020 4:56:11 PM

Benefits of Synthetic Equity for Next-Generation Advisors

The term “synthetic equity” refers to a set of compensation tools that is commonly used to provide key employees some of the economic benefits of ownership without actual stock changing hands. While existing owners may benefit from synthetic equity by capitalizing on employee performance without relinquishing ownership, there are key benefits to next-generation advisors, too.

Reduced Financial Risk

One of the most beneficial aspects of synthetic equity for a next-generation advisor is that it does not require a financial investment in the firm. As a younger professional, you may already be juggling the financial obligations of a new family, a recent home purchase, or student loans, and you may not be interested in taking on the added burden of ownership buy-in–yet.

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Topics: Compensation, Succession Planning, Next Generation, Sustainability, Building Your Team

Remodeling Cash Flow [Article]

Posted by FP Transitions on Sep 10, 2020 10:23:33 AM

There are two ways to make money from a financial services business: wages and profit distributions. But, there are four ways to build wealth from the same model: 

  1. Wages (including bonuses)
  2. Profit distributions
  3. Equity income selling equity
  4. Equity value, or stock appreciation

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Topics: Compensation, Succession Planning, Enterprise Strength, Cash Flow, Sustainability

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