TRANSITION TALK

10 Reasons to Professionally Value Your Business

Posted by FP Transitions on Nov 28, 2018 2:08:05 PM

10 Reasons to Professional Value Your Practice

Experienced business owners recognize the importance of tracking and monitoring the value of their practice over time. They know their practice is their most valuable asset, and by valuing it, they are empowered to grow, protect, and realize the value they have built.

Following are ten situations where it’s essential to have a current value and accurate understanding of your business.   

1. Increase Value

To cultivate growth and increase the value of your business, you need to have a starting point—a place to grow from. An accurate and comprehensive valuation will identify value drivers and growth opportunities, allowing you to create an informed growth strategy and make changes that will improve performance. The ability to track those changes and the value of the practice year after year enables you to see your progress and ensure your growth is on target

2. Benchmark Your Business

Tracking your value year after year allows for accurate benchmarking of the business. A thorough benchmarking report will look at your business and compare it to similar-sized businesses in the market, evaluating your company’s standing against the competition. Benchmarking reports reveal how your business stacks up against your peers as well as against leaders in the industry.

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Topics: Valuation & Appraisal, Business Value, Business Growth, Acquisition, Succession Planning, Benchmarking

Course Corrections for Your Succession Plan

Posted by FP Transitions on Oct 11, 2018 9:42:48 AM

Course Corrections

Building a sustainable business and incorporating new talent into your ownership structure is a process that takes planning and monitoring. But it’s a process that–when done correctly–can yield incredible satisfaction, growth, and value. A process with so many moving parts including multiple parties and expectations is bound to see some bumps. Sometimes those bumps can necessitate larger course corrections in order to keep the plan on track.

There are a variety of situations that can cause a larger adjustment to your succession plan–whether they’re driven  by G1 or G2, positive or negative, preventable or not, and expected or not. Below is an excerpt adapted from a section of Succession Planning for Financial Advisors, written by FP Transitions Founder and President David Grau Sr., JD.

If Founder Plans Change

The whole purpose of a succession plan is to help your business outlive you, so count on this being a somewhat lengthy process. While some plans on paper may go out 20 or more years, they are implemented tranche by tranche, with planned opportunities for reassessment and course changes or adjustments. At a minimum, plan for annual valuations to monitor value, annual benchmarks using that valuation data to track operational numbers, and plan adjustments every five years or so. Depending on the size of the business, the number of owners, and the goals, some businesses and firms prefer more frequent maintenance so that the course corrections are more subtle.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Sustainability, Selling Your Practice

David Grau Sr., JD on Advisor2Advisor Podcast

Posted by FP Transitions on Sep 4, 2018 11:42:47 AM

Last month FP Transitions President and Founder, David Grau Sr., JD, joined Scott and Pat on the Advisor2Advisor podcast to discuss common concerns related to mergers, and an all too prevalent (and costly) mistake that some mature advisors make when they fail to capitalize on the equity they’ve established by creating a viable succession plan. Listen here.

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Topics: FPT in the News, Mergers, Succession Planning

Asking Your Boss for Ownership

Posted by Kem Taylor on Jun 21, 2018 10:10:21 AM

Asking Your Boss for Ownership

As I talk with young advisors at local events and national conferences, I’ve increasingly heard concerns about broaching the topic of future ownership in the firm where they work. Some junior advisors have been promised ownership but don’t have anything in writing. Others don’t know the best way to bring up the topic in the first place.

It can be intimidating to ask the founder if their plans for their practice include you. However, you need to plan your career and to know how it will impact your family and life outside the office.

Take for example, Jennifer’s story: 

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Topics: Succession Planning, Next Generation, Equity Pathways

The Three Pillars of a Successful Advisory Business

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on May 24, 2018 2:26:19 PM

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In my work, I’ve become a “professional traveler,” so I spend a lot of time in airports, and I get to talk to many of the pilots. Airline pilots are adventurous souls who enjoy finding ways to go faster, fly higher, and see things from a level that others cannot. They are also very methodical and go about everything with a checklist mentality, a clear purpose, and as much knowledge on the subject matter as they can muster. I find a lot of our entrepreneurial advisors to be cut from the same cloth. The goal of building something bigger, stronger, and better, helping clients with a different view of the financial world, and then sharing what they’ve built with others is woven into the very fabric of their being. Entrepreneurs like to grow, and they like to do things right.

Growth, of course, can mean many things. You might want to grow your top line revenue and assets under management. Maybe you’re looking to hire and build your team in order to improve client experiences. Perhaps you want to acquire a practice–or two–to quickly grow revenue, assets, the client base, and your own income. But, just like a pilot who wants to go faster and fly higher, eventually you’re going to need a larger plane, a stronger engine and airframe, even additional skills that maybe you don’t have–or don’t necessarily have a passion for developing.

Over time, we’ve seen that independent advisors don’t naturally build large, profitable, sustainable businesses. The ambition is there, and recurring, fee-based revenue certainly helps, but the skill-sets that prompt most of you to hang out your own shingle and start gathering clients who entrust you with their financial goals and assets are different than what it takes to run an organization of professionals and create scale. For these reasons and others, this is still more an industry of book builders than it is of business builders.

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Topics: Business Growth, Organizational Structure, Entity Structure, Compensation, Building Your Team, Succession Planning, Sustainability

8 Considerations for Your Merger Strategy

Posted by FP Transitions on May 18, 2018 7:06:12 AM

“Mergers & Acquisitions” is a phrase that gets used off-handedly, but those are substantially different transactions. An acquisition itself is a complicated enough process. But in a merger there are the additional components required to wholly integrate two separate businesses into one surviving entity.  Those complexities are why each merger engagement presents circumstances and challenges unique to the companies, and individuals, involved. Those complexities can be solved, but the path to the solution is often not apparent to the inexperienced or unwary. 

There are threshold issues a business owner should consider before jumping into the process of merging his or her business with another business. In the video below, two of our transactions experts, General Counsel, Rod Boutin, J.D. and Assistant General Counsel, Ericka Langone, J.D., discuss some of these important considerations.

 

You and the rest of the ownership team have decisions to make about the merger process itself, as well as decisions to make about the business you’ll create. These details should not be left for discovery and sorted out mid-process, but should be understood and planned for before implementing your merger strategy.

FIT The importance of finding the right merger partner(s) might seem like a given. But, before you make the decision, really consider what makes a good fit. After all, you’re going to have to work with these partners for many years to come. A particular merger combination might make sense financially, but it has to make sense culturally if it’s going to work–and if the business is going to thrive.

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Topics: Mergers, Continuity, Business Growth, Succession Planning

Your Catalyst for Growth and Progress: Focus on Your Team

Posted by Colleen Jordan Hallinan on Mar 13, 2018 8:40:53 AM

Successful, ambitious, and conscientious advisors ask questions like: How do I create next-level growth? What will it take to build a firm that delivers an extraordinary experience to my clients and their families? How am I going to achieve my own next-level life? 

The answer starts with another strategic question: What has to happen to give you the freedom to focus on precisely those aspirations?

Your catalyst for growth in all three areas lies in the talents of your team. Make your A players your #1 priority and you’ll have an alchemy that expands your available time and transforms exhaustion and obstacles into more space and energy.

A Players

But it doesn’t come without a cost. The cost is personal sacrifice of current habits, beliefs, ego, and behavior, plus an investment of more time now to blend together the ingredients for that alchemy. Your results will come from your ability to:

  • let go and stay focused on the big picture,
  • place yourself in service to your team, and
  • treat them like your best clients.
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Topics: Sustainability, Succession Planning, Next Generation, Building Your Team, Business Growth

Preparing for the Next Tranche in Your Succession Plan

Posted by Kem Taylor on Mar 7, 2018 11:21:00 AM

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Your firm’s succession plan is designed to gradually transition ownership, leadership, and growth responsibilities to the next generation of advisors. The goal is sustainability of the firm, and it is accomplished through a plan that coordinates the changing roles of the founder(s) and the successor team over many years. 

Selling equity in the business in a series of steps or “Tranches” gives both the founder and the next generation of owners the time to wisely manage the transition and to prepare for the changes to come. The transfer of ownership from the founders (G1s), to the second and third generation of owners (G2s and G3s), starts with Tranche 1. Tranche 1 is usually a shift of 10% to 20% of ownership to the next generation. Tranche 1 is often called the incubator stage and allows for all parties to test the waters and to prepare the business structure for the journey ahead.

The second step, Tranche 2, tends to move ownership to 70%/30% or 60%/40%, with G1 retaining the majority ownership position. The tranche system – selling to G2s and eventually G3s – not only widens the ownership base but also provides increasing continuity support as the firm develops and the successor team comes together.

As our clients progress through Tranche 1 we are often asked, “When should we start Tranche 2?” And the answer is: It depends, but also know that Tranche 2 tends to start well before the final payments are made by the G2 owners in Tranche 1.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Next Generation, Business Growth, Building Your Team

Succession Planning in the Family - Simple or Difficult?

Posted by Elise Rogers on Feb 21, 2018 3:12:35 PM

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Business succession from parent to child is an age-old practice in human history, from humble cobblers to royal families. The practice stemmed from necessity—parents taught their children the trade they knew in an effort to teach them to survive. What started from necessity became custom and, eventually, tradition. In many professions, this tradition is still a point of pride. Advisory business owners will often see this as the best path to build an enduring practice and retain their client base.

For some advisors, the idea of passing the business to a family member is their preferred choice and seems to be the easiest path forward. One day, the founder steps out and the child steps in. Most advisors even consider gifting their business to their children, with or without a written contract, rather than selling it to them. Here are some simple reasons you should think twice before taking this route.

The IRS Considers Your Business to Have Value

Many advisors think, “I’ll just give my children the business when I’m ready to retire.” We hear this all the time from founding owners whose children work with them in their business. Be wary, though – although certain types of gifts are exempt from this rule, generally speaking, a gift whose value exceeds the annual exclusion is taxable to the giver of the gift and likely will be applied against the giver’s lifetime estate tax exemption. 

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Topics: Sustainability, Succession Planning, Next Generation, Tax Regulations, Family Business, Business Growth

Closing the Succession Gap

Posted by FP Transitions on Jan 17, 2018 1:33:35 PM

Closing the Succession Gap

In many professions and in most businesses, succession planning and sustainability are not pressing issues. Most people don’t need a multi-generational dentist office, for instance. Who really cares if the neighborhood hamburger stand or your favorite restaurant has a succession plan? But in the financial services and wealth management industry it’s different.

Advisory clients have a clear–and not unreasonable–expectation of receiving continuing advice and investment management tailored to the length of their lives, not to the length of their advisor’s career. Being an independent financial professional necessarily indicates a commitment to the future; the element of planning implies that a financial advisor is starting something that will not and should not end with his or her own career. 

Consider the average successful financial advisor is in his or her mid-50’s. At that age, the owner/advisor will likely continue to work for another 15 to 20 years, even as time in the office gradually diminishes over the last half of that plan. At this time, clients are transitioning into retirement and are likely to need more financial guidance, not less. The term “succession gap” refers to the time difference between a single financial advisor’s career length and a client’s wealth cycle.

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

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