A basic tenet of business owner engagements is: When we fail to define a business challenge owners have, we fail to identify a need for our services and give owners no good reason to need to hire us.
The business challenge that we describe must be both
1. Apparent to owners
2. Difficult to solve without the specialized skills and experience you (actually or potentially) have.
When these two conditions are met, you differentiate yourself and your practice from other advisors and provide owners the reason to hire you.
What’s In It For Owners?
Most advisors who provide services to business owners offer advice and products common to their profession: financial and insurance advisors provide financial plans, personal insurance, and buy-sell agreement funding. Attorneys draft buy-sell agreements while CPAs prepare financial statements and business tax returns.
There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s also nothing special about that. Possibly price, but more typically nothing differentiates these advisors from one another. Generic representation addresses owners’ business and personal financial challenges, but not most owners’ greatest challenge: leaving their businesses on their terms.
It is your ability to address this specific business challenge that can separate you—differentiate you—from the pack. Your ability to help owners create and execute a plan to exit their companies successfully (a/k/a Exit Planning) gives them a reason to retain you.
Let’s look at the elements of this significant and unmet business challenge.
Elements of Exit Planning
The Exit Planning umbrella covers a multitude of business owner challenges such as:
· Accurately assessing an owner’s resource gap, if any,
· Growing business value and revenue,
· Keeping and motivating key employees,
· Transferring ownership tax efficiently,
· Providing for business continuity and ultimately,
· Attaining financial security through a designed ownership transfer.
Addressing the biggest challenges in a time- and cost-efficient manner requires training in Exit Plan design and in the tools used to execute an Exit Plan. BEI provides the training and the tools you will need.
Importantly, addressing these challenges also provides you new opportunities to employ the tools and products of your profession. A final step in addressing owners’ challenges is making them aware of your ability to help
BEI provides its licensed members with an extensive collection of brandable educational and marketing materials and tools that do exactly that. A few examples of those tools & materials are named below.
In a previous post, we mentioned the importance of spreading the word about Exit Planning and your services as it relates to it. Many advisors utilize the newsletter as a way to keep in touch with clients and prospects on a frequent basis. In addition, it can serve as a means to start or follow up a specific conversation by using archived articles about that topic to provide more background and context.
Another way to educate and inform owners about the importance of planning is to provide them with the education they are lacking in the form of videos, webinars, presentations, etc. to address common challenges. For example, a common challenge is growing business value. In doing a webinar or presentation about that particular topic, an owner might more easily recognize that they have overestimated the value of their company and need adequate time to plan for their exit.
In addition to the above ways to spread the word about your services, using brandable content also expands your reach and promotes thought leadership.
BEI licensed members are able to put their own spin on pre-created content that they can share with clients. For example, we have a large variety of White Papers on topics such as business continuity planning, improving cash flow, employee incentive planning, business acquisition tips and much more. Branding these White Papers with your logo and contact information could help pique the interest of a client.
Another effective way to leverage brand awareness is to do the same personalization with BEI assessments. Having the links to assessments on your website or being able to send your clients or prospects a link allows you to take the results and use them to address an owner’s challenges in your next conversation with them.
What’s in it for you as the advisor?
Providing a solution to your client’s problems gives you the ability to help owners tackle what is likely the most significant challenge of their business careers—leaving their companies with the money they want, at the time and in the hands of a successor they choose. This alone gives them the reason they need to hire you as well as sets you apart from other advisors in your community.
The market for Exit Planning is vast and according to statistics from our latest 2022 Business Owner Survey, owners are considering their plans for their future earlier in their ownership lifecycle than ever before. Download the full survey at the link below, and stay tuned for next week’s blog that continues the series on practice differentiation.