Being different can be a good thing. But when business owners begin to approach planning for a successful future, they want to assure that the planning methods they use aren’t too far beyond the pale. This can be a challenge for advisors who are eager to begin differentiating themselves while still providing high-quality planning advice and services. After all, differentiating just for the sake of it is hardly helpful. Today’s article will provide a few planning techniques that advisors can use to successfully start differentiating themselves while working with business owners toward their goals.
Business continuity instructions
One of the newest and best ways for advisors to begin differentiating themselves is by offering to create business continuity instructions for business owners. Business continuity instructions are more than a Buy-Sell Agreement or any other standalone succession document.
Many business owners tend to have outdated Buy-Sell Agreements. Outdated Buy-Sell Agreements can ruin a business owner’s plans for future success. Business continuity instructions address the issues of outdated Buy-Sells as a matter of course, and they do so much more on top of that.
Consider a solely owned business, for example. If something were to happen to the owner—such as an untimely death or permanent incapacitation—what would happen? Whom would the owner’s family approach about addressing business issues that they may not have any experience with? What would be the next steps for any employees or stakeholders? What happens to the company in general?
Likewise, for a co-owned company, what happens if there’s a falling out between owners? What happens to the business if one co-owner goes through a divorce?
These are big, important questions that have huge consequences if not properly answered. A set of business continuity instructions establishes the processes for how to address the unexpected. Business continuity instructions also go well beyond “What if?” questions. (When faced with a conversation about their deaths, permanent incapacity, or something else that might go wrong, business owners often default to a “never me” mind-set.)
Business continuity instructions help owners discover where the holes in their plans exist. It gives them an understandable, non-technical way to see how they can begin planning for their future success. And it keeps everyone up to date on what the owner’s intentions are for the company, their family, and themselves, all in one place.
BEI provides business continuity instructions software to advisors as part of our EPIC planning platform. Advisors who want to start differentiating themselves can do so while showing value to their clients. It’s a differentiating force because most advisors cannot offer comprehensive business continuity strategies to their clients. It shows value by mapping an owner’s best-case continuity scenario, giving owners peace of mind that the business (and their family’s comfort) has a chance to continue thanks to their planning.
Value Driver planning
A huge and often unanswered question that business owners have is, “How can I take my business to the next level?” Most business owners shoulder the burden of assuring the company’s success, and when they hit a plateau, it can be an extremely frustrating challenge for them. Advisors who can answer this question without bruising the owner’s ego have an easier time differentiating themselves while showing value to their clients. A proven way to do this is through Value Driver planning.
In a nutshell, Value Drivers are aspects of a company that make the company more valuable to strategic buyers. Whether owners intend to leave their businesses within their lifetimes or not, installing Value Drivers makes pursuing their goals for future success much easier. This is because Value Drivers inherently improve the company, which makes it more enjoyable for owners to run. Having an outwardly valuable company also gives owners an out if they ever decide to exit their businesses during their lifetimes.
BEI is the leader in helping advisors establish strong Value Driver planning. We provide the tools, training, and networking that advisors require to identify the Value Drivers their clients must install; create plans to install those Value Drivers; and then implement the strategies in the business.
The biggest challenge in Value Driver planning is gathering all of the appropriate experts necessary. Installing Value Drivers is a multidisciplinary project, and it can look overwhelming to business owners. Advisors who can both advise owners on the elements of Value Driver planning related to their core practice and find the other experts necessary for aspects outside of their expertise do a great service.
They differentiate themselves by having a tangible answer to the “How do I take my company to the next level?” question. They show value to their clients by growing the value of the owner’s company. Value Driver planning is a great way for advisors to show value while differentiating themselves, and BEI positions advisors to do that the best.
- Business owners want planning strategies that speak to their needs without being one size fits all or too beyond the pale. Advisors who can provide those strategies have an easier job of differentiating themselves and showing value to their clients.
- Business continuity instructions provide a comprehensive overview of an owner’s planning intentions, which helps them assure that the business and their families can weather any unexpected storms that roll in.
- Value Driver planning can make ownership more enjoyable while allowing owners to give themselves the option to exit in the future, if they so choose.