For this week’s Behind the Scenes Blog post, we interviewed Keven Prather, founder of TransitioNext Advisors, a firm that specializes in total wealth management for family businesses and privately-held companies. Keven thinks of businesses as an asset class. He strongly believes that by planning for growth, enhancing business value, and implementing business exits, owners and their families can realize their equity wealth and live financially secure lives of significance.
Keven has been a financial advisor for the last 22 years specializing in working with business owners. He has been a member of BEI since 2007, a member of the Galliard Family Business Institute for many years and is a thought leader on the topics of business exit, transition, and succession planning. Keven is very active in his community by serving as the current Vice Chairman of the USS Cleveland Legacy Foundation, a non-profit tasked by the Secretary of the Navy to commission the Navy's newest class of warship named after the City of Cleveland, OH. He is also a former board member of the USO and serves as a Community Liaison for Services to Armed Forces American Red Cross. Keven is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard and we thank him tremendously for his service.
BEI: Why did you decide to work with business owners to help them exit?
Keven: I have always been an entrepreneur even when I did not understand what that meant. When I entered the Financial Services Industry, I had a natural affinity and curiosity in working with business owners and wealth creators.
After I ended my service in the military, I went to work for my wife's family business. I experienced many years of significant growth in the business and learned a vast amount of information from the dynamics that come into play when running a business. From these experiences, good mentorship, and training, I was able to develop a unique perspective about working with business owners and their families. I enjoyed the variety of people we were honored to help and got great satisfaction from assisting them in reaching their individual goals. It became clear to me that business owners are the wealth creators in the United States. They employ most of the population and deserve the help and expertise needed to create lasting legacies, preserve jobs, and live unique and fulfilling lives.
BEI: Tell us about an unexpected challenge you have encountered working with business owners. How did it impact you or your practice and how did you overcome the problem?
Keven: Early in my career a new business client died unexpectedly just as our planning engagement started. He, unfortunately, drowned while on vacation in Mexico. Reflecting on that experience, and the aftermath that occurred from the incident, I quickly came to the realization that I needed to approach planning like I was trained in the military: I trained and prepared for all potential outcomes. There was a direct parallel to working with business owners.
Being prepared for anything has allowed our clients to withstand the many impacts life and the economy can bring. We believe that properly assessing risk creates a foundation that companies can grow on. The industry is continually changing so plans needs to be adaptive and change in sync with ever changing business landscape, tax code, and economic cycles. I learned to help business owners manage their business as an asset class and monitor enterprise value, so owners have control over their equity wealth.
BEI: How has your involvement with BEI impacted your practice?
Keven: BEI has been a consistent place to learn new ideas, perspectives, and techniques to become a better advisor. It helps to be surrounded by people who are all extremely smart in their own unique disciplines, but also enjoy the satisfaction of helping our nation’s entrepreneurs become successful on their terms.
BEI: Do you have any recent accomplishments you would like us to highlight?
Keven: This year we are doing a series of workshop with Tom Deans, author of “Every Family's Business,” and nationally known speaker regarding family business succession planning. I was elected to be the Vice Chairman of the USS Cleveland Legacy Foundation in 2020. This 501(c)(3) organization is charged by the Secretary of the Navy to Commission the future USS Cleveland LCS 31 (Combat Littoral Ship) designed to support our nation's Special Forces. This will occur in Cleveland in 2023 as the ship is being built on the Great Lakes in Marinette, WI. The foundation is planning to bring the ship back to Cleveland as a museum ship after its service life. During its active duty phase our mission is to keep the City of Cleveland and NE Ohio connected to the ship and its crew through education, outreach, and adopt a sailor programming. It is a unique civic project that I am honored to be a part of.
Keven P. Prather is a registered representative of and offers securities and investment advisory services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. www.SIPC.org. TransitioNext Advisors® is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC, or it affiliated companies. OSJ: 2012 W. 25th St., Suite 900, Cleveland, Ohio 44113. 216-621-5680.
The views and opinions expressed are those of Keven Prather and not necessarily those of MML Investors Services, LLC.