Building Engagement & Advisor Teams One Step at a Time
Eddie Drescher, CExP, Financial Advisor with Haycox Financial Group, has over 20 years of experience as a Financial Advisor, helping business owners and their families navigate the unique challenges and opportunities presented while seeking financial security. In addition to his role as a Financial Advisor, Eddie is also a certified business advisor with the Crankset Group, an international business advisory organization, and is a Certified Exit Planner (CExP) for business owners. Eddie is passionate about Exit Planning - getting “into the trenches” with his business owner clients, their families, their key employees, and their professional advisor teams.
BEI: How did you start working with business owners?
I started my career in commercial banking back in 1989. Most of the business owners that I work with in my geographical area are smaller, privately-held family businesses, mostly under $10 million in annual revenues. I've worked with my fair share of larger companies, but my wheelhouse primarily consists of helping small business owners.
After seven years in commercial banking, I started a practice from scratch with the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in 1997. Nine years in, I had an opportunity to facilitate business owner peer advisory boards, which I already had exposure to through “study groups” with my peers. I then had the opportunity to affiliate with and become a certified business advisor through the Crankset Group.
In the nine years I was with the Northwestern Mutual, I focused a lot on families and individuals. But my plan was to gravitate towards business owners, which I did over time. After I completed my CExP certification studies in 2019 with BEI, Exit Planning made up 90% of my business.
BEI: What would you say is your favorite part about working with business owners?
My favorite part of working with business owners is learning their different stories. I love hearing how they got started, why they started, and what it took to achieve what they have accomplished. I also really enjoy getting to know the owners’ business models. I like to hear what “moves the needle” or really makes a difference in growing their sales and profits. What also intrigues me is the people and systems owners have in place that can scale a business. Some owners do a really good job of scaling early on, and other business owners need a lot more assistance in getting started.
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?
Personally, in my own career development, I'd say the number one challenge I had to learn how to overcome was to not be all things to all people. I am learning how to articulate what I do, and what I do not do, with more clarity and earlier in the planning process. I've learned this lesson the hard way. This is not a problem of time management because we all get 24 hours in a day. Rather, it has been a lesson in prioritization and focus.
BEI: What have you learned from your business owner clients?
I've had the privilege of working with some amazing people. I would say the number one thing I've learned from clients is that many business owners don't grasp the reality as to where their business is in relation to where they think it is.
I'll give you an example. I recently had an initial conversation with a business owner, and she said that her plan was to “build my business up, merge with a friend’s company, and in two years, sell it."
I'm not saying that she won't pull it off because it was apparent that she is an incredibly talented and motivated individual. I have no doubt that she is going to accomplish her dreams. However, when I hear an aggressive plan like this, I often wonder if owners realize what it really takes to build a company that has bona fide transferable value. This is why it is critically important that owners work with an advisor team to create a plan and strategy on how they're going to convert their business to a lifetime income stream.
BEI: How has your involvement with BEI impacted your practice?
The Exit Planning Boot Camp and CExP course helped me tremendously - and that is an understatement. When I attended the Boot Camp in Dallas, Texas, John Brown was fantastic. I already had considerable experience working with business owners’ continuation and succession plans but the BEI Exit Planning Process and formal training is exactly what I was looking for.
After the Boot Camp, I immediately started studying and got my CExP designation in the six months that followed. This training gave me the confidence to provide even better solutions to my clients, giving me a proven process and method that will help owners on their planning journey.
I feel as though I always have a resource at BEI that I can call for assistance. I have even talked to John Brown, Founder of BEI, and Jared Johnson, CEO of BEI, a time or two to get advice on actual Exit Plans that I was working on. It means a lot when the CEO and Founder took their time to answer my questions. BEI is a great partnership.
BEI: What advice would you give a new advisor coming into the Exit Planning industry?
Do not wait until you think you know everything to go after your first engagement. I still get nervous in many interactions when I am working on an Exit Planning engagement. For someone who is brand new to the industry and has not had as much experience, I recommend they just focus on getting the first engagement.
Second, find an experienced Exit Planner that can work with you jointly and support you while you build your skills and confidence.
Lastly, remember that we are the ones that keep the entire process moving. The real value that Exit Planning Advisors provide is the creation of a roadmap with clear steps, target dates, and accountability to keep the project moving forward. You do not have to know everything to keep an engagement moving in the right direction.
BEI: How do you develop your Exit Planning Advisor Team? When do you bring in those experts?
Building your team of advisors can be very delicate. I start with the client’s current advisors, and then recommend professionals from my network to fill in any gaps. In my experience, the client’s current advisors are usually equipped to handle an endeavor like Exit Planning.
My job as the Exit Planning Advisor is to try to eliminate any impediments to them moving forward. Their advisor teams are not usually complete before beginning the Exit Planning Process. It takes time to determine advisor team member gaps, and they usually evolve as the process plays out. I like to take it one step at a time and add/subtract advisor team members as the engagement progresses.
Learn more: https://www.haycoxfinancial.com/CRN202503-2032920. C. Edward Drescher and William C. Haycox, Jr. are registered representatives of and offers securities, investment advisory and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. Supervisory office: 222 Central Park Avenue, Suite 1100, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, (757) 490-9041. Haycox Financial Group is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC, or its affiliated companies.