We believe in providing bespoke white-glove service for our clients because we know that every client is different. Our focus on business owners, entrepreneurs, founders, and their families is personal to us because we too are business owners. As a family business owner, we have a depth of understanding of what our clients want, what they need, and how to get them there.
We take a different approach to our work with business owners. Instead of focusing on gathering assets and assisting with investment accounts, which we do help with, we focus on building financial plans based on the personal, qualitative, and business ownership aspects of our clients’ lives. This isn’t an approach most advisors take because they cannot relate to business ownership. We get it, we get you, and our sole purpose is to help you, your family, and your business thrive. Our years of experience, not only as business owners but as business consultants means we can help you with aspects of your business you may not even think about
Business Valuation – There are many reasons to order a business valuation. Are you selling a business to a third party, transferring ownership to a family member? Are you funding a buy-sell agreement between owners? Or, are you acquiring a business? What exactly is your business worth and how do you figure that out? Business valuation is the process of determining the economic value of your business which provides you with an objective estimate of the worth of your company. Valuation is an important part of retirement and estate planning for business owners. By estimating the three gaps of income, value, and personal net worth; we can begin the planning and wealth management process.
Value Enhancement - Value enhancement focuses on maximizing the company’s value and increasing the potential sale, transfer, or liquidation price. In comparison, public companies are often perceived to be less risky. Our thesis is that the difference in perception is due to the differences in depth of management, transparency, strategic planning, organizational structure, systems and processes, effective marketing strategy, and product development. Risky companies carry lower perceived values. From our observations, owners tend to focus on the top line and bottom line of their income statements and ignore the intangibles that, when well-managed, can accelerate value. We can help enhance the value of your business by first advising on mitigating and managing the risk in your business, and then going above and beyond the income statement. While working on revenue and net income, we focus work on the “intangible capital” aspects of your business. These are elements of your business that enhance and accelerate value growth.
Continuity and Contingency Planning - Business continuity is the ability of your business to carry out its normal activities and function after unplanned events have occurred. While a contingency plan refers to an actionable and defined plan that is put into place if an identified business risk or unfortunate event occurs. Together these plans protect you and your business from any type of disruption by preparing you for the unpredictable. If we have learned anything from the global pandemic in 2020 it is that all businesses, big and small, need some sort of strategy for dealing with business interruption due to uncontrollable events. Graeme Woods dealt with this very problem working as an insider in three different businesses from this wealth advisory firm, to an early childhood care center, to a professional theater company. All three businesses had similar problems but took very different approaches to manage the emergency and the additional risks that arose due to many unknowns. From preparation and planning to emergency management, to recovery; This continuity and contingency strategy affects the survivability of your business. We can apply insurance to cyber risk, but a ransomware attack doesn’t just hit your bank account. It can cost you customer trust, supply-chain disruptions, or any number of uninsurable items that will cost you in the long run. And then there are the 5 D’s that include death, disability, divorce, disagreement, or distress. Continuity and contingency planning is an important piece of your overall enterprise risk management strategy.
Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) - ERM using the ISO 31000 framework is a business decision-making process. First, it involves creating a comprehensive strategy to identify and prepare for issues that may occur with your company's finances, property, personnel, supply chain, customers, stakeholders, and operations. This in turn allows you to firm up your business's overall risk exposure by ensuring that the components of your business are not blindly engaging in activities that elevate risks unique to your industry. Second, it involves a strategy to identify and prepare for opportunities in those same aspects of your business. It is necessary to take on risks to achieve business growth. ERM using the ISO 31000 framework is a top-down approach starting with the owners and directors of the business.
Business Exit Planning - Creating a business exit and succession plan involves an integrated approach designed to help business owners address all of the business, personal, legal, financial, tax, and insurance issues involved in exiting a privately owned business. An exit could include the sale of your business, the creation of an ESOP, a generational transfer, or the fulfillment of a buy-sell agreement. This process begins with benchmarking the value of your business, its readiness for transfer or sale, and then assessing the status of your wealth (identifying the “wealth gap”). Then setting estate, retirement, and other goals related to life after owning your business. This process requires a team of advisors. As your wealth advisor and financial analyst, we would work in that team and help coordinate their efforts to develop a comprehensive exit and succession plan.
Employee Benefits and Qualified Plans – Your biggest investment is in your business. Attracting and retaining quality employees helps to enhance the value of your business. Starting a retirement savings plan can be easier than most business owners think. What’s more, there are many retirement programs that provide tax advantages to both employers and employees alike. We can help develop a complete and custom benefits package with group life insurance, disability income, and health plans. This is important because employees often choose to stay with the companies that have the most attractive health and other insurance benefits plans.
Executive Compensation – “Decisions about executive pay can have an indelible impact on a company. When compensation is managed carefully, it aligns people’s behavior with the company’s strategy and generates better performance. When it’s managed poorly, the effects can be devastating: the loss of key talent, demotivation, misaligned objectives, and poor shareholder returns.” (Harvard Business Review, 2021)
With this in mind, owners must get compensation right. There are many ways to align the interests of owners, management, and key employees. Preferably, this is done in a tax-efficient manner. Non-qualified executive compensation comes in many forms from split-dollar life insurance plans, to non-qualified deferred compensation. Some plans come in the form of “golden handcuffs” like stock options or fringe benefits. We help develop and assist in the implementation of a compensation strategy based on the business owners' goals.
Early-stage business planning - If you are working on a start-up, we can help. There are some important decisions to make early on that can impact the long-term profitability of your business, the tax impact on the money you take home, your ability to raise capital, and your exit (planned or unplanned). Stock traders always go into a position with a risk management plan, profit goals, and an exit plan. You should look at investing in your business in the same way. You have brilliant ideas, a unique way to bring your product or service to market, and a competitive and comparative advantage you can exploit to be successful. Don’t throw that lead away by not planning ahead.
Business Insurance - Being underinsured in your business can put your personal assets at risk. Whether it’s workers' compensation or coverage as a home-based business; insurance helps protect your company from different risks that can come up during normal operations. Insurance can also act as a credit enhancement when seeking financing. Choosing what insurance your business needs depends on the unique factors that define your business. Together we can evaluate risks and exposures and determine what coverage you need and how much is appropriate.
Pre-Transaction Due Diligence – On your team as your wealth advisor and financial analyst: Much like buying an inspection before you put your house on the market, it is important to ensure your business is ready for a transition whether it is for a sale or for a generational transfer. This is something that should be done on a regular basis. Surprises can severely hurt the sales price of your business. There may be simple fixes to help you get ahead of the market. Pre-transaction due diligence is conducted by you looking at your business as a buyer. Would you buy this business as it is? Would you pay at the top of the market or at the bottom of the market? Should your business even be on the market? If it is a generational transfer, you will want to set your family up for success. Do you want to leave them a profitable venture or a money pit?