The desire to provide others with products or services that solve problems or fulfill needs is what motivates many entrepreneurs to open their own business. But owning a business, if managed correctly, can also serve as a vehicle to build personal wealth, legacy, and retirement income. However, recognizing these benefits can be challenging for many CEOs.
In July 2023, more than 400,000 business applications were filed in the US– only 25% of those will survive beyond 15 years. The remaining will close or be sold. Of the businesses offered for sale, only 30 – 40% actually sell.
So, why do most businesses fail? Because they run out of money, often as a result of owners not knowing how much money they need to keep the lights on, make it through sales, and spend on incidentals. Rem Oculee, CEO and Founder of Confidence Wealth Management, and author of Exit Mindset, discovered this as he watched business owners and friends struggle with the financial aspects of business ownership.
Oculee’s inspiration to start Confidence Wealth Management was inspired in part by his heartfelt desire to address the shortcomings in financial advising for business owners. The company focuses on next-level strategies to transform wealth beyond basic money management and traditional financial blueprints.
Oculee believes, “A good financial plan is not measured when the economy is up; it’s measured when the economy is down.”
Here are four distinctions Oculee outlines for business financial planning and wealth management:
1. Your life’s work means something.
According to research, passion is one of the leading motivators for starting a business. New entrepreneurs should be excited about the idea of creating something from the ground up and watching their ideas come to fruition. That same survey found that only 8% were motivated by money. This leaves a gap where business owners can lose focus on creating a solid financial plan for themselves.
Also, the two are not mutually exclusive! Money is necessary to run a successful business. With appropriate wealth management strategies, you can put more resources into building your business and leaving a legacy. A legacy business leaves its mark on the community it belongs to.
2. All businesses need an exit plan.
You pour your life and soul into your business; it takes time and effort. That’s why it can be disappointing for your business to dissipate into the sunset when you close the doors for the last time, whether the doors shut after a lifetime of operating a successful business or after a year or two of opening.
The fact is that 80% of a typical business owner’s wealth is tied to their business. A well-crafted exit strategy can help unlock the value of a business.
While there are many steps to take to prepare your business for sale, the most prominent is unlocking the value of your business. According to Oculee, there are four components to value:
- Business worth: Business worth is about the intangibles beyond an income statement. It includes what drives the value of your business, whether that is through leadership, products, or its reputation in the community.
- Desirability: Buyers want businesses that can run without them. Investing in key team members and efficient systems improves desirability.
- Market conditions: Understanding the market, industry trends, and economic factors plays a vital role in the value of your business.
- Negotiation: Higher prices can be negotiated only if the negotiator understands the value or worth of the business.
In some cases, succession is the most optimal exit plan. This means passing the business on to the next generation in one’s family. Successful succession plans include identifying and training suitable successors to step into leadership roles when the time comes.
Finally, a post-exit strategy includes investing the proceeds to protect your wealth, tax planning, and setting clear goals for life after your business sells or closes.
3. Find advisors who understand business and finances.
This sounds basic, but it’s not. Surrounding yourself with the appropriate team offers your best chance to build wealth from your business … and leave it in good hands when you retire. Many of the advanced strategies and solutions for financial freedom are beyond the expertise of the general financial advisor.
Oculee cautions that business owners need financial consultants with expertise in business financial management, tax strategies, and owner wealth management. Effective consultants bridge the gap between personal and business finances.
Planning for your organization is much more intricate. While there are tax strategies that benefit businesses and their employees, tax planning is outside the expertise of many business owners. This is just one example of why Oculee advocates building a team of the right advisors to guide your business decisions now, and as they change in the future.
Ocalee explains that the best strategy for you depends on the intricacies of your particular situation.
4. Adopt a lifelong beginner’s mindset.
Oculee’s mantra is, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Adopt a beginner’s mindset; approach situations with a beginner’s perspective. Be open to new learning opportunities. A beginner’s mindset is closely associated with a growth mindset — believing you can improve and grow with effort and practice.
Business leaders who are eager to learn become thought leaders in their industries. Thought leadership can boost your organization’s bottom line. In a recent survey, 65% of buyers said thought leadership improved their perception of a company, and 64% said thought leadership was more important for assessing competency than marketing materials.
Oculee believes that improving their education efforts for other business owners will improve their client’s business performance, financial health, and longevity.
Small businesses account for 99.9% of all companies in the US. Almost half of US employees are employed by small businesses, which accounts for nearly 13 million jobs over the 25 years. Yet many fail to receive financial counseling for their businesses.
Oculee urges businesses to create a financial and wealth strategy for their business to protect the asset that makes up the majority of the owner’s net worth.