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How to Approach Planning for Business Owners Differently

Submitted by John Brown on Fri, 01/03/2020 - 6:00am
Thought Leader

Advising and planning for business owners has become increasingly commoditized. Owners have the freedom and ability to seek out exactly the kind of advisor they need at the price they’re willing to pay. The challenge for owners is finding the right advisor who can speak to their most deeply seated wants and needs and solve their biggest problems. For advisors, the challenge is knowing how to speak to those needs in ways that are different from how every other advisor speaks to them. Today, we’ll examine a few ways advisors can approach planning for business owners from a different angle and the benefits they and their clients can reap from doing so.

Know what owners are looking for

Though business owners are as unique as the businesses they found, many owners share common desires. Our most recent survey shows that most of them want a plan that gives them the option to transfer their ownership interest within the next 5–10 years. It also shows that most of them don’t have any written plans to achieve this goal. And experience shows that most of them make the error of assuming that they can wait until they’re ready to transfer their ownership to start their planning, which is like writing your doctoral dissertation the morning you’re slated to present it.

Simply telling owners these facts isn’t enough. Advisors must know how to establish these facts in ways that owners truly care about. Any advisor can tell an owner, “You should be financially secure by the time you decide to retire,” and be correct. But being right isn’t enough. The most successful advisors know how to show owners the why and how behind such a statement. But when every owner has unique desires, how can advisors efficiently and effectively show them the why and how?

The key is thoughtful communication. Owners don’t want to be treated like a number on a check. They want advisors who have the knowledge to start conversations about their futures on their terms. More importantly, they want advisors who can expand on their individual needs clearly and fluently.

BEI gives advisors the knowledge and solutions that business owners want, letting those advisors stand out. BEI’s proven probing questions, deep network of advisors from various professions, and focus on thoughtful communication provide different, more diverse, and more effective ways to approach the problems that keep owners up at night.


Be willing to learn

Helping business owners plan for a successful future is a constant exercise in learning. Advisors constantly learn about what owners worry about, what owners believe stands in their path to success, and what makes them hesitant to commit to planning excellence. A common problem that advisors run into when working with business owners is their tendency to stick with what they know best. But planning for future success is complex and requires advisors to be nimble without overstepping their expertise. How can this possibly happen?

A deeper knowledge of planning methods that exist outside of the advisor’s core practice is the answer. BEI provides the knowledge advisors seek about the best planning strategies they can use, even if those strategies aren’t their core focus. This is a true differentiator because it gives advisors the ability to find solutions that other advisors who are solely focused on their realm of expertise simply cannot.

When advisors can find effective and outside-the-box solutions to owners’ most pressing problems, it benefits their core practices because they’ve established themselves as a trustworthy advisor as a whole. And it benefits business owners because they now have a touchpoint who can find them the advisors and solutions they want and need to solve their biggest problems. Owners go back to advisors they trust because they know those advisors can and will help them one way or another. Not all advisors have that ability, and the ones who do, thrive.

Execute plans with confidence

Of course, the whole point of working with advisors is to execute effective plans. A stumbling block that owners encounter is finding the right advisors and then keeping them all on task toward the owner’s ambitious goals, both for now and into the future. Advisors who can execute these plans by leading the planning process are in high demand because they let owners do what they do best—run their businesses—without having to agonize over whether their advisors are staying on top of everything.

That’s the true thrust of what BEI does for advisors. BEI provides advisors with tools and resources that show business owners their exceptional value as leaders who get things done on the owner’s terms. Advisors who work with BEI can execute plans that grow, evolve, and protect businesses with confidence. When business owners meet advisors who can do all of that without requiring owners to spearhead the process themselves, it comes as a monumental relief to owners. It’s a different way of planning that takes a ton of pressure off owners’ backs, making them more likely to achieve their biggest goals and more likely to work with the advisors who carry that weight for them.


  • Though advisory services are becoming more commoditized, no owner wants to be treated as a commodity themselves. Advisors who can approach planning from a different angle—specifically, from the owner’s viewpoint—do themselves and owners a great service.
  • Knowing what owners want, having a willingness to learn, and having the ability to execute complex planning with confidence is attractive to business owners.
  • BEI works with advisors to give them the communication skills, confidence, and knowledge business owners expect from their advisors. This leads to better outcomes in their core practices, stronger and longer-lasting relationships with clients, and more fulfillment in their areas of expertise.


Are you ready to differentiate yourself?

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