Investing

Looking for a Financial Advisor as a Small Business Owner?

By  Derek Condon

Disclaimer: In order to make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured on our platform. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor promotion of our clients over other professionals and firms not featured on Wealthtender. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.

As a small business owner, you always have a million things on your mind. In the beginning, you’re trying to figure out how to get your business started. Then it’s on to how do you get new clients, then keep those clients, all in order to be able to grow your business. 

It’s safe to assume you love what your business does and want to continue to focus on that. There’s not always time to think about other things. But some of those other things are very important too, and can actually help your business. 

A financial advisor who specializes in working with business owners can help you out with a lot of things that are complicated, confusing, and out of your comfort zone. No matter what stage of business you’re in, it makes sense to surround yourself with professionals who are experts in what you’re not, so you can succeed. 

“A financial advisor can help you discover ways to use your business to grow your wealth, both in and out of the business,” said Cady North, Founder and CEO of North Financial Advisors.  “For instance, making sure you get paid what you’re worth, ensuring you have a sustainable business model, and taking advantage of retirement savings incentives.”  

So let’s take a look at seven ways a small business financial advisor can help you out. We’ll also introduce you to several financial advisors in the Wealthtender community who specialize in working with business owners just like you.

1. Financial Planning for Your Business

As a small business owner or self-employed person, you don’t have to deal with the big company problems or corporate bureaucracy, which is very appealing. But it also means you don’t have access to many of the big company perks. For example, without employee benefits like a 401(k) retirement plan with matching contributions, a health savings account, basic insurance, and/or an employee stock purchase plan, you are solely responsible for accumulating your retirement savings as a small business owner. 

That’s another overwhelming task that can get easily pushed aside, the ‘deal with it later’ mentality. With investing and saving for your retirement, the earlier you start and the longer you invest, the more benefit you actually see. A business financial advisor can help get you started with financial planning for your business, keep you on track, remind you of the importance, and always have your financial future as a priority. This lets you prioritize your business and how to make it succeed. 

2. Cash Flow Management 

What do you do with the money you or your business is making? Is it being invested or is it just accumulating in a low-interest savings/checking account because you don’t know what to do with it? 

Just like for an individual, the money your business makes doesn’t have to stop making you money once you get paid. By investing the money your business earns strategically, you can continue to earn interest. This can help you afford expenses for your business, training or software, paying taxes or memberships, really anything you can think of. The only people I know who are excited around tax time are the accountants eager to do your taxes. By accumulating, saving, and earning interest, you can make those times when money is tight more manageable. 

3. Insurance Planning for Business Owners

I’m sure you sighed when you read the word insurance, but a good wealth management plan needs to incorporate insurance. We could do all of the planning in the world, create a real work of art on a spreadsheet, and then something happens that causes you to not be able to work. Then you have to use all of your savings to keep yourself afloat until you can earn an income again. So the plan becomes completely irrelevant. 

About 45% of us will develop cancer at some point in life, that’s a scary statistic. With cancer comes additional costs, such as medication and treatments, not to mention the stress that comes with it. You’re probably not going to be able to work as much or as hard as you did in the past. 

Insurance is definitely something people overlook or try to risk going without to save costs. Insurance is cheapest earlier on. Some insurance plans offer features like the return of premium, meaning if you don’t need the benefits you get your money back. A good business financial advisor can teach you about the types of insurance you need to consider, make sure you have a plan that meets your exact needs, and is reviewed periodically as your situation changes. Policies with features addressing critical illness, disability, business overhead expenses, and key person insurance should be considered. 

4. Retaining Employees 

Job markets are very competitive. A lot of times it comes down to the specific work environment and perks of working for an employer that attracts and retains employees. Everyone needs to have a good financial plan, and that includes investments and insurance. Being able to recommend a financial advisor knowledgeable in your business and who can work with your employees is a big perk, which also means employees can focus more on their primary job responsibilities.

Money concerns are among the most common fears that keep people awake at night and distract them. Taking care of your employees is not only good for them, but it’s good for you and your business. 

5. Succession and Exit Planning for Business Owners

What happens to your business when you retire, or if something bad were to happen? Do you have a successor, or an exit plan to sell your business? Are you aware of the tax consequences (and potentially significant small business tax benefit known as QSBS), difficulty with getting fair value, or complications that come along with passing on your business? 

A financial advisor who specializes in exit planning for business owners can help make those decisions easier for you and your family. Obviously, you want what is best for you and your family. But it’s always easy to push things off when they aren’t of immediate concern. Financial advisors’ priorities are always protecting you and your family’s wealth. Even if it’s not always on your radar because you’re managing a business, it will be on their mind. 

6. When the Going Gets Tough

Especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen how even thriving businesses can experience sudden and devastating interruptions to revenues and cash flow.

In times like these, the help of a financial advisor or business consultant with turnaround experience can prove invaluable to help navigate discussions with creditors, and possibly even a bankruptcy restructuring. For example, the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 offers new and more favorable options for business owners facing challenging times.

“The new law allows business owners to continue to operate and keep their firms, and reorganize their debts,” said James Sivco, founder of Molten Layer, an advisory firm based in Houston, Texas. “This is a much more business owner-friendly process with much larger impacts.”

7. Time 

When you combine everything together, a small business financial advisor can save you a lot of time and effort. A financial advisor should be looked at as an asset, not an expense. Financial advisors can bring a lot of value, not only on the business side but also on the personal side. 

Just like a mechanic, dentist, or doctor, it’s important to hire a financial advisor who is a specialist. A good advisor who specializes in working with business owners can focus on what they do best, so you can focus on what you do best, successfully managing and running your business.

How To Find The Best Financial Advisors for Business Owners

While you may find a great financial advisor to work with through the referral of an acquaintance or whose office you drive by on your daily commute, it’s important to consider several factors to improve your odds of hiring the best business financial advisor for your unique needs.

As a business owner, you may decide the best financial advisor for you is one who specializes in understanding the unique financial planning challenges and opportunities commonly faced by entrepreneurs. These specialist business financial advisors may hold credentials like the Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) designation that demonstrate their expertise along with considerable experience working with business owners that could benefit your own financial planning needs.

Because many business financial advisors can work with you online, you’re not limited to hiring a financial advisor in your neighborhood when the best financial advisor for you may live hundreds of miles away.

In other words, whether you choose to hire a financial advisor who lives near or far, it may be most important to hire a financial advisor who truly understands your individual needs based on their education, experience, and commitment to helping people just like you.

You’ll find a growing number of financial advisors on Wealthtender who serve business owners, including advisors specializing in working primarily with entrepreneurs.

📍 Click on a pin in the map view below for a preview of business financial advisors who can work with you to develop a personalized financial plan for you and your business.

The Bottom Line

Whether your business is young, or you’ve been at it a number of years, a business financial advisor should be part of your team. Do your research, look around, and find a financial advisor you trust and can work well with. You owe it to yourself to have a complete team that can help your business succeed.


💡 Expert Answers to Business Owner Questions

Question: I’m excited my business is growing but worried its finances are becoming increasingly complex. What options should I consider and where can I turn for guidance?

Ryan Firth, CPA/PFS, CCFC, GFP (USA), RLP® Think of us as your personal financial Sherpa on your life’s journey.

“When you’re a business owner there are two very important things you need to stay on top of: 1.) your company’s finances; and 2). complying with tax reporting and other regulatory filing requirements.

Getting your books in order will help you in numerous ways: from running your business better, to obtaining financing for your business, to, ultimately, exiting the business. If your books are in bad shape (or even worse, nonexistent), it might behoove you to outsource bookkeeping and payroll functions to a third-party. Although it will cost you money (which should be tax deductible), it will save you time and allow you to focus on continuing to grow your business.

Staying on top of your company’s books and records should help make tax time go smoothly, which brings us to point number two. Again, if you find that your time would be better spent running your business rather than handling tax compliance matters, then consider hiring help to take care of your company’s tax filing obligations.

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a licensed professional who can help you with your company’s bookkeeping and tax needs. To find a CPA, you could ask business acquaintances for recommendations, or reach out to your state or local CPA society for several names. Ideally, you’ll want to work with a professional who is familiar with your company’s industry, but it’s not necessarily a deal breaker. Ultimately, what you’re looking for is a trusted advisor who will help you take your business to the next level, which is exactly what a CPA can do for you.”

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Ryan Firth, CPA/PFS, CCFC, GFP (USA), RLP® | Mercer Street Financial

Question: My business is doing well and I’ve been approached by potential buyers. I’m thinking about retiring soon and considering selling. What should I be thinking about now and where can I turn for help?

Deb Meyer, CFP®, CPA/PFS, CEPA Smart money strategies for faith-driven parents.

“Selling a business that you built from the ground-up isn’t cut and dry. You have many options as a business owner, and it’s wise to get strong counsel from an experienced advisor who can help you navigate the complexities of a business sale. In fact, between 70% and 80% of privately held businesses that are offered for sale each year do not ultimately sell.

A Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) is specially trained to help you maximize the value of your business as you prepare to sell. Some CEPAs are focused on optimizing business operations, but a financial advisor who is also a CEPA can help you figure out an optimal sales price to ensure your personal cash flow and legacy goals are met during retirement.  And if you’re charitably inclined, there are advanced strategies you can take as the business owner to give the most to charities of your choice.”

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Deb Meyer, CFP®, CPA/PFS, CEPA | WorthyNest

Question: A pain point for me and many entrepreneurs is finding more time in the day to spend with our families. How do you help business owners create more balance in our work and personal lives?

Jenna VanLeeuwen, CFP® Financial Planner for Business Owners

As a business owner, so much relies on you at work and at home. With so much to do, it can be hard to step back and realize that you have successfully scaled your business to the point where you don’t have to grind so hard.

We look thoroughly at both your business and personal financial life to understand where you are and where you want to go. In the business, we answer questions like: How profitable is your business? Is it growing? What’s your expected profit and your expected compensation? On the personal side, it’s evaluating your progress towards goals like saving for retirement, saving for your kids’ college, or buying a home. Once we know where you are, we break it down into specific steps to get you to where you want to go. I find clients are able to worry less and be more present with their families when they know they have a plan in place, and they are actively working towards their financial goals.

The perspective gained during the planning process helps, but also, I’m able to help do the heavy lifting to help my clients reach their financial goals so they can make progress in less time. For business owners, it’s things like managing their investments, monitoring cash flow, and screening potential partners like accountants, bookkeepers, insurance agents, and estate planning attorneys.

Once you understand where you are in the business and at home, and you have the appropriate financial team in place, it can be easier to create the balance. Not only have you created extra time in your day, you also know that you are on track for providing for your family and you can be present at the dinner table – without worrying about the future.

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Jenna VanLeeuwen, CFP® | Aligning Wealth

🙋‍♀️ Have Financial Planning Questions as a Business Owner?



Derek Condon

About the Author

Derek Condon

Winnipeg-based Financial Advisor focusing on investments, financial planning, and mortgages. I prioritize education, because I believe the more we know, the more we all benefit. It allows me to help people make the most of their financial future. 

Disclaimer: In order to make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured on our platform. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor promotion of our clients over other professionals and firms not featured on Wealthtender. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.

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