There’s something about sports that binds us. People from completely opposite backgrounds can be united by their love of a team. There’s power in a group of people coming together with a common goal. A team can accomplish what the individual never could. That’s as true in business as it is in the world of sports. Building the right support team can give you a serious advantage in your business. Join me as I draw up the perfect starting lineup for every business owner’s support team!
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As a business owner, I can tell you that, a lot of times, it feels like I’m playing defense. I’m actively working to defend my business from outside threats, various risks, and even complacency. Because of this, I thought that baseball would be a good sport to use as an example here. You see, baseball is unique in the fact that the defense controls the ball. Likewise, as business owners, we control the ball in our businesses.
In our analogy, business owners are the pitchers. We have the ball in our hands, on every play, and we trust our support teams to help us when a play needs to be made. I’m reminded of an interview that I once saw, where it was the pitcher’s first appearance in the MLB All-Star Game. When asked if he was nervous to be playing in the game, he responded, “Are you kidding? Have you seen the team I have surrounding me?” However, that kind of confidence only comes when you know that you are surrounded by an All-Star support team. With that in mind, let’s meet the rest of your starting lineup.
Your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ is a lot like the catcher on a baseball team. A CFP® really kind of directs the game, so to speak. They are in constant communication with the business owner and have enough knowledge about all of the other positions on the support team that they can direct you to the correct position for the play. Likewise, the CFP® monitors the field (plan), making sure that adjustments are made to the defense as they are needed. After all, you don’t want anyone stealing bases on you. CFPs® are uniquely positioned to see the entire field. Therefore, they are best suited for the catcher position.
Every lineup needs a power hitter. Oftentimes, this is referred to as “batting clean-up” and they are strategically placed as the fourth batter because they typically have the best chance to bring the runners home. These are the homerun derby champions. So who do we put in our clean-up position? In my opinion, this has to be a forward-thinking tax-planning CPA, and I’ll tell you why.
I’ve said many times that the Internal Revenue Code is the greatest wealth-building vehicle in the country. As such, the people who understand it best and know how to use it to your advantage are your greatest offensive weapons. This is why it is so vital that a forward-thinking CPA is on every business owner’s support team. But what does forward-thinking mean?
Well, paying last year’s taxes is great. In fact, it’s necessary if you don’t enjoy prison food. However, if all you are ever doing is looking in the rear-view mirror, you will never get to where you want to go. A forward-thinking CPA absolutely handles last year’s taxes, but they are also looking forward, finding ways to protect more of your money from being lost to taxes in the future. In that regard, your CPA is a powerful hitter when it comes to building wealth.
When you look at the second basemen, they have a very important role but aren’t always the highlight reel guys. Although, when they turn the double-play, it is a thing of beauty. However, they often just sit in the background and quietly make the plays that protect the defense from advancing threats. This is why I consider licensed insurance experts the second basemen of the business owner’s support team.
The thing to keep in mind here is that I am not talking about an insurance salesperson. Instead, this could be—and probably should be—3-4 different types of insurance experts. Whether you have one or four insurance professionals on your success team isn’t as important as what they know. You need to have someone that specializes in casualty such as business/commercial lines insurance. Likewise, there should be an insurance expert that knows all about group benefits like health insurance. Still, yet, you need an expert in the individual lines of home and auto insurance, as well as the personalized coverages such as life and disability insurance.
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This part of a business owner’s support team isn’t flashy. They aren’t sexy. If you’re an insurance professional, I’m sorry. Please don’t take that personally. However, they are vital to the success and protection of your business. They just get the job done. Whether you have one mega-expert or a team of 3-4, your insurance experts are the second basemen in your support team lineup.
The shortstop position can be a little flashy. Therefore, I like to put our trust and estate attorneys in that role. Business owners need their deep expertise. So, it’s important to add attorneys that specialize in these fields. If you have an attorney that claims to be an expert in all forms of law, run away! It’s impossible to be good at everything. A couple of specialists will serve you well and are able to do some incredible things.
Now, you might be thinking, “Hey Justin, trust and estate attorneys are great but what about my business? I’m not ready to hang things up just yet.” Well, that’s where your third baseman comes in. Starting at third base on the business owner’s support team is the business attorney. I like them in this role because they will be used often, and they will defend against some of the hardest hits. You need someone who is tough that can stand directly in the path of your biggest legal threats and neutralize them.
Friends, litigation is part of business ownership. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. So, your business attorney needs to be able to stand up to the pressure and take the heat. When the inevitable happens in your business, you’re going to want a business attorney that you can lean on.
From a statistical standpoint, the left fielder handles more fly balls than any other position on the field. It makes sense because most players are right-handed and the natural tendency is to pull the ball to the field behind you. Not only do they field the most fly balls, but they also have to make the quickest—and often the farthest—throws on the field. With that in mind, I feel that the Certified Value Growth Advisor (CVGA) is best suited for this position. They always have your back and they have the unique skill set that’s needed to turn an “OK” play into something spectacular. A great CVGA can take the value of your business from run-of-the-mill to highlight-reel material.
The center fielder covers a lot of ground. Likewise, exit planners cover the ground between where you are and where you want to eventually be. There isn’t a business owner alive that, at some point, doesn’t plan to exit their business. Without the services of an exit planner, there will be a lot of missteps in the planning and preparation for that exit. In baseball terms, trying to conduct your own exit planning is likely to create a lot of unforced errors. The reason for this is that the majority of business owners aren’t equipped to take an illiquid asset and turn it into a liquid one on their own.
The final spot in the business owner’s support team is the right fielder. Now, this is an interesting position because it doesn’t necessarily see as much action as the left fielder but plays that go to the right-field usually require incredible skill and talent to handle. The right fielder typically has a cannon for an arm and makes throws from deep in the outfield to second or third base, and sometimes, even home plate to make the out. So who fits this role in the business owner’s support team?
I have to say that it’s an outsourced CFO. The reason is this, they can clean up the owner’s books and help them to make truly data-driven decisions. Although they might not be as heavily involved, they provide heavy firepower from deep in the outfield.
There is always going to be a cost associated with professionals and achieving success. However, many business owners think they can do it on their own and save money. Well, sure, you could do it on your own. But chances are, you’re not going to do it as well as the professionals, partly because of the difference in training and experience, and partly because you’re going to be stretched too thin.
A great analogy for this is this: If you were to hire someone to mow your lawn and it took them one hour to complete the job at $100 per hour, you have just spent $100. However, you’re thinking, “I could just do this on my own and save $100.” As a business owner, let’s say your time is worth $500 per hour. So, if you’re time is worth $500 each hour, then you haven’t saved $100 by mowing your own lawn. Instead, you’ve lost $400 because you could have spent that hour making money in your business.
Not only does going it alone, cost you more time and money, but it prevents you from helping other small business owners to achieve success. If my kids see me trying to do the work of an entire team just to save a few bucks, they’re not likely to want to go out and start their own businesses when they grow up, because they see me working feverishly and never getting to enjoy the life that owning my own business truly affords me. These are things that must be taken into consideration when you’re thinking about the cost of having a support team. The question shouldn’t be whether you can afford it, but rather can you afford not to have it?
So, what keeps us going? It’s the fans! Can you imagine what it must be like when the pitcher gets the final strikeout to win the game and hears the roar of the fans in the stadium? I mean, it has to be an incredible sensation. But you know what? As business owners, we are surrounded by fans every single day. It may not be expressed in the same way as it is in a stadium, but we have many fans. They are our friends, our families, and our clients. Every day, they’re rooting us on and celebrating our successes.
So which scenario is more exciting to you? The one where you’re doing it all on your own, you’re tired, frustrated, and lonely or the one where you’re surrounded by people who are eager to see you succeed? I know which one I would choose. Friends, life is hard. Business can be complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. With the right support team, we can make our businesses at least financially simple. Hey, let’s go out and make it a great day!
Need help assembling your own All-Star support team? Contact us to see how we can help your business! The business and financial experts at Financially Simple are ready to speak with you.