Over the years in working with hundreds of business, I’ve learned that the immediate priority is usually what’s right in front of the owner. Rare is the business owner who has the time or expertise essential to complete complex planning. Rare is the business owner that gives proactive attention to a buy-sell agreement or operating agreements to govern the unforeseen – death, disability, dissolution or other changes that could impact their business.
The MassMutual Business Owner Perspectives Study (2011) found that “to be a provider” was one of the top reasons for owning a business. Interestingly, the study found that nearly 80% said they want to be actively involved in all decisions regarding their personal finances… In my experience, however, when the business owner does act it is not in a strategic mode with forethought and planning.
Most businesses of any size need a “coach” or “quarterback” to help call the plays, make sure the right players are on the field and execute strategically in the context of the bigger picture. It is the job of the coach or quarterback to do this for the business owner.
Ironically, as I look back on my career in financial services, banking and trust services, the same theme emerges continually – the importance of quarterbacking your business like with the right trusted advisors. Communication is key. Tools exist to mitigate risk, protect what’s most important to ensure your business well-being.
So, what should the savvy business owner do to act in the best interest of his or her business and family? The answer: Put in place a quarterback or coach charged with calling the plays and executing tactically across multiple strategic imperatives.
Business planning is rarely simple or straightforward. The reality is that the planning function described here is much more complex and detailed. It’s not something you can get from a recipe book. Rather, effective succession planning “takes a village” and a strong, knowledgeable team leader-coach-quarterback to integrate all of the functional disciplines essential to a strong plan.
Marlene A Dattilo is a financial services professional with Financial Architects, a general agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). She specializes in service the closely held business market. In 2013, she was honored as Associate of the Year and Blue Chip Conference Qualifier, an award given annually to a select 4-6% of associates annually.
Marlene is a past Board of Directors member of Mary Cariola Children’s Center and she is also a past co-chair of the Breast Cancer Coalition. Marlene is a member of Society of Financial Service Professionals, an associate member of Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association (RTMA), an active member of the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), a member of Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster, and Charter and Sustaining Member of George Eastman Circle at the University of Rochester.
She is a resident of Webster, NY.
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