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Business owners, take time to plan the future

It is fairly obvious that successful business owners must be good at what they do, or they would probably not be successful. But can a small business owner really expect to learn and know how to do all things related to running their company?

In most cases, the business owner is very good at running the business in a fashion that provides significant profits but there may be opportunities to be even better or more effective. Challenges that business owners may face include finding new employees and training them, obtaining financing, offering a retirement plan for their employees and succession planning to name a few.

Unfortunately, many business owners are so busy with the day-to-day business they forget to take time to work on the business and look ahead to plan for six months or two to three 2 -3  years down the road. If they are not working on the business, they may miss potential opportunities or get in such a routine that they become less efficient and lose their competitive advantage.

Many of the areas mentioned above are complicated and ever-changing as federal and state administrations attempt to enact new proposed changes.

Business owners should do what they do best and “Team Up” with experienced partners for the rest.

If an owner is spending too much time trying to hire new associates and train them (and this takes time way from growing the business), they might consider teaming up with an employment agency and let them focus on finding and interviewing applicants to get a qualified group of solid candidates. This way the business owner is not spending time outside of the business and not planning for the future.

Determining if and how to finance an expansion, a new program or an acquisition can be complicated as there could be multiple financing options available. The business owner needs to have a great relationship with two or more financial sources so they get to evaluate various options and aren’t limited to just one solution which may not be the best solution for their current situation.

Incorporating a retirement plan for the associates is a great benefit to offer and can help reduce turnover while also potentially offering the business owner some significant tax advantages. Implementing a retirement plan can be complicated and time-consuming. Teaming up with an experienced retirement plan adviseor who can handle the bulk of the details and make sure all the regulatory requirements are met allows for the business owner to be involved in the process and make the ultimate decisions while they remain focused on running their business to the best of their ability.

As successful business owners near the end of their careers, they need to plan for their exit from the business, either through a sale or some sort ofa succession plan. This process is not a weekend decision. It can take several years to develop the successor or make changes in the company to make it

more valuable. Finding advisors advisers who specialize in these activities can make a big difference in the success of the transition and a major difference in the selling price of the company.

Certainly, there is a cost to “Teaming Up,”, but what might be the cost or benefits lost if you don’t?

Just like most great organizations have a team of associates working together and utilizing the strengths of each member, teaming up with experienced advisors in their field can provide a business owner with solid advice and options to consider. Doing so will allow the owner the ability to remain involved in the decision process without having to learn every intricate detail of the process. By doing this the owner can remain focused on running their business to keep the business successful.

Brian Fields  is a vice president,  Financial financial Advisor advisewith Merrill Lynch in Camp Hill. He has with nearly 20 years of experience in financial services!.

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