Knowing how to maintain and grow income is an important question given that profit margin is one of the top concerns for entrepreneurs. Even so, should an entrepreneur manage his or her own finances and investments or hire a professional? Niran Iswar not only volunteers as a New Zealand Business Mentor, he also acts as a business coach through the business he co-founded with his brother several years ago. Niran answers top-of-mind questions about whether to seek an outside business coach.
Q: What are the benefits of having a business coach?
There are many benefits of meeting with a coach, but I think the primary value for an entrepreneur or business-owner is support for pursuing the quality of life your family and you want. Goals-based investing, which is measuring success as progress toward well-defined, documented goals in life is a process a coach can help you with, but more importantly, hold you accountable too.
“A good business coach can help a business owner visualize his or her life goals (i.e., fully funding a private education, planning for retirement, saving for a second home), create an actionable financial plan and instil discipline so you can pursue your goals efficiently.”
Q: Can a business coach help my business grow?
A good business coach should result in business growth, even if it’s just purely through having a subjective view that results in better decision making.
“No matter what your goals as a business owner are—whether you want to grow your business, save for retirement, or invest in a new space for your business—a coach should be able to help you create a plan designed to pursue these goals.”
Not all coaches are created equal however, Niran is in the unique position that he is also an accountant, meaning he is able to counsel a business-owner around the unique needs and circumstances of a business: choosing an appropriate retirement plan for current and projected employees, planning relative to variable income, managing tax liability and choosing an appropriate corporate operating structure.
Q: Should business-owners be concerned about saving for retirement or should they focus on improving the value of their businesses?
It’s a bit of a risk but Niran believes one should focus on improving the value of the business, with the view that in the end, this is your retirement fund.
A common practice of business-owners is to plow earnings back into the business for growth instead of, at least partially, to a retirement savings account. Some business-owners believe the proceeds from an eventual sale of their business will be their retirement account. In both of these choices, the business-owner is deferring saving indefinitely or assuming that a sale will happen at a desired purchase price which will support his or her retirement lifestyle.
Q: What should I look for when choosing a business coach?
Experience, credentials and cost are all important considerations in choosing a coach. An business owner should also take the time to conduct research and have conversations with a prospective advisor to make the right decision. One of the most important and under-appreciated factors when evaluating an advisor is whether he or she takes the time to understand you, your circumstances, and your goals. The time you, as a client, invest in determining the best fit should be a two-way street; a good advisor will take the time to get to know you and your family, your business and its nuances, your aspirations and fears and what you want your wealth to achieve in life.
Q: Can an advisor help with deciding whether to sell a business or keep it within the family?
Yes, providing the advisor has estate planning experience and has helped clients through past liquidity events. For most business owners, their businesses are simultaneously their most valuable and illiquid asset. An advisor can play a role in the creation of a succession plan to ensure the right people are in the right seats even before a liquidity event is contemplated. A good advisor also can work closely with an estate planning attorney to maintain business continuity through successors in the family, reduce tax liabilities and assess charitable trusts or life insurance policies to assist with the transfer of a business.