Paces Ferry Wealth Advisors, LLC is a registered investment advisor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). This material is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal or tax advice and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney or tax advisor.
Small Business Checklist: How to Assess Your Financial Wellness
A Five-Step Plan for Busy Business Owners
Running your business day to day takes all of your energy and focus. Your waking hours are consumed with managing and sustaining it, and you likely spend many a sleepless night on the details no one else thinks about. This is the life of a committed small business owner.
When you’re grinding day after day to keep your business well-positioned, however, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Specifically, it becomes difficult for many small business owners to find the time to monitor the overall health of their business in a meaningful way. The five-step guide below is designed to help you focus on five key elements of your business’ financial health.
- Revisit Your Legal Structure
In the early years of your business, you may have chosen to operate as a sole proprietorship or a simple partnership. These are common decisions for new business owners, but these structures may no longer serve you as your business grows and your needs evolve. It may be that you need a more formal business structure now, such as an LLC, a corporation, or certain partnerships. These structures are useful in protecting your assets from creditors, and they may also make your business more attractive to potential lenders, in the event you need financing in order to grow.
- Optimize Employee Retention
Competition is inherent in the business, and it’s essential that you remain a competitive employer if you want to retain your employees over the long-term. Think about the benefits you’re offering and make sure they’re the right mix. A good health plan, disability benefits, and group life insurance are all valuable to your employees, and benefits like retirement plans and long-term care benefits illustrate that you are committed to them over the long-term. All these things can boost employee morale by letting them know you value them as members of your team, and employees who feel valued are more likely to remain engaged in building your business alongside you. If you have key employees who can make or break the success of your operations, it could prove valuable to offer special benefits for them, too – perhaps a deferred compensation plan or a bonus life insurance plan.
- Review Your Insurance
This is a step you should take regularly, as failing to maintain the proper insurance can prove disastrous for your business. Your needs will change over time, and it is critical that your insurance coverage evolves, too. This is an area in which it can be highly beneficial to work with a financial advisor, as a professional can help you identify any concerning gaps in your coverage to ensure that you and your business remain protected.
- Plan for the End
You may not like to think about it, but there will come a time when you will leave your business, either through choice or necessity. Either way, the planning you do now in the present will determine how your exit plays out in the future. In order to ensure a tax-efficient, smooth transition for your business, you’ll want to have a thoughtful succession plan in place. This might also include a properly funded buy-sell agreement, and having cash available to purchase your shares of the business when you retire.
- Work with a Financial Advisor
Small business owners often have a go-it-alone mentality, but something has to give when you’re juggling all of the demands of the business yourself – not to mention the wants and needs of your family. A professional financial advisor can help you successfully balance the needs of your business with your personal goals. While it might feel uncomfortable at first for those who are unaccustomed to asking for help, small business owners who utilize financial advisors find that they end up having more control over the wealth they’ve worked so hard to earn.
At Paces Ferry, we offer experience and vision to help you guide the future of your small business. We can help you goal-set, create operational plans, and ensure the long-term financial health of your business. If you’re ready to take the next step in keeping your small business healthy, let’s start a conversation today.