Running a business or being self-employed can present some unique financial challenges. At some point, you might begin to wonder if it makes sense to hire a financial advisor. An advisor can help you create a game plan for managing money while saving you time so you can focus on other things.
If you’re leaning toward getting professional advice, it helps to work with a financial advisor for entrepreneurs.
Do Entrepreneurs Need a Financial Advisor?
Entrepreneurs don’t necessarily need a financial advisor, but there are some compelling reasons to consider hiring one. Depending on where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, an advisor might be able to help you with:
- Developing a plan for maximizing the value of your business.
- Evaluating opportunities for business and personal investment.
- Managing day-to-day financial tasks, such as budgeting or keeping track of expenses.
- Establishing systems for managing business and personal finances.
- Creating a bigger-picture financial strategy that includes retirement planning or college planning.
- Selling the business down the line if you’re ready to move on to another project.
Having a trusted advisor on your team can also allow you to free up time so that you can focus on the tasks that are most important to your business. For instance, instead of debating which exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to add to your portfolio or worrying about which way the market is headed, you can turn your attention to projects that can help your business to scale and grow.
That return of time to you can be invaluable and well worth the typical 1% annual fee advisors often charge. The benefits of working with a financial advisor compound when they’re able to produce a level of returns that’s consistent with your goals and needs.
Can a Financial Advisor Help Me Start a Business?
A financial advisor may not be able to help with certain logistics of starting a business, such as filing articles of incorporation or applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Those are things you’ll usually need to handle yourself. An advisor can, however, offer assistance in other ways that can help you lay a strong foundation for your business.
For instance, say you’re still in the early stages but you’ve drafted a business plan. You could ask your advisor to review it and offer feedback on its strengths and weaknesses. Your advisor may be able to pick out areas that need improvement or help you to fill in the gaps if there are certain aspects of starting the business that you’ve overlooked in the plan.
An advisor can also help you to determine what funding options might be most appropriate if you need capital to start your business. For instance, they can walk you through the pros and cons of bootstrapping your company with personal savings or taking out a 401(k) loan, versus raising funds from angel investors or seeking small business financing.
Remember, many financial advisors for entrepreneurs operate their own firms and have already been through the process of starting a business. They’ve likely experienced some of the challenges that are common to entrepreneurs themselves, so they can offer insight that you might not get elsewhere.
What to Look for In a Financial Advisor
If it’s your first time working with a financial advisor, it’s important to know how to find one that’s suited to your needs and of course, your budget. When you’re specifically interested in finding financial advisors for entrepreneurs and small business owners, you’ll want to ask the right questions.
- What type of entrepreneur or business owner do you typically work with?
- Are your clients primarily entrepreneurs in the startup stage or do you work with more established businesses?
- Do you focus on business owners in a particular industry?
- What kind of business and personal financial planning services do you offer?
- How often do you communicate with clients?
- What are your preferred methods of communication?
- Will we meet in person, over the phone or via video chat?
- Which investing strategy do you favor?
- Will I work with you alone or do you have a team that assists with clients as well?
- How do you structure your fees?
- Are you a fiduciary?
Some of these questions are the same as what you’d ask any other advisor, regardless of whether they cater to entrepreneurs or not. For example, it’s helpful to know upfront whether your advisor is fee-only or fee-based as that can make a significant difference in what you pay.
Fee-only advisors only make money based on the fees they charge their clients. Fee-based advisors can charge fees, but they can also earn commissions when selling products to their clients. The fiduciary distinction also matters as fiduciary advisors are obligated to act in their client’s best interests at all times.
When meeting with advisors, remember to trust your instincts. If an advisor’s personality is off-putting or you feel like they’re only trying to sell you something versus taking a genuine interest in your business, those are potential red flags that you shouldn’t ignore.
How to Find a Financial Advisor for Entrepreneurs
There are numerous ways to find a financial advisor that specializes in working with entrepreneurs. The simplest place to start is by asking other small business owners. If you belong to a local networking group, for instance, you could poll them to ask whom they use for advisory services and whether they’d recommend them.
You can also ask other business owners to share their insights on social media or ask for recommendations from friends and family. Even if their advisor doesn’t specialize in working with entrepreneurs, they might know another advisor who does. You can also ask for recommendations through SCORE if you’re having trouble turning up leads.
Once you’ve got a list of advisors you’re interested in contacting, consider doing a little background research first before contacting them. For example, you can check their website to get a sense of what services they offer and look them up on social media to see how they’re marketing their business. Last but not least, you can use the FINRA Broker Check Tool to find out whether there are any ethical or legal violations on their record.
The Bottom Line
Hiring a financial advisor can make it easier for you to grow your business while also growing wealth. Even if you don’t think you’re ready for an advisor yet, you could still benefit from scheduling a free consultation to make sure you’re on the right track financially. You can speak with one directly to get a better feel for how they’ll be able to help you with your wealth management.
Financial Planning Tips
- If you don’t have an advisor yet, don’t panic. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- In addition to a financial advisor, you might also consider hiring an accountant to help you manage the books for your small business. An accountant can review your income and expenses to maximize every credit and deduction your business is eligible for once it’s time to file your return. They can also help to you keep up with your obligations regarding estimated tax payments.
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