It’s Lonely at the Top: Solving for the Unknown as a Business Owner

What is the biggest challenge business owners face?

One of the biggest challenges I’ve seen in my 10+ years of working with business owners and entrepreneurs, is the isolation that comes with owning and operating your own business. This is a sentiment that is felt across businesses at any stage in their evolution.

Typically, business owners feel like they need to have all the answers which makes it difficult for them to prioritize and solve problems on their own. The feelings of isolation are exacerbating, especially for those who operate in the weeds of the business versus staying focused on the strategic vision. However, it’s critical for business owners in a similar state to understand that they don’t need to have all the answers.

As I always remind my clients, you don’t know what you don’t know— and that’s okay.

How can innovation help businesses overcome this challenge?

I think a lot of business owners don’t always recognize what it really means to be innovative. Innovation has less to do with implementing a new technology or launching a new product and more to do with thinking about your business differently. Innovation is about adapting, growing, and separating your business from the competition. With this perspective, business owners are likely more innovative than they think.

Take recruiting new talent for example. This is a major pain point felt by companies across nearly every industry. While focusing on your company’s wellness and benefits offering is one strategy, another innovative approach is to take the time to develop a robust internship program with local colleges and universities in Connecticut. Programs like these can help to build a steady pipeline of young talent for years to come.

Innovation can be difficult to prioritize when you are running a business, but it is a means to increase the value of your business. Another way  to increase the value of your business is focusing on the 4 C’s (capitals): human, structural, customer and social. Getting an outside perspective on these core business elements can ultimately result in a more lucrative business.

What can business owners do to increase the value of their companies?

For every business owner exiting the organization is inevitable. If you only start thinking about your exit strategy from the company when you are ready to leave, then it’s already too late.

That’s the value of working with a professional to create a financial plan that incorporates both your personal and business needs.  When you own a business, usually you are too busy running the actual business to focus on things like retirement or succession planning—and rightly so. Partnering with a financial planner can help business owners identify their long-term goals separate from the business and create a plan to help them achieve these goals. And the sooner you can find the right partner, the better!

How is CTWM helping business owners plan for their future?

As a firm, one of our focal points at Connecticut Wealth Management (CTWM) is financial planning and investment strategies for business owners.

This focus has led to the launch of Momentum for Business Owners℠. This new service offering provides a strategic blueprint that closely ties into your long-term goals, whether they be growing the business, developing a solid business succession plan, or creating a better work-life balance—with the end goal of helping to provide clarity around the intersection of both your personal and business finances.

Our team facilitates reviews of each critical facet of your business: people, customers, operations, structure, and finances. In collaboration with your attorneys, accountants, and other advisors, we help to ensure that you are financially prepared for the future by building a strategic road map with actionable steps to hold you accountable.

My goal as Director of this offering is to help business owners overcome their isolation so that they can continue to be successful—professional and personally.

Article originally published in Hartford Business Journal’s Ask the Expert