VISION AND TEAMS
Business owners (i.e. the sellers) manage a lot of teams: sales teams, operations teams, PR teams, product teams, boards, school committees, church elders, etc, etc. Most of these teams have very specific goals, targets and objectives that can be measured and tracked.
However, when it comes to their personal advisors: the accountant, the lawyer, the investment manager, the insurance broker, banker (and more!); those advisors typically operate in silos. Each advisor has expertise in their own sector with little information on the other advisors’ plans until the action is done, e.g. taxes filed, insurance bought, estate plan done, trades complete, or even business sold(!).
Why doesn’t this group operate as a team and why should you be wary about a bunch of siloed advisors? Oftentimes, it is because the seller does not have a personal plan to unite these advisors, or is too shy to share it with their advisors (it is often the only thing that business owners are shy about!). In short, he doesn't know what he is going to do after the business!
Why should you be wary of a bunch of individual advisors? You never know when another one is going to show up. And any one of them has the potential to kill the deal if they get the business owner's ear at the wrong time.
It is important to know that in order to operate as a team, the seller's personal advisors must have a common vision and there must be someone to gather them. Maybe it is the owner. Maybe it is one of the advisors. Maybe it is someone new all together, but it must be done. These advisors are the business owner’s personal finance team and the team that is going to help the owner sell the business (or not).
See if you can figure out who is the quarterback of this team or who should be the quarterback. Otherwise, the deal will not happen. Financial advisory for business owners looks different than for non-business owners. The majority of business owner wealth is in a business that at some point must be sold, which is why that small businesses owners don't typically have a good team of advisors. The quarterback of the team is someone who understands the business owner's personal plan.. He knows what comes next. Beware of individual advisors that do not understand the owner's vision or an owner with no vision at all. The deal will either not happen or it will be very sloppy.