You can make all the right money moves to set your business up for success, but sometimes, it may seem hard to do that without the right team behind you. Whether you’re planning a major pivot or just looking to grow, hiring a financial planner or coach can be a great way to support your business on its journey.
But before you get too excited, keep in mind that not all financial planners have the same skill sets. So to keep you guided, here are essential questions to ask before you hire one.
- What are the person’s credentials and financial background?
Since this involves money, it’s highly important to be sure that the person offering professional advice on your finances has been trained and well-experienced in this field. If they don’t have any sufficient knowledge or formal training in finance and wealth management, then you might reconsider.
There are multiple types of financial advisors with special credentials beyond the basics. You may want to look up and choose the one that caters to your needs.
- What are the costs that I must pay?
In addition to paying the advisor, you should understand what other fees exist so that you can choose the right path for you that fits your budget.
As a small business owner, you may need to be more flexible with your budget. However, if you are a large business with a large budget and want to go all-in on coaching, then the fee should be less of an issue for you.
If you are starting out and just getting started with financial planning or coaching for your business, then it’s important to make sure that the person or company providing this service is affordable.
- How does this person get paid?
Fee-only planners are paid directly by the client. They do not receive commissions from product providers and have no incentive to sell certain products over others.
Fee-based planners are paid directly by clients but may also receive commissions from product providers or third parties that can influence their advice. In some cases, fee-based planners might be incentivized to sell certain products to earn additional income for themselves or their firm.
- What’s your investment philosophy?
This is the financial advisor’s overall approach to choosing investments. It will have a huge influence on their advice and recommendations, so it’s good to know if they are able to match yours and your investment style.
This can also establish more trust, and make your relationship easier. It would be difficult if you’ll feel nervous about your money most of the time, which could lead you to panic or bail out.
One way to know if the financial advisor is on the same page as you are is if you ask them what they like to do with their own money.
- What are the goals of your business and what are the steps required to achieve them?
Another important question to ask your financial planner or coach is about your business goals. What do you want the future of your company to look like and how can this planner or coach assist you in achieving your vision?
It’s important to know what kind of support this person will provide, and what kind of progress they expect from working together.
It’s a good idea to discuss what it will take for both parties to feel satisfied with the results at the end of their time working together. Does success mean a certain amount of revenue for you (or for them)? Or does success mean having found a way forward after months (or years) spent trying by trial-and-error?
You might not know exactly what makes someone else happy—but if they’re helping guide your business through some tough times, then everyone involved must know what their mutually agreed upon goal is before starting on this journey together.
Make sure you are hiring a competent, trustworthy financial planner who has the right experience for you.
A general rule of thumb is that if your company needs help with its tax situation, then you should look for a CPA (certified public accountant). If your goal is to grow or scale your business and make it more profitable, then an MBA with strong finance skills would be a good fit. If you’re looking to save some money on taxes and get better control over your personal finances, then maybe it would be better to hire someone with an accounting background instead of an MBA.
When you’re engaged in a relationship that’s not working, it can be difficult to leave—even if the relationship isn’t making you happy. While all relationships are different, and there are no hard-and-fast rules for when to leave, asking yourself these questions will help you make the right decision for your business.
Also, always try to know more and add questions to the list if you’re still not satisfied with the answers you’ve gained. Remember that financial planners and coaches are important people in our lives, so we should take the time to consider all the candidates and choose the one who’s best for us.
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