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4 Tips for Successful Succession Planning with Nick Bour, Inspire Wealth: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Aug 01, 2023

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

In this episode, we’re talking how to go about successful succession planning with Nick Bour. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

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Marketing Smarts: 4 Tips for Successful Succession Planning with Nick Bour, Inspire Wealth

Have you thought about how you’re going to approach the later years of your career? It’s an area so many of us don’t have a roadmap for. Successful succession planning means defining the legacy you want to leave, firming up your business and brand to operate independently, putting your talent in a position to grow and prosper, and planning your exit strategy. We’re of course NOT financial advisors, so we welcomed on Nick Bour. He’s the Founder and CEO of Inspire Wealth, a financial company providing wealth building and retirement planning services to residents of Michigan, Ohio, and Massachusetts. This episode covers everything from financial insight to your legacy. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you go about successful succession planning?
  • What defines your legacy?
  • How do you firm up your business and brand to operate independently?
  • What’s Ray Dalio’s approach to succession planning?
  • How do you put your talent in a position to grow and prosper?
  • What does Chick-fil-A get right?
  • How do you plan your exit strategy?
  • What does talent acquisition have to do with succession planning?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you missed anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it.

April Martini 0:29
Welcome to Marketing Smarts!

Anne Candido 0:31
I am Anne Candido.

April Martini 0:32
And I am April Martini. And today, we’re gonna cover a topic that we believe swirls around in a lot of people’s heads throughout their careers, but especially in those later years, without a roadmap on what to go and do about it. And that is this episode, which is four tips for successful succession planning. We work with actually several CEOs that find themselves in this place of the clock’s running, I can feel the time for me to exit is coming. But now what do I go and do and so therefore, the purpose of this episode today,

Anne Candido 1:03
yeah, and while some of you might find yourselves in the position of being a CEO, a lot of us may not be. But this episode is for you as well, because this is all about progression of your career. So in a lot of times, when we progress our career, we leave a place and we go to another place. So when we leave that place, we want to also leave a legacy and plan our succession from that place. So think of it from that context as well. Even though we might be saying CEO, think a bit as you’re a CEO of your own career. Yeah,

April Martini 1:33
I think that’s a great point. And then one final piece here, often we have guests on the show. And today, one of the big pieces we find when we talk to our CEOs and others that comes to play when we talk about succession is a very close tie to the financial side. And by now, all of you know that Anna and I are a lot of things, but we are not financial advisors. So we are bringing Nick Bour of Inspire Wealth to help with the financial side of succession planning, since it’s such a big part of the conversation. So Nick, we’re super happy to have you. Obviously, we become pals, because we’ve been on your podcast as well. But yep, please go ahead and introduce yourself.

Nick Bour 2:09
So I’m Nick Bour. I’m the Founder and CEO of Inspire Wealth, which is a full-service financial planning firm in Michigan. And yeah, no, I’m, I’m ecstatic. I’m excited to be here as well, you know, have you had you guys on on my podcasts and now to be to be able to come on and be a guest on yours? Just super excited.

April Martini 2:29
Awesome. All right. Well, with that, we’ll jump into four tips for successful succession planning. So the first one here is to find the legacy you want to leave. And this can be a really tricky thing to face. And we feel like this is where to the point of the setup, some of these folks get stuck in their own head. And it’s a very emotional place to be. And it requires a lot of introspection and taking a hard look at ourselves. And so certainly this step is the most emotional part of the process, and it kicks off the process. So ideally, people have at least thought about it, even if it feels a little scary. And it’s been in their mind, but if not, that’s okay. And that’s the point of this episode. But what we find is, when people take the time to slow down and do the work here, it will come to light for you. So your legacy will start to show itself. So you know, get over the fear, take some baby steps and do whatever you have to do. And we do have some questions here that we think really helped to frame up this homework, quote, unquote, if you will, and the things like, what do I want people to say about me after I’m gone? Or what do I want to be known for beyond the success of the company are the financial wealth that I’ve built as a result of the company? What do I want to live on in the company after I’m physically not in the place every day? Or even if you’re a virtual, quote, unquote, in the office, right? What do I want to have continued on my behalf when I’m not here to oversee it? Or what does my company fundamentally stand for? Why do people work here? Why do they stay here? These can be the inroad questions for you to start to do some of that introspection that I talked about before. And while this can be some hard work, and some really heavy thinking, what we find is that when people get clear on the legacy they want to leave, the rest of the process starts to unfold a little bit easier. So our recommendation is put it down on paper, socialize it with people, you’re close to get input if you feel like you’re having a hard time really putting your stake in the ground, because only you can decide if it resonates fully with you. So be honest about that with yourself here. And then as I mentioned, we’re going to have Nick talk about the financial side of the legacy and what that ultimately means and how these two things tie closely together to set that legacy up for success.

Nick Bour 4:54
Yeah, you know, APR, I think it’s so important. I think the the first thing as you said the MO Shanell part of this this is this is a hard thing for a lot of owners and even some of the executive team to come up with as far as a admit that they’re approaching that point. That’s, that’s the first emotional thing. You know what I’ve been doing this 30 plus years, or I’m now in my 60s, and I’m starting to think about this. Usually, it’s not only the emotional struggle at this point, but it’s also sometimes having that outside perspective, even from, you know, someone like you guys saying, you know, what? Do you even have a plan in place? Like, these are things you guys should be thinking about? If you haven’t already? So I would say, from an emotional standpoint, definitely important to think about what do I really want my legacy to be? Because if you have a really close knit group, you know, not a ton of employees. So I’ll say 30 employees or less, and they’ve become more like part of the family. I’ve seen scenarios where, you know what, I want to become an ESOP, or an employee stock ownership plan, I want to I want to sell the company, to all the employees, because they mean that much to me, or I want to sell the company to two or three of my key executives. And those are things that can be part of the legacy thought, but it’s also what do you want? Like, like, like you guys, you know, April, you mentioned like, what do you want people to say about me? What, what what matters? What does the company stand for? There’s a lot of emotional, and also strategic thinking that goes into this. And it’s not a quick conversation, it’s not a quick thought process. This is something that could take months, or even years of thinking and planning. But the best thing I could say, is just start, just just start if you’re starting to think about, you know what, I don’t want to get to the point where now I’m ready, I want to retire in a year because you need planning a year is too short. And that’s one of the best advices I can give, just from the financial standpoint is pre plan, make sure you’re thinking about it before you actually say I’m ready. Because usually my experience is when you say you’re ready. It’s already too late to start planning. And I want to say, I don’t want to say it can’t be done. But it’s definitely you’re starting later than you probably should have started planning.

Anne Candido 7:39
Yeah, I think those are all really, really good points. And I know when we start talking legacy, especially to a lot of our folks, or if you’re getting to this stage, it starts becoming a very overwhelming thing, because they kind of look back on their, their life and their career. And they’re like, What have I done? Like, what have I really done? You know, and those, sometimes it can be a very, like you said, an emotional back and forth with themselves. And sometimes that comes into competition with whether or not they should retire or not. Because if they did everything they’re supposed to do or not, or, you know, how are they leaving their companies. And so when you said like, you know, just get started on something, the one thing that we tell people a lot is like, just start telling your story, right? A lot of CEOs or executives or even people who are leaving companies do is they start recording, like almost like an internal podcast of sorts, which is just like a documentary of their stories, their experiences, lessons, they’ve learned, just start just to get that narrative down. Because what that starts doing is one to create a library and with a materials that people could go back and refer to. And if you don’t think people do that, I can guarantee you that that is not the case, because I come from P&G. And we have a very good friend Shane Meeker, who manages the archives, and it’s just filled with them. That’s one of the big things he’s starting to do now is he’s trying to get everybody’s stories recorded for legacy purposes. When you start doing that themes start emerging, and you start to kind of hear where the passion points are in most often than not, the things that start to come out are bar culture related than they are like strategies for business operation, because that’s going to evolve strategies for business operation and what you do here that the environment changes too frequently to really solidify your legacy on that. But it’s more of like the culture things, what kind of culture do you want to have? Or what do you want to continue to to progress once you’re gone? What kind of impact do you want to have, as philanthropy continue to be important? Making sure that’s it if your employees and your talents important, making sure that focus so it starts to becoming like, what is the impact that you want the company to continue to have, even after you’re extricated from it?

April Martini 9:42
Yeah, I think that that is a really good point. And what I will say as these next three we have here are in support of a lot of what we just talked about. So the next one here will take a little bit more of a double click or deep dive into some of the themes that have already come up and that is to firm up your business and brand to operate in dependently. And so we just talked about, and I think it’s such great advice to start recording yourself. And you know, just talking out loud and giving the perspective of you know, the person that’s going to be going away, quote, unquote, because we often see instances where the founder, Owner, CEO is the face of the company. And so then the process of separating this while still maintaining competence, both internally and externally with clients, that everyone understands the plan, how we’re going to get from what the business and brand are today to making sure to maintain whatever that legacy is that we want. The good news here is that the successful company can’t be run single handedly by one individual, right. So Nick said, you know, sometimes you have all 30 people who you really believe are family, and you want them to continue, sometimes it’s a handful, but what this really becomes is building the infrastructure and the steps so that the owner, CEO, whatever can step away. And this requires alignment at all levels, as well as lots of strong communication consistently and on an ongoing basis. Nick, I think your point is so well taken about like, when you raise your hand and you say I’m ready to go, first of all, you’re usually like ready to go like now. But also, even if you’re gonna say I’m going to do it in a year, right, that makes it even more overwhelming and puts that much more pressure. It also requires on the other side of this, though, once we start to see businesses and brands firm this up and start to put these things in place. It’s reliant on the owner, founder, and sometimes with the help of outside resources, like all of us to ensure that their feet are actually held to the fire to go and do that. Because this really becomes easier said than done. I mean, we talked about maybe you were doing this for 30 years, and so much of your life is tied to your company, and so much of your image and your self worth and all of those things, it can be really easy to jump back in for a whole variety of reasons. That’s where I find myself worth, oh, shoot, I see something going, not how I would do it or something goes wrong, which spoiler alert, something will always go wrong. So just get ready for it. But really, it’s about making sure that there is that checks and balances in place. So on one hand, we have the plan to firm things up and we’re heading down that path on the other side, the person who is going to be exiting starts to step away and start that process of exiting. And this is also a really good time to take a critical look at all facets of the business and where optimizations need to be made. where there might be outages. One of the things recently we had with a client was the mission, vision values kind of live within the head of the CEO that needed to come out there for the exercise of things like the recordings and all of that it was like it was so fundamentally tied to him that there had to be the definition outside of him so that people could start to live it and believe in it. Or if you haven’t taken a look at things in a while this is a really good time to do that. I mean, sometimes there’s external factors at play, right? You’re doing so well, because you have this person that everyone follows and relies on. But suddenly a new competitor has entered the marketplace. And you haven’t really paid a lot of attention to that. But this is the impetus for making sure that all of these things are holding together. And they look the way you want them to look and being brave enough to make changes within the plan as you go through as all of this is coming to life, because that’s really the point of the point, right to make sure that the business and the brand are firm in lockstep. And everybody is marching to the quote unquote, orders that they have in the plan that’s been laid. So Nick, thoughts here?

Nick Bour 13:38
Yeah, you know, this is I think this is so important, because I think a lot of us especially close knit, whether it’s a family owned business, or whether it’s just, you know, the smaller business where there’s only 2030 employees where the owner is so involved, you know, I’ve seen scenarios where the owner is their head salesperson as well or is there the head of their marketing team or, you know, and that’s where bringing in outside consultants like you guys, or you know, like other individuals that can help separate the owner from that importance, or that dire connection to the business. Because most business owners because it’s their, it’s their baby more or less. I mean, if they’ve been doing it 20-30 years and they built it, it’s their baby. It’s like another kid to them. And I will say that you guys probably see this way more than I do, but I have seen it so much were having that separation and starting to make that transition over a few years and being in having the owner still be able to see the business still successful still still maintaining or growing. As the owner start Stepping back a little bit, number one, the business does actually going to have more value to it to a potential outside buyer. And because the owner is not the be all end all that, you know, that’s always the biggest concern is a buyer is well, as you step away is the revenue going to drop is the clientele going to start, you know, going away, what’s going to happen there. So if the owner or some of the key executives that are going to be stepping away, if they can start doing this over a 2, 3, 4-year period, before the owner says, I’m ready, and just starts thinking, let’s start planning, that is going to not only maximize value, but that’s also going to show any potential outside buyers, that that business is not completely reliant on that owner, that it can operate and flourish and still grow as the owner is stepping away. And I think that’s, I think that goes back to, you know, what you guys say about firming up your business, making sure that it’s not all just about the owner, that it’s the team, it’s other key employees that are still going to be important even after the owner starts stepping away.

Anne Candido 16:18
Yeah, I think it also makes a difference if that new person coming in to take that place as external, right. So it’s talent acquisition as well, if you’re coming, if you want, if you want to replace your CEO with somebody that is outside of the company, the first thing that those prospects are going to look at is like, so what am I walking into, by walking into something that’s stable, that’s, you know, could operate independently, like we’ve talked about? Or am I walking into a hornet’s nest of these people who are going to be like last without the the head guy or head girl there? Right. So it’s also a strategy for talent acquisition from the CEO level or any any level, frankly, of really having that independence to say, No, we have a solid brand, we have a solid business, we’re looking for the right talent to come in. And that helps to shape that. Now, I also think, though, again, going back to the emotional part, which is, what we see is a lot of times, it just becomes a hard thing for somebody to look at, especially who’s been in that position for a long time and not start to feel a little bit of feelings of if I ever really been needed. Do it. Does anybody really need me and I what we always say is like, that’s the ego talking, right? And it’s not unusual for that to start to kind of percolate at these times when you’re having these kinds of conversations with yourself in conversations with other people. But I always equate it to like what you remember when you were like taking your kids to daycare for the first time and you know, and they said bye bye, mommy, Bye Bye, daddy, I don’t need you. I’m like, I’m gonna go off and part of you is kind of like, oh, they don’t need me, the part of us is like, wait, I mean, there’s a way to avoid all of this, like drama and all this, you know, the sorts of like the crying and holding on to the legs and that sort of thing. So you kind of want people to feel like they don’t need you. That’s good. I think the biggest goal of success here, the biggest KPI of success is when people are like we got it, you know, you can step away, we don’t need you. And I think the person that I’ve seen who’s doing this really, really well right now is Ray Dalio as he’s stepped away for Bridgewater, but he talks about, and I forget the three phases exactly right. But he talked about his life being in three phases, like the first phase being kind of like the proving yourself phase. The second phase was really building the business. And now the third phase is really teaching people about how to go and operate this business without him. And I think that’s a really great mindset of of the stages of life of like what you’re giving back and how people are going to value your your input at this stage, too. So yeah, I think that emotional part is going to continue to play really heavy here. But if we could get through the ego part and it kind of see the value of being people saying, I don’t need you, I think that really helps here.

April Martini 19:02
Yeah, and I think that that leads very nicely. So thank you for the setup. And to the third point, which is put your talent in a position to grow and prosper. So we’ve already talked a lot about how it’s about your people, no matter how many of those people were talking about. Yes, it’s who’s going to take your place? Yes, it’s who can who’s going to lead the charge, but it’s also who are the people that are going to make sure that the work gets done. It’s also you know, making sure that the people that are there right now we’ll be able to work towards success in the future. And then once you answer those questions, and you identify who they are, and then address outages to the point of the previous point, you have to make sure that they know that they’re the people first of all, tell them that you identify them as the people the earlier the better so that they can start to get in the mindset and honestly decide to opt in or out right because it’s also for them to vet as much as it is for you. So more you can start having that conversation early is really good. But then also what is that going to look like? As far as the succession plan goes? How are they going to get from where they are today to whatever new role you want them to be in? And then what is their path to continued success in the future? Not that you can map that out and dictate it, we talk all the time on this show about the fact that you can’t predict what’s going to happen five years from now. So we hate that question. But ultimately, what we’re getting to here is okay, if they’re nominated as the person they opt in, how are they going to get to what you envision is their next step? And then how are they going to continue to feel successful and fulfilled beyond that? This is also something you can do, like we said before, whether you’re the owner or the founder, so I thought an anecdote here would be helpful, because we’ve been talking so much about being the person, right. So at the last agency I was at, I knew that I wanted to leave my legacy on that agency. And I also felt compelled to give back to them, because they had helped me set my path to be able to go and be an entrepreneur, right. So one of the things that we agreed on when I agreed to work there was that they were predominantly in advertising agency at their core, but they wanted to move more into the upstream of the work. And my desire was to help ensure that what was happening at that, you know, upper end strategy brand building, what are the strategic pillars? What do we stand for? What’s our brand character lived all the way through the advertising. And so one of my success criteria was to build their strategy team, when I ultimately decided that that clock had started and that I was not going to stay there forever. And I really had this burning desire to do my own thing. It was all about how do I put the processes and the people and the strategic thought leadership in place so that once I was gone, there were other people there that were going to be able to continue that. And I gave them a pretty long runway, which perhaps was a risk as an employee to say, like, Hey, hi, I’m gonna be leaving, but I ended up sticking around for a couple of months, or two and a half months or so to make sure that that happened. And so my legacy in the point of this point was to make sure that the people that I had nominated to be part of the team both wanted to still do that understood their roles, but also believed that they could do it without me there. So Nick, what are your thoughts here on this one around the talent?

Nick Bour 22:30
I agree with you, April, I think that you know, not only identifying is important, but also having them say yes, accepting and and wanting to do, because I think a lot of us will sometimes just assume, especially as an owner of a business, like, Hey, this is a good business, you can make a really good living, you can impact a lot of people, we just sometimes assume, hey, well, why wouldn’t you want to do this? Well, wait, wait, wait, hold on, everyone’s got different career aspirations and goals and, and different things they want to do, we got to make sure this fits what they want, what they’ve envisioned. And you know, there’s there’s several things from a financial perspective, whether it’s trying to retain some key employees that you that you’re laying out that are going to be part of this, or attracting and and, you know, you guys have probably seen some of this with some of the owners you work with, and some of the other CEOs, but you know, these in my mind, these are what’s called executive benefit plans. So this is putting things in place. So that A, that if you’re going to attract a key employee to be part of this transition team, that this key employees is way to say you’re saying over and above just a normal retirement plan and a match. There’s additional benefits. Yes. And it could be variations, we can talk for hours about because the nice thing that most owners don’t always fully understand and know about plans like this, is they are completely customizable, because they don’t necessarily have to be ERISA compliant, meaning you don’t have to offer it to everyone. You can literally say, Okay, I have two internal employees, and I’m trying to attract one new key person, I want to just offer this executive benefit plan for these three individuals. And that’s it. And those are things that I think, can be looked at, I think, you know, depending on the business as a whole if you’re already offering benefits, looking at, hey, you know, what if your employees are extremely important, because again, it’s a small number, and you want to make sure that the employees know they’re valued and their job is secure, and there’s still potential for growth. Maybe looking at things like you know what we want to offer an additional ancillary benefit, or, you know what we’re currently paying 70% of your group benefits, we want to start paying 75 or 80. Like there’s things like that, that the business can do. Now, I say this, you want to be careful as a business, because when you’re looking at a p&l, when you’re starting to plan to sell, you don’t want to all of a sudden inflate expenses that weren’t there before. Because that’s going to have an impact on the value when you go to sell. That being said, when you’re doing pre planning, and you’re starting to have conversations with the key employees, and with some of the others. That’s, that is, to me, that’s an opportunity to say, You know what, I want everyone to know how much we value you. I want everyone to know that you still have a job because as general employees, I think, first and foremost biggest concern for an employee is my job, okay? And what’s what’s the new management going to look like? Am I going to take a pay cut down, my hours is going to get cut, or the benefits is going to change? And I think to me, the more you can assure what I would say your team is, the better and easier the transition is going to be because it’s going to make everyone feel like this is business as usual. Maybe there’s some things that could get better, but we don’t need to worry about them at this point.

Anne Candido 26:29
Yeah, and I couldn’t agree more, because I think businesses are defined by their people, right? And so the people need to come first in a lot of these discussions. And so how are you going to protect the business and make it independent, and all those things we just we just talked about, is by making sure that the people that talent are retained, no matter what you’re doing, rather, if you’re just going to depart your business and a new executive leader is going to come in whether or not you’re choosing to sell your business, whether or not you’re in your business in a different leadership role. I mean, I can say, when I left P&G, I spent my last several months making sure my people were in position to grow, it was really important to me I was I fast tracked a promotion, I fast tracked a movement out of our my function into another function. Because my whole legacy that I want to leave behind was in the hearts and minds of the people that I manage, I knew I wasn’t going to admit, once I left png Nirbhaya, everybody was gonna be like hanging a poster of and you know, the big hall and P and G. I mean, that was not going to happen. But the way that I could leave my legacy was that from other people to know that I was, hopefully maybe one of the best managers that they had, or that I bought all the kind of manager that they wanted to be. And so what that does is it goes back to one of my original points is that foundationally identify as culture. And that culture has a tendency then to continue to spread in ways that really solidify the quality and the in just the presence of the business and the brand. I mean, we talked about Chick-fil-A all the time, it’s being kind of like the quintessential example of this. And though there was some very specific things that are built in from a principles and values standpoint, like not being open on Sundays, so you could spend time with your family. A lot of what still manifests itself in Chick-fil-A but with S. Truett Cathy being gone, is the way that he treated people, it’s the way that he engaged with his people from the top down. Right. And so that continues to live way beyond him. But because he spent the time with His people.

Nick Bour 28:34
No, I agree. And and just to kind of follow up on one thing you said like that was really important to you and your legacy when you left P&G is, I think it’s more of not only what your people may have aspired to be in a manager, just seeing what you are having the having you as in their mind was the best manager. But it’s also to show them that you’re a person that you care, that it’s more than just the bottom line. And it’s more than just for the company. It’s that you guys all have families, you have lives outside of here. I want to make sure I’m positioning you all for success. And I think that not only stands to show who you are, but I think that also is an example of what type of legacy that an owner wants to leave and why that’s important. And that just ties into what you said.

April Martini 29:29
Yeah, I think that’s very well. So which brings us to our final point here, which is to plan your exit strategy. So you heard us talk about it at the CEO level, all the way down to the examples that Andy and I just gave within different positions we’ve been in in our career. But once you’ve defined the legacy, and you’ve done these other things that we talked about here, you know, optimize the brand and the business, taking a look at the talent make sure people feel like they’re set up for success. You have to plan when and how you’re actually going to depart along Beside all of that, and we believe that there is definitely an art to finding the right time. And there’s also a point of diminishing returns both if you go too fast, and if you go too late. So with each step of the process, you needed to find what role you’ll take, and when you will no longer have a role. So we talked about this a little bit already in the optimization part of, you know, choose when you’re going to step back and step back some more and step back a little more. And then also not reinserting yourself after you’ve done the work to get out of it, all of those types of things. But you really have to reach a level of trust in the process, but then also gut feeling of when you’re needed and not. And that’s why this plan is so important, because it holds your feet to the fire, it builds in some guardrails, it makes sure that there’s objectivity to your personal subjectivity in the situation. And then on the other side of this, you know, we talked at the beginning about like raising my hand and being ready to go right now, the other piece is you don’t have to disappear entirely, right, we have some of these CEOs that we work with, they go on to be chairman of the board for a period of time, there’s others that stay in an advisory role, again, with a plan and a length of time where they stick around for a year or two years or whatever. And again, their visibility and influence starts to back away. And then people start to step forward, and everybody starts to get comfortable with the whole thing. There are still others that will be an ongoing resource for as often as people want to tap them, right. So you can go to them for I need help with this particular initiative, or we’d like your advice on something that’s come up that we didn’t face before within the company, all of this is completely fine. The point here is to make sure that you’re leaving, when it makes sense that there’s a plan to getting there and that everybody is aligned with that. Because without the exit strategy, the full transition may actually never happen, which leaves everybody in a state of uncertainty and flux. And, you know, Nick, you mentioned kind of the whole, everybody’s initial thing is what’s gonna happen to me, right, the worst thing that can happen is, all these big plans are put out there, and then it never actually happens. I mean, I left a company for this very reason where it was set forth and maybe dangled the carrot a little bit that perhaps I could be one of the people to take over. And then it felt like we would take two steps forward, and then four steps back. And we never actually made the progress. And so for me, it was like, Okay, I can’t wait forever, I need to go figure out something else. And I’m gonna go and do because I’m impatient. And I want to move forward. And also, I’m skeptical now that this is actually going to happen. So yeah, onto their neck.

Nick Bour 32:41
Yeah, no, I definitely think it’s it’s definitely important to involve anyone as part of the team that is, is a key piece. And I also think it’s important to start thinking about what is that exit look like? Is it going to happen over two or three years? Is it going to happen over five years? Because as you just said, you know, a minute ago, April, it doesn’t have to happen all at once. I mean, a very common one is starting to pull back some of the day to day responsibilities, and either assigning those to someone internally that can, that is already doing some things like that, but maybe they can handle this, or looking at bringing in an outside talent to fulfill some of the day to day things. Have the owner start stepping back and doing it over six to 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, depending? But then I also think it’s I think there’s a lot of other factors, I think, depending on the industry, you’re in, what does the economy look like? Like you said, timing is everything. I completely agree with that. I mean, I’m not trying to just look at this from a financial planning or wealth management standpoint, but I mean, from an owner standpoint, as well, is now the right time, whether, you know, whether you’re taking a buyout from the company, and taking income, you know, over five years, seven years, whatever it looks like, I mean, it’s it’s very, very common in my experience that, you know, the way most deals are structured is it’s usually done over either a promissory note or the business buying out over several years, because usually, it would hurt the business too much to take that kind of capital out of the out of the company. So there’s a lot of things that go along with that. And, you know, I think this goes both ways. As an owner, it’s always hard to say, well, you know, what, I this is the year or this is this is the month, how do you how do you really know until you get there because a lot of times you can plan for this, but it takes something in life to happen, whether it’s personally or professionally for that owner to actually say, You know what? It’s time. And that’s why leading up to it, it’s so important in the planning. Because as we all can say, for that owner to now say, I’m ready, if you’ve haven’t done planning, okay, you can be ready all you want. But you know what we’re talking two years, three years out to actually do this, right. So you know, and from, from a wealth standpoint, I can’t stress this enough. I have been doing this over two decades. And it is extremely rare that I see an owner or an executives, professional advisor team, communicating. And when I say that I mean, tax or CPA, tax advisor, or CPA, their attorney, their current marketing, and also coach like, like a lot of what you guys do, if there’s someone on the mergers and acquisition side involved, because it’s an outside buyer, or maybe there’s one internal and one outside. It’s making sure that everyone’s communicating, because so many people just automatically think, well, I have four or five, what I would consider key professionals as part of my professional advisory team, until you actually can look at either yourself or have someone else look at you and say, Are they talking like? Or do you actually know, if they’re putting together the most efficient, effective plan for you? And then you get the deer in headlights? Because the owner is like, I don’t know, I don’t think so they’ve never really asked to talk to one another. And it’s like, okay, can someone please explain to me if you are selling a multimillion dollar business, and there’s obviously going to be tax consequences, you know, whether it’s some cap gains, all cap gains, you know, maybe there’s real estate involved, and they’re selling the building as well. Or maybe they’re retaining the building. Those are all things from a wealth management standpoint, that if you’re not working in conjunction with that tax advisor with that legal professional, and that financial planning, or that wealth management advisor, there’s no way it’s optimized for the client, I stress that because that, again, also takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. This is the biggest reason in the beginning, I was so excited to to have this, to have this interview with you guys. Because I feel like you guys see this all the time. And you know, there’s different nuances for every business for every owner, for every management team, to where what is really what’s best for them. And I think the earlier you can start having having that communication and dialogue, the better you’re going to be because waiting too long, it can definitely affect and trying to go too fast, can definitely impact not only from a valuation standpoint, but also from the standpoint of, do you need to go out and get talent? Does your does your key employees, are they ready to they need maybe they need some additional training that you didn’t think about? Those are just things that I think when you’re running a million miles a minute, like we all know, all CEOs and owners are and they’ve got 9 billion things on their, on their mind. Things get overlooked. And that’s where professional teams, you know, like, you guys like what we do, like, you know, a lot of other professional what I would say professional advisors do for their clients is so important.

Anne Candido 38:50
Yeah, I totally agree. I feel like in my 20 years at P&G succession was always dictated by two things. One was the stock price. And whenever the stock price would just hop it because P&G is a promote from within company, for the most part still is Yeah, you’d almost have to lock all the windows up. And keep all those guys are like planning to like leave like off the roof guys and girls, because they would just see their you know, their stock value just like kind of come back down. And so then it’d be like, Well, I’m just going to stay and then you see all the people the younger ranks going, Oh, great, that means we’re not going anywhere for you know, so many more years. So then you get that that cluster in the middle where there’s no movement, which obviously impacts your talent. And then you have people who are they’re sticking around because of what their money is versus really being there because they still feel like they have value to add. Right? So it becomes like a little bit of a cluster all around that and and so the money and being able to appropriately plan is so critically important, but also understanding only how much money you feel like you actually need for the next day. Give your life. So that’s one area that we always saw. The other area was like I would have titled this section, get a hobby. because you spend so much of your time like in your business, as you said, it becomes kind of your identity that you that the thought of like walking away and like, what am I going to do now? What am I doing with my time? I see it all the time in the NFL, it’s been fascinating to watch this a year upon year now we’re seeing what Aaron Rodgers is going to go to the Jets and like, what are you doing? Why,

April Martini 40:29
why why that’s the diminishing returns we talk about right?

Anne Candido 40:33
Tom Brady? It’s like, Dude, you need a hobby. And it’s because I mean, one of the love of the game, but like, what else am I gonna go do if I don’t have this regimen day in and day out? And if this is not what I’m doing for a living that I’ve been doing for years, and years and years, what am I going to do every day. And so there’s no succession planning for what is my next stage of my life. And so I’m making a little bit of a flippin steam about like getting a hobby, but it’s really about finding another passion area and something else that you can put that in that mind space, that energy, those, that the physical activity that you need. That’s not your work. That’s not that business. And so that allows you then to have like something else pulling you in another direction that helps you have the right time to say, Okay, it’s time for me to go. And I my anecdote with my dad, when he decided to leave his career, I was really worried that my dad was going to work until he died. He was an engineer, it was his bill and like, he’s going to work until he dies, until he picked up the side hustle of selling antiques and all these sorts of different things. He decided it was time to retire when his work was getting in the way of him being able to sell his stuff. Yes, like he couldn’t make it to all the different antique shows all the stuff he want to do. And he goes, Yeah, just works getting in the way I’m done. And I was so grateful for that because it gave him an out. Or else I do think he would have worked until he basically like fell over. So I think that’s the other side of planning your exit strategy is making sure you have something to go into, which is not just golf every day, that’ll be fun for like, a couple of weeks. He’s literally literally Yes, literally. So but what else are you going to put your yourself into, and that helps to kind of draw you out, as well as give you something to look forward to. Yeah,

Nick Bour 42:17
this is something that I just in my business have started talking to what I would say, you know, my, my, my growing part of my business, which is like my age demographics, like the, the, the the Gen Xers that are all of a sudden, you know, they’re starting to accumulate wealth, and they’re starting to, they’re starting to realize a lot of different things. And maybe they don’t want to do this career, maybe they don’t want to do maybe they want to become an entrepreneur and they haven’t been like, you know, April, maybe more of your year. What happened with you like, hey, you know, this isn’t kind of going the way it was it was kind of promised or shown it could go. And now I’m starting to think Well, I do want to do something on my own. And I say these things because I’ve started having conversations with these types of clients saying, Listen, you know what, I don’t care what it is now. But let’s get you positioned for what I call the work optional lifestyle, because it’s going to help you find that next passion. Whether it’s volunteering, whether it’s a side hustle, whether it’s something that you just love to do. But you don’t think you can make a living on it now, okay, I’m using. I’m using an example. Maybe you love baking, maybe you love like, you know what, like your dad and he loves selling antiques. Like that’s awesome. My mother in law is she owns a little business that she makes, like handmade cards and like all these, even though she doesn’t make money on that, and she’s joked about it, she’s you know, she goes to different shows, and she’s got her cards or her notebooks in little different, small, independently owned shops. And you know what it keeps her busy, like, like you say, when, when your business have have really been your identity for the last 20-30+ years? In a lot of ways, you’re like, What am I going to do? Like what what is literally going to take up my day. And that’s where, to me, it’s starting to think about what is my passion or what what has kind of grown within me over the last 510 years, what do I really enjoy and starting to think about how that could take up time and you can feel like you’re getting some fulfillment in something else in your wife.

April Martini 44:48
Agree, I think 100% All right. And that brings us to our final segment here which is a brand that may or may not be using their marketing smarts but obviously when we bring a guest On the show, we assume that they are they would not be here. And I think, Nick prove that today with the discussion. But we just like to hand it over to you, Nick, tell people where they can find you put a bow on things, say anything you did, you don’t feel like you got to say just kind of bring us home.

Nick Bour 45:17
You know, and I appreciate that you guys, you know, listen, I think all of us, when I talked to, whether it’s a business owner or an executive, you know what you may feel like things are headed in the right direction, just from an investment perspective. Just my years of doing this, I feel like there’s a lot of clients that feel investment management is the majority of what all financial advisors or financial planners do. And for a lot of us, that’s not true. It’s taking into account health care expenses, and it’s taking into account how do I minimize taxes? How do I make sure I have different buckets structured because maybe I need to access some of my funds before 59 and a half, well, then don’t have all your money in retirement accounts. Those are things like that, that you don’t my part of my objective for how I grow my firm is, I want people to understand that we go well beyond just wealth management, or just investment management. And I would tell anyone, whether you work with an advisor or not, just make sure you’re thinking about things like this, because it’s a lot more than just the investments. So you know, and again, you know, we’re we’re based in Michigan, I’m actually Inspire Wealth is in Brighton, about 30 minutes north of Ann Arbor. But we do a lot of work in Ohio, we do a lot of work in Michigan, and I tell anyone, you know, listen, don’t feel like you’re bothering or there’s obligation. If anyone wants to just have a 15 minute conversation to ask a few questions. I’m always happy and willing, just to help to make sure you can feel like you’re in the right direction. So, you know, best, easiest best way to find us is the website or InspireWealthMi is our YouTube channel, I would say those are good places to start. And I want to say thanks to to Anne and April for, for having me on. And you know, I feel like we’re, we’ve we’ve we’ve we’ve kind of done this before, because you know, had John mine, but I feel like you know, you guys, you’re the type of entrepreneurs and the type of business professionals that I feel like you guys get it. And there’s very few and far between out there as I think we can all we can all admit and agree to. So I just appreciate you guys, and I appreciate what you’re doing. And I want to stay in contact and be able to continue the conversation and continue being a resource for each other.

April Martini 47:58
Awesome. Yeah, well the feeling’s mutual. So just to recap four tips for successful succession planning, number one to find the legacy you want to leave. This is the most emotional part of the process. But it’s really important to do the work here so that you feel like what you’re leaving behind resonates with you. Number two, firm up your business and brand operate independently. Make sure that there’s processes and protocols in place and a roadmap that can be followed, so that the business is squarely where it needs to be. Number three, put your talent in a position to grow and prosper. Our businesses are all about our people. Make sure you’re keeping the ones that you want there and make sure you communicate that they’re part of that inner circle. And finally, number four, plan your exit strategy. Alongside all of this other part of the process. You have to make sure that you’re leaving at the right time and that includes not too late but also not too soon. And with that we will say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts! Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our website: We can help you become a savvier marketer through coaching or training you and your team or doing the work on your behalf. Please also help us grow the podcast by rating and reviewing on your player of choice and sharing with at least one person. Now, go show off your Marketing Smarts!