According to Pew Research Center, 16 million Americans are self-employed. When you include those that are self-employed and those individuals that work for them, this accounts for 30% of the workforce.

Solo entrepreneurs face challenges that many other workers don't, most notably the fact that they don't have a company that automatically offers retirement savings. If you are an independent entrepreneur, you have to come up with your own plan.

Key Takeaways

  • Solo entrepreneurs face challenges that many other workers don't.
  • Even if a small business owner has made necessary plans for the future, it would be difficult for that small business owner to invest strategically for the near future when they have to deal with so many other decisions.
  • A financial advisor can help small business owners come up with a formal plan for transferring their business to a new owner when approaching retirement.

Even if a small business owner has made necessary plans for the future, it would be difficult for that small business owner to invest strategically for the near future when they have to deal with personnel decisions, capital allocation, how to grow sales, how to cut costs, and constantly putting out fires. For this reason, it can be especially advantageous for small business owners to consult the services of a financial advisor.

Most small business owners want their business, their future, and their children’s future to be in their control. This is understandable, but if all that time and energy is being put into the business, then who’s going to keep a sharp eye on personal finances? A small business owner isn’t going to have time to see if the U.S. Dollar is appreciating or depreciating and how it might impact their Apple Inc. (AAPL) investment for the current quarter. They also don’t have time to dig into 10-Qs and 10-Ks, follow interest rate moves, read Federal Reserve statements, and track foreign exchange movements.

Furthermore, a financial advisor can help small business owners come up with a formal plan for transferring their business to a new owner when approaching retirement.

In short, a savvy small business owner knows that delegation to the right party saves time and is fiscally rewarding. Therefore, that small business owner will strongly consider hiring a financial advisor. However, that’s just the first step. Now that small business owner needs to figure out which financial advisor to hire.

The Most Important Factor 

Securian Financial Group conducted a study on what people felt were the most important factors when selecting a financial advisor. In a word, the most important factor was the ability of a financial advisor to build a trusting relationship with their client. To break that down, considering the following statistics, in regards to their relative importance to those interviewed:

  • Knows my needs: 27%
  • Respect/know brand/company they work for: 26%
  • Easy to talk with: 26%
  • Colleague recommendation: 23%
  • Friend/family recommendation: 23%
  • Existing personal relationship: 22%

Now take a look at the rest of the list and notice that none of these factors relate to the relationship between the client and their financial advisor:

  • Cost of services: 21%
  • Bank or accountant recommendation: 14%
  • Expertise in a specific industry: 12%
  • Could identify with small business owner: 12%
  • Specific product offering: 9%
  • Convenient location: 7%

Questions to Ask

Knowing that a good relationship is the most important factor for long-term success is important, but it doesn’t simplify the process of hiring a financial advisor. In order to do that, ask the following questions:

1. Are you commission-based or fee-based?

You’re looking for fee-based, which means a financial advisor will charge for your time and advice based on a fixed amount or a percentage of assets under management on a quarterly basis. The reason fee-based is often a better option is full transparency. A commission-based financial advisor will make money on financial products sold to you, which leads to a more impersonal relationship.

2. Do you specialize in working with small business owners?

3. Are you a CFP?

A CFP must meet education, examination, experience, and ethics requirements.

4. How can you save me time?

5. What types of advanced technology do you use to keep up with the rest of the industry?

6. How will you offer personalized service?

7. Can you help formulate a business succession plan, including tax, legal, and insurance planning?

8. Do you have any referrals?

After you have all the answers, make sure the candidate is in good standing by checking the CFP Board.

The Bottom Line

Yes, a small business owner needs a financial advisor. By following the tips above, you should increase your odds of finding a financial advisor that’s a good fit for you.