Life always changes. It’s a given that one day will never be the same as another. Whether you’re working a 9-5 job, settled in the role of small business owner, or wearing down the soles of your shoes as an up-and-coming entrepreneur there is going to be one constant throughout your working lifetime – change. Some changes are good, some you’d rather put out of your mind for as long as possible. But these questions are ones every business owner should take a long look at. It’s an uncomfortable topic to broach for many. What would happen if you were no longer able to work? What could happen to your business? Moreover, what would happen to your family? All the struggle of building a business from the ground up should never be left in the ‘it won’t happen to me’ category. Taking the time to get a few documents together can give you the ultimate safety net.
Lisa McCurdy, managing partner at The Wealth Counselor, LLC, works to make sure that safety net is firmly in place. “I really felt I was drawn to estate planning. I learned that rarely are estate plans established even by some of the most significant business owners and high net worth families. Through a relatively few key documents, the family can really have the peace of mind that they’ve created a legacy and that they’ve appointed those whom they trust to carry out their wishes if they should become incapacitated during their lifetime. For business owners it’s even more critical that you have a succession plan in place and it’s current. Otherwise it can really wreak havoc on your family when you’re no longer here – it leaves your family in dire straits. We all know that a business owners business is usually the key source of income for their family and the key asset of their estate. Planning is just such a critical point and I felt like it was my calling.”
Assisting business owners and others with estate planning is truly important. Finding clients to work with can also happen in a variety of places. Extending a hand to fellow business owners helps build bridges. Services can be exchanged not only with the general public, but also with business peers. Networking can serve to benefit business owners in more ways than one. “I like to be involved in great organizations both in business and community. We know that we like to do business with those whom we know and respect and have built a relationship. Oftentimes you can do that well through serving on boards, being involved with organizations, and giving back to the community.”
The world of asset and estate planning can be overwhelming at first glance. Luckily McCurdy has a few words of advice on estate planning as well as growing your business in general. “Networking in terms of building ones business…it’s not just going to an event and passing out your cards and maybe never hearing from someone. It’s really about building relationships and you can really do that through joining organizations where you have regular and ongoing contact with other business and community leaders – the Rotary Club where you’re able to do good in the community while building relationships and organizations like BNI as well. You’ll recognize that even with your best friends, with whom you may not talk business regularly, every time they mention something about their business or careers it always surprises you. In terms of asset protection – it’s so important for business owners to take the time to do their planning. They should do so for personal planning for their families, but also for their businesses. The two really go hand in hand. You focus on your business, you build your business, you focus on bringing in business partners and investors, and if there’s no exit strategy it can really wreak havoc on your family and your estate. You should also revise and revisit the plan for changes in your circumstances.
Building a business and planning for the future is part of any anyone’s life – even that of an entrepreneur. Being lucky enough to live in an area which promotes a healthy entrepreneurial environment can make getting the assistance you need much, much easier. “Opportunity abounds. There’s opportunity everywhere here. There’s a place for every type of entrepreneur. Whether you’re a new business owner or a seasoned one or you’re looking for a city with a vibrant community of like-minded individuals. I can’t say enough great things about D.C. – I’m completely biased. It’s the best city in the world. I think a lot of other people agree with me. I saw statistics that thousands of people were relocating to the DMV area monthly. So other people must agree.”
Thanks to Lisa McCurdy for this interview. To learn more about business estate planning or how personal estate planning can help you, visit The Wealth Counselor, LLC. For more information on the Rotary Club of Washington, DC, visit their website.