Entrepreneurs face many challenges, and perhaps the most difficult of them all is managing growth. One way to keep pushing forward is through building a cohesive team of professionals and experts that can advise you and protect your business from various pitfalls as it grows. By having them onboard, you’re given the freedom to focus on the big picture: continued growth.
So what does “Washington Crossing the Delaware” have to do with entrepreneurship, growth, and having a strong team?
Let’s go back to Christmas night in 1776 when George Washington and his army pulled off a bold and daring attack against German forces. Washington and his team had to battle difficult conditions as light rain turned into sleet, then snow while they crossed the Delaware River. The attack proved to be even more treacherous as they were forced to navigate around floating chunks of ice in the river. As you can imagine, Washington’s crew was critical to him that night.
Emanuel Leutze recreated this historical event in the famous painting above. Within the work are vivid scenes that help illustrate why entrepreneurs should engage a team of professionals to guide them along their journey.
- The Entrepreneur – Washington stoically looks ahead focusing on the shore off in the distance. He boldly moves forward, ignoring imperfect conditions and obstacles that momentarily impede him. His focus is on the big picture.
- The Defense Team – Washington’s crew members work together actively pushing blocks of ice out of their path while simultaneously propelling the boat forward. The boat is covered on all sides by watchful eyes and strong hands, allowing Washington to focus on the New Jersey shore.
An Entrepreneur’s Defense Team
Much like Washington’s journey across the Delaware, an entrepreneur’s path is often filled with challenges and obstacles. Which makes having a team of dedicated, expert professionals onboard even more crucial to your journey as an entrepreneur. This team can help ensure that:
- You have the time and energy to focus on your business – the big picture; and
- You, your family, your business and your legacy are appropriately planned for and protected.
It is important that the team of professionals you assemble works in conjunction with one another to create a cohesive plan with you at the center.
Key members of your “defense” team should include:
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Business Strategist
- Wealth Management Professional
Entrepreneurs often omit a wealth management professional from their team. However, this type of professional can help provide clarity in a number of areas related to your personal life and business.
- Hierarchy of Wealth – Categorizing financial goals based on their time horizon and ability to take risk.
- Financial Independence Threshold – Understanding what is required for you to live comfortably now, at a future liquidity event, or in retirement.
- Portfolio Diversification – Creating a portfolio that strikes an appropriate balance between risk and safety while moving you towards your financial goals. For many entrepreneurs, the business makes up most of your net worth. Therefore, it’s important to diversify away from the business and not tie up all your wealth in one asset.
- Estate Planning – Working collaboratively with estate planning professionals to create a plan that is flexible and in line with your vision for how your wealth should transfer to future generations.
- Life Insurance – Designing appropriate buy/sell agreements or keyman policies to ensure your business and family are taken care of if the worst were to happen.
As the growth of the business takes precedence, entrepreneurs often neglect their relationship with these specialists. However, the true benefit of this kind of defense team occurs when all of the professionals work in conjunction with one another. A good wealth management team can help to ensure that cohesive framework is in place and it evolves with your business and your needs.
Washington was able to focus on the big picture as he crossed the Delaware River because he was surrounded by the right team. As your business grows and you look towards the future, take care to mobilize your own defense team to protect what’s important to you.
If you’re interested in setting up an appointment with an advisor to build your defense team, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.