Helping Businesses Plan For the Future

I started Marshall Financial Group primarily as a Financial Advisor, someone who clients could trust with their investments. Over the last 15 years, I’ve grown into the role of President of a full team of advisors and support staff. This means I manage more than just the growth of client investments and financial plans – I also manage how our company grows in order to better serve our clients.

With this in mind, I completed the Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) program. This training program helps financial planners, attorneys, estate planners, and other professionals understand and create value for business owners. As a business owner, I realized I could use these tools both to help my own business and to help our business owner clients. Here are 4 things I learned.

In business, we have to think about the future.

As business owners, we’re often thinking about the day-to-day that makes our businesses run because that seems like the most important thing in each moment. But we also need to think about the future.

The CEPA program helps create value for business owners by looking towards the future with a concrete plan. The premise is to help businesses become the best in their class, first through a process of assessment and evaluation, then a 3-to-5-year journey towards becoming a better business or in anticipation of selling the business at maximum value.

The program also made me examine my own role as a business owner. Am I thinking enough about the future and how to grow? The CEPA assessments helped me to see more of a complete approach to this planning process.

Thinking about growth is more than numbers.

I’m a numbers guy – it’s one of the reasons why I love being a financial advisor. But in the CEPA program, it was interesting to look at factors in a business that are not financial in nature but can bring value, for example, employee tenure and client relationships. Thinking about growth and success holistically made me appreciate the company culture that we’ve developed at Marshall Financial Group.

Learning to help our clients.

One of the reasons that I obtained this certification is to not only help our firm but also help our business owner clients to evaluate strengths and weaknesses and then work towards becoming best in class.

If I can help clients by bringing them insights on planning and growth, that takes our business relationship to the next level. Our firm works with a number of business owners, including in real estate, construction, and private medical practices. One of the topics that interests me in general is business growth. I know that through what I’ve learned in the CEPA program, I will be better positioned to help our business owner clients with their issues and concerns. Hopefully, what I’ve learned can help make their businesses better and help them answer questions such as: How do I sustain this growth? Am I ready to sell my business? What do I do after I sell my business?

Being an owner is bigger than business.

Business owners and entrepreneurs generally put blood, sweat and tears into our work, and while we know that retirement will come, we may wonder – what does retirement really look like? Will we be able to sell our business? Do we have a succession plan in place? (By the way, yes, Marshall Financial Group does have a succession plan in place!)

Throughout the program, the instructors talked about three aspects of business ownership that we should be considering – the business itself, financial planning for the future, and personal goals. Most business owners focus on the day-to-day activities of the business, but sometimes struggle with planning for the future and thinking about their personal goals.

We all put a lot of time into our companies but one day when we retire, what will we do then? What does a day in retirement look like? What kind of legacy do we want to leave? Having those conversations early can help you shape how you grow your business and plan for the future. I look forward to having these types of conversations with you because being a business owner is bigger than the business itself.

The CEPA program was one of the best classes I’ve taken. Even though we had long hours in a class (which I haven’t been used to in a while), the case studies kept me engaged and thinking about my business and our clients’ businesses. Now, I’m excited to be able to put what I’ve learned into practice for all of us.


Marshall Financial Group is a registered investment adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.