For many business owners, business finances and personal wealth are intrinsically linked. Taking care of the company and taking care of the family are two sides of the same coin. And that’s something Truist relationship managers take to heart when crafting solutions for business owners.
Truist Business Lifecycle Advisory takes a truly holistic approach to strategic advisory. Your relationship manager starts by understanding you and your business—then they look at how your business goals intersect with your personal goals.
“Often, a business represents the lion’s share of the net worth of an owner and their family,” says Lee McCrary, head of the business transition planning strategy group at Truist Wealth. “So, if the business owner can’t separate the business and the personal, then we, as strategic advisors, shouldn’t separate the two either.”
It all starts with an integrated team.
Bringing this holistic approach to life means drawing on the experience of our commercial banking experts as well as our personal wealth advisors.
How the process begins depends on who you worked with first. If you’re a Truist Commercial client, your relationship manager may bring in a Truist Wealth advisor along with other resources from teams across Truist. If you started with us as a Truist Wealth client, your Wealth advisor may have been the one to introduce you to your Truist Commercial relationship manager. Either way, the end result is the same: Your Truist advisors from across the bank will work together to ensure you have the right team to fit your professional needs—wherever you are in the business lifecycle.
“We’re very intentional about integrating personal wealth management advice with commercial banking advice,” says McCrary. “As a client, it’s quite empowering to know you have professionals from both areas fully aligned in how they’re working with you, so you can see all the implications.”
Throughout the business lifecycle, your team could include advisors from a range of financial specialties, including:
- Truist Wealth for your personal financial goals
- Corporate Finance for capital restructuring needs as your business grows
- Mergers & Acquisitions to guide you through buying another company or selling your own
- Truist Center for Family Legacy to ensure your family is taken care of during and after a business transition
McCrary notes how this integrated advisory approach can help business owners avoid compartmentalizing their business and personal lives.
“We find that compartmentalizing can lead to suboptimal decision-making,” he says. “We spend a lot of time coaching and helping business owners understand what true wealth advice means to them personally, to their family, and to their business—because they are all so connected.”
Keep sharing your goals as they evolve.
The number one key to staying on track with your personal and business goals? Communication. Throughout your partnership, your relationship manager will continually check in to assess how things are going and what’s important to you. It’s vital to keep sharing your goals—because they will change over time.
“Your personal priorities will likely be very different when you’re at year five in your company versus when you’re at year 25,” says Kelvin Stroupe, head of Wealth Business Advisors at Truist Wealth. “Early on, you might be concerned with affording your home or sending your kids to college. But as you become financially independent, your goals, wishes, and desires will change. Your attention may turn to establishing a lasting legacy, achieving philanthropic goals, or ensuring generational wealth for your children.”
Stroupe suggests regularly asking yourself questions like these to help you redefine and reprioritize your goals:
- Is my company achieving the success I thought it would by this time?
- Am I properly managing all personal and business risks?
- Should I add more members to my leadership team to help my company thrive?
“We want to make sure we’re serving you in a way that, as your company continues to grow and evolve, you and your family are personally prepared for those changing priorities,” says Stroupe.
Meet every stage with a holistic approach.
It’s never too soon to start to protect your wealth and your family’s interests. “That’s why we really like to have conversations with business owners about personal wealth when they’re in the early and growth stages of the business lifecycle, not just when they’re preparing for a transition event,” says Stroupe.
In early-stage businesses, the focus is on turning a dream into a reality—and to fund that, many owners and founders use their own money (or funds from friends and family). Truist advisors can pinpoint strategies to free up working capital and protect your personal credit when much of your own money is tied up in equipment, real estate, and other company holdings.
As your company grows and your personal wealth grows with it, a wealth advisor can help with an investment portfolio. And as your company becomes established, you may want help creating a trust or another vehicle to preserve your legacy.
Finally, if you decide to sell your business, you may benefit from guidance—prior to the transition—to help you prepare for and manage the influx of capital to your personal accounts.
“We strive to help entrepreneurs understand how the strategic decisions they make for their company could impact their family and how the decisions they make for their personal finances could impact long-term strategies for their company.”
Kelvin Stroupe, Head of Wealth Business Advisors, Truist Wealth
Prepare for business transitions well ahead of time.
Business transitions, however, aren’t always planned. And whether it happens intentionally or unintentionally, a business transition can have far-reaching effects—not only on the business owner but also on their family, their employees, and even the community where they operate. That’s why Truist advisors encourage clients to plan for it as early as possible.
“It’s vital for business owners to be prepared for a transition well in advance of when they think they should be,” says Stroupe.
Part of preparing for a transition is understanding what constitutes a transition. It could be a move you’ve planned for years—such as retiring and transferring the business to the next generation. Or it could be the result of an unexpected event—from a sudden death or disability among senior management to an out-of-the-blue offer to buy your company that’s just too good to pass up. Other types of transitions include:
- Merging with or acquiring another company
- Selling a division, a line of business, or a percentage of the company
- Entering a joint venture or alliance
- Bringing in new investors
- Altering the company’s capital structure
- Distributing a dividend to owners
Such disruptions are more common than you think. “Businesses face transitions far more frequently than people realize they do,” says McCrary. “Our data suggests that, on average, there’s a business transition of some kind every five years.”
And often, those transitions are unexpected. In a recent internal survey, Truist asked clients who’d completed a major transaction—selling either the whole business or part of it—if at the beginning of the year they believed they would make that transaction. Nearly 50% said they had no intention of making the transaction that they ultimately did.
This is where having meaningful conversations with a team of advisors can really have an impact. Their advice can help you create a strategy that can help keep your company sustainable in the face of a major change—and protect your personal wealth and family interests at the same time.
Don’t forget about life after transition.
Making time to consider both the business and personal impacts of a transition could also help you avoid some of the negative feelings that can come with it. According to McCrary, third-party research and discussions with Truist clients show that the number one regret business owners have after transition is not spending enough time on personal wealth preparedness.
“You wouldn’t run your company without a vision or mission statement, without an organizational design, without a strategic plan, without a way to attract and retain top employees, without a succession plan,” says David Herritt, head of the Center for Family Legacy at Truist Wealth. “The same planning should apply to your personal wealth.”
Still, he’s seen far too many business owners go through a business transition without bringing in their wealth team until after the sale is complete. Wealth advisors can help owners prepare for a successful life after a business transition by providing advice on topics like redefining your purpose, ensuring future cash flows, and engaging in estate planning, family governance, and legacy planning.
“We strive to help entrepreneurs understand how the strategic decisions they make for their company could impact their family and how the decisions they make for their personal finances could impact long-term strategies for their company,” says Stroupe. “Understanding that intersection and planning for it makes the entire journey of the business lifecycle easier to navigate.”