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Building an Elite Team of Trusted Advisors: An Entrepreneur's Guide - By Glen Eagle CEO Susan Michel Thumbnail

Building an Elite Team of Trusted Advisors: An Entrepreneur's Guide - By Glen Eagle CEO Susan Michel

Susan Michel, CEO - Building an Elite Team of Trusted Advisors


Article from Enterprising Women Magazine - Building an Elite Team of Trusted Advisors

Building an Elite Team of Trusted Advisors: An Entrepreneur's Guide

Glen Eagle Advisors, LLC, a financial advisory firm headquartered in New Jersey, was founded by CEO Susan Michel. In this article, Susan shares advice about what entrepreneurs should look for when building a team of trusted advisors.

As entrepreneurs, we tend to be driven by a passion for turning our visions into reality. The focus on growing our businesses and running the day-to-day operations can often take priority over other, seemingly less-pressing projects. 

I recently met with a new client who built (and sold) a lucrative business. Although she had all of the pieces in place for her business, she realized she did not have “the right people in the right seats” to handle her new personal goals. She was searching for a team of dedicated experts with the ability and experience to handle her new level of wealth and the intricacies that come with it. Starting to build this groundwork and team while you have the gift of time and the ability to plan ahead can be the greatest peace of mind we can give ourselves. The process is much more difficult when you do not have the bandwidth or are in crisis mode. Ideally, these professional experts should work as a team to help you achieve your financial objectives and goals.

Your Trusted Advisor Team Can Include:

An Estate Lawyer:

  • Helps draft documents and creates an estate plan
  • Designs a legal structure for wealth to be passed to family and to last for multiple generations (testamentary trust or living trust)
  • Helps with tax planning and wealth transfers
  • Creates plans for charitable giving

An Accountant:

  • Conducts a financial analysis 
  • Minimizes tax exposure
  • Determines the best business structure (i.e., sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, partnership) for your situation. Example: separate limited liability companies for investment accounts, real estate, etc.

A Financial Advisor:

  • Serves as a fiduciary, offering advice that is in your best interest, not based on commissions
  • Creates and executes a well-defined financial plan specific to your goals.
  • Coordinates succession planning
  • Provides options for key-person insurance  

A Family Coach/Consultant: 

  • Implements plans, processes, and structures that ensure the continuity of both family financial assets and family relationships
  • Works with you to create a family constitution document
  • Helps design and establish family foundations
  • Facilitates family dynamics, decision-making, and family governance

How to Assemble Your Team: I suggest a three-step approach to finding your key team players. 

  • Evaluate your needs
    • What are your specific goals? 
    • What issues are you trying to address? 
  • Referrals
    • Ask trusted contacts for referrals to qualified advisors
    • Contact professional organizations
  • Check with your local Chamber of Commerce 
    • Interview
    • Schedule meetings to get to know the candidates
  • Ask for references 
    • Assess
    • Trust your intuition
    • Is this person experienced? Do they have a well-defined process? 
    • Is this person a team player? A good communicator? 
    • Will they tell you what you need to know instead of what you want to hear?
    • Do they have a succession plan? Will they be there for your next generation?

As your needs change, it is always wise to adjust your team to meet your individual goals. Lou Holtz once said, “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”

-- Susan Michel is the founder and CEO of Glen Eagle, an award-winning financial services firm based in Kingston, NJ. Offering retirement planning to business owners and wealth management, the Glen Eagle team takes an educational, holistic approach to meet their clients’ long-term goals. Susan is a member of the Enterprising Women Advisory Board and a past recipient of the Enterprising Women of the Year Award.  She was recently named an Enterprising Women “Top 20 in 2020” Award Winner.

Susan Michel, CEO of Glen Eagle