Monthly Archives: May 2012




Where are they going?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

According to the Orvis Fly Fishing Guide @OrvisFlyFishing.com, trout need water temperatures between 32 and 75 degrees to survive, with the optimum temperature range of 50-68 degrees. That’s about right for me, too.   Trout are cold blooded and can’t regulate their own temperature, so finding the right water temperature is one of their many keys to survival.  Northern Pike seek out oxygenated water of 65 degrees or cooler and often times move to the depths of a lake during the summer as water temperatures warm up.

Last summer in Canada, I learned the hard way that I should care about water temperatures.  Our fishing group traveled to Silsby Lake in August when water temperatures were rising.  The groups before us did well, but we fished for three days with minimal success. One afternoon, determined to find fish, we abandoned our boats and hiked forty minutes to seek fishing adventure at another lake. We had spotted the lake from the float plane (picture below). We found more mosquitoes than fish.  Water temperatures were too warm for the big Trophy Northern to be active.

Knowing the water temperature and other variables affecting fish habitat tell me where and how to search for them. You don’t want to invest the time, money and other resources needed to travel 1,500 miles on 3 flights to be dropped into the wilderness and not catch fish.  By understanding in advance how fish respond to water temperatures and by preparing for all temps, you increase your likelihood of success.

Similarly, in business you need to know what your customers are thinking and where they are going. Last fall, I taught a Junior Achievement Entrepreneurship class to high school students. The exercise “A Day in the Life of Your Customer” was a great activity that I challenge you to think about.  Start at midnight and think about what your model customers are doing. (I’d be sleeping.) What do they do? Where do they go? With whom? Why?  Go through each hour of the day and focus on your ideal clients.  Depending on where they are and what they are doing throughout the day, consider how you can reach them and how they might use your product or service.  Many of the Valparaiso high school students in the class changed their business plans after getting a better understanding of their customers’ lives.  One student changed her marketing strategy and clientele for cake-pops from a retail storefront to a small businesses specialty item.

Please send me a note if you found the exercise “A Day in the Life of Your Customer” useful.

Temperature isn’t the only factor affecting the trout. Trout need plenty of food and a place to hide from predators.  In rivers, they face upstream in spots where they exert minimal energy and use their fins to maneuver toward food as it floats downstream. Knowing this helps me know where to cast my fly.   To catch the personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish you seek, you have to know where your customers are and where they are going.  Doing so will allow you to catch your dream fish and give you control over how you catch it as you choose the rivers, streams or oceans you fish in.

Tim Scannell, CPA, CFPTM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We strive to deliver transparent, proactive, independent, and comprehensive planning and communications to the families we work for”.

Wealth Management, Fly Fishing, Entrepreneurship, Investment Planning, Estate Planning, Tim Scannell, Valparaiso, Hightower Advisors

You have to be willing to lose a few lures

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Many years ago, I traveled to Canada on my first fishing trip.  I was fortunate to have been invited to fish with a group that had been traveling annually to Canada for 30+ years.  It is now a trip that I look forward to every year.  The fishing is usually great, and the company is always the best!

Our regular pattern is to fish for Walleye in the morning until we catch enough for shore lunch.  After lunch and into the evening, we scatter in boats around the lakes in search for a battle with a Trophy Northern Pike.  I remember like it was yesterday, being on the boat the first afternoon with a true master angler, Buzz Gough.  As late afternoon arrived, I wasn’t having much luck while Buzz was catching fish every 3rd or 4th cast.  Between fish, he watched me cast a safe distance from the rocks, weeds, and consequentially, the fish.  Unless a fish jumped into my boat, success wasn’t likely.

Buzz won’t tell you what to do, but he will give you clues.  At one point Buzz said “You have to be willing to lose a few lures”.  (The picture below is Buzz and one of his many Northern from another trip).  It wasn’t until I started casting the lures into the weeds, rocks and other danger areas that I started catching the big Northern.

I’ve met and worked with brilliant people who create brilliant plans, but who won’t take risks when it comes time to do so.  I’ve read many business plans that sound more like strategies to secure the salary, benefits, comfort and welfare of the author.  They want investors to take risk, but they are not willing to take a pay cut.  I worked once with a new business owner who had a great plan and appeared to be able to execute.  Her resume was fantastic.  Unfortunately when it came time to work with customers and ask for business, she wasn’t willing to risk being rejected.  Fragile egos are often a business downfall.

Calling an Entrepreneur a risk taker is referring to much more than just money.  Entrepreneurs put their name on the line every day.  They announce to the world that they are passionate about their customers, product and service.  They publicly proclaim they have a better way and they put their name behind it.  There is no hiding once you open yourself up like that. Successful entrepreneurs are able to execute the plan and take risks that others aren’t willing to imagine.  More importantly, when they lose a few flies, they tie a new one on and keep casting.

Sometimes you have to wade through deep and rapid rivers, go where you are surrounded by biting flies and mosquitoes, or crawl through thick woods just to cast your lure where the fish are.  To catch the personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish are you going after, you have to risk losing a few lures.  Doing so will allow you to catch your dream fish.  More importantly, you will have control over how you catch it, choosing the rivers and streams or oceans you fish in.

What personal, professional, financial or other fish do you pursue?

Tim Scannell, CPA, CFPTM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We strive to deliver transparent, proactive, independent, and comprehensive planning and communications to the families we work for”.

 

Wealth Management, Fly Fishing, Entrepreneurship, Investment Planning, Estate Planning, Tim Scannell, Valparaiso, Hightower Advisors

Find your Incubator

Monday, May 14, 2012

According to Wikipedia, a biology incubator is a device used to grow and maintain microbiological cultures or cell cultures. The incubator is designed to maintain optimal temperature, humidity and other conditions needed for success.  Business incubators are designed to support the successful development of entrepreneurial companies.  By offering an array of support services, business incubators raise the probability of success for entrepreneurs.

I spent three days last week in one of the most powerful incubators I’ve seen in the 26 years I’ve been an advisor.  They don’t call themselves an incubator, but that is what HighTower is to its partner-advisors.  As a startup company itself, in just over 4 years, HighTower has attracted 66 entrepreneur advisors who manage wealth for High Net Worth families, Individuals, foundations, and endowments across the nation.  In addition to supporting the growing number of advisors with state of the art resources, HighTower’s promotion of networking and sharing of ideas between advisors makes it unique and the incubation that much stronger.  I have the most amazing partners and we are growing in the most supporting and encouraging biosphere that you can possible imagine.

Each time before I’ve traveled to Canada to go fishing, our group meets a few times to prepare for the trip (I swear we do actually plan at the meetings :) .  While in Canada, the group spends a lot of time sharing ideas, successes, failures, and strategies.  The sharing of ideas before, during and even after the trip is what makes the trip more successful and enjoyable. As a result of our collaboration, we all catch more fish and have more fun.

You can go fishing in the wide open miles of Canadian lakes by yourself, with the best tools and resources and catch fish.  I believe we have a higher probability of success collaborating together and choosing good guides; and I know we have more fun.  The people you journey with make it so much more enjoyable.  Years ago, on my first trip to Canada, I caught a Trophy Northern only because of the support of my morning boat partner.  We typically fish for Walleye in the morning, so I didn’t bring out my Northern lures that morning.  Fortunately, the boat partner I hooked up with did and using his Johnson Silver Spoon I landed a trophy fish.

For three days last week, successful entrepreneurs from around the country shared client-focused best practices in the HighTower incubator.  As I return to meet with my clients, I’m coming back with more tools that will help me accomplish my mission: To help families achieve their goals and dreams, by offering independent, proactive, comprehensive planning and communications.  I couldn’t deliver on that promise without the resources, collaboration and Incubation HighTower gives me. My clients will probably never meet the HighTower partners and support people, but they benefit from them every day.

Find your incubator and you will control the fish you catch and the rivers, streams, lakes or oceans you fish in.

What personal, professional, financial or other fish do you pursue?

Tim Scannell, CPA, CFPTM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We strive to deliver transparent, proactive, independent, and comprehensive planning and communications to the families we work for”.

Wealth Management, Fly Fishing, Entrepreneurship, Investment Planning, Estate Planning, Tim Scannell, Valparaiso, Hightower Advisors

997918-2012.05


Are you thinking like an entrepreneur?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I am contacted weekly by existing and prospective entrepreneurs wanting to talk about their existing business or a new venture idea.  As a result, I have seen hundreds of business plans over my 28 year advising career. Some read like novels while others can fit on a used restaurant napkin (moist towelettes are not recommended).  You can typically see the strengths and weaknesses of the author by reading the plan.  I’ve read plans that are so technical, my eyes glaze over mid-page one, while other plans seem to focus only on the writer’s fuzzy personal needs and wants.

My advising of business owners has taught me that a good plan entails a collaborative effort by the management team.  The plan covers customer, market, product, competition, accounting, distribution, finance and other areas, so skilled people with different types of expertise are needed to create a successful plan. If you don’t have all the needed skills on your team, you need to reach out to experts for help.  I’m a recovering CPA, so my bias is to focus on the numbers. When I see a good idea, I will contact experts I trust for the specific research I need.  The process is like group project you did in school, except in this case hopefully everyone contributes.

Most business plans lack up-front legal planning.  Selection of a business entity, protection of intellectual capital, and a legal approach to raising capital are just a few examples of necessary legal advice. In 1997, I was in a meeting with Barb Young, one of the smartest business persons I know. In a two hour meeting covering many issues, as someone was balking at hiring an attorney to review a plan, she made the comment “….legal fees in the planning stage of any venture are a good investment that will typically save you from spending tenfold in fees later”.  I considered it a “speculative” investment and ignored that advice years later and paid dearly for it.  I never ignore Barb’s advice anymore.

I recommend a great Entrepreneur legal blog by Scott Walker (www.walkercorporatelaw.com).  I am not affiliated with or promoting his site; I am just passing along what I think is a great resource.  As I signed up for their newsletter, I received a very useful eBook “The Startup Law Playbook” containing a great checklist of things to consider when creating your business plan.  When I review a plan that addresses legal planning, I know that the author is serious about business and how to protect value and investors.

Last summer, while fishing in the middle of Silsby Lake in Northern Canada, my group saw Walleye feeding on top of the water as mature nymphs swam to the surface.  We hadn’t anticipated this, so we didn’t have any flies that the Walleye wanted.  We cast with dry flies, then tried sinking flies and even tried casting beef-jerky (how can anything resist beef-jerky?). 1,000 miles from the nearest Cabella’s, and we could only watch as Walleye gorged, but not on what we had to offer.  Spending an extra $20 for a few flies before we left for Canada would have put us in fish heaven.  Attorneys are paid to anticipate opportunities and problems; they recommend the right flies to bring on your venture.

Protect your ideas and your investors, and you will control the fish you catch and the rivers, streams, lakes or oceans you fish in.

What personal, professional, financial or other fish do you pursue?

Tim Scannell, CPA, CFPTM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We strive to deliver transparent, proactive, independent, and comprehensive planning and communications to the families we work for”.

Wealth Management, Fly Fishing, Entrepreneurship, Investment Planning, Estate Planning, Tim Scannell, Valparaiso, Hightower Advisors

 





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