Monthly Archives: June 2012




How do we preserve wisdom for future generations?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My good friend and client Gary is an amazing fisherman.  Since retiring, he sends me pictures of great fish he hooks 10-15 miles from my home (picture below).  It doesn’t matter what time of year, he is out trolling and catching trophy fish.  I am often amazed at how Gary and others seem to know just where to go and what flies or lures to use. As a result of years of fishing and networking with other fishermen, he has gained the instinct and knowledge to be in the right spot with the right lure, and he has honed the necessary skills needed to bring the fish to his net.

How can we preserve and share the fishing wisdom that Gary carries around with him?  Anyone can go to a Bass Pro Shop today to buy the best and latest fishing gear, but how do you collect and circulate the accumulated knowledge that fisherman like Gary hoard in their brains?  How do we get Gary and others like him to give you the tools needed to catch the fish of your dreams?

As a wealth manager, our team of experts spends a lot of time focusing on managing, protecting and growing financial assets.  But financial assets can’t be protected long term without also collecting, protecting and disseminating the knowledge, skills, experience, rituals and other intellectual capital being held in entrepreneurs’ brains.  We would do a disservice to clients if we merely helped them with the orderly transfer of wealth to the next generation without also helping them pass a respect for and knowledge of how hard it was to accumulate the wealth.  We might as well be giving their heirs a Cabella’s card and sending them out to fish the rapids of the Colorado River in the spring.  What is the likelihood they will succeed?  Without identifying,  protecting and enhancing the human and intellectual capital within a family, how can a family possibly preserve its financial capital? Every client and family situation is different, so we develop custom procedures for each that will enable clients to define, preserve, and disseminate the combined family history, experiences, rituals and other knowledge that future generations will need to succeed.

I own two fishing rods that I have used to catch a lot of fish in Canada.  I bought them and other gear with my great friend Buzz before my first trip up north.  He didn’t just help me select the proper gear, though.  Before we left and while fishing in Canada, he and others taught me how to fish.  Those rods were useless until friends and mentors shared their experience and knowledge with me.  Years later before going on our first fly fishing trip in Colorado, we went through the same process. He knew that to get me set up with the best and latest gear, without the knowledge of how to use it, would do much more harm than good.  He also knew that to simply hand me his latest catch would offer me no benefit. The joy, fulfillment, and personal satisfaction come from the learning process, development of instinct, emerging skills, and eventual personal success.

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

From InTRAPreneur to Entrepreneur

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Daniel Bullard, PhD, Co-Founder and CEO of Arcanum Alloy Design.  He was gratuitous enough to answer a few questions about his experience as an entrepreneur.

 

Q: Based on your experience, how and when did you become an Entrepreneur?

Some become entrepreneurs early in life.   Drawn to the “game”, kids will set up lemonade stands in their front yards, or get a paper route (that is, they delivered newspapers door to door for those of you two young to remember a paper route).  Whether they knew it or not, they are exchanging risk (loss of real or intangible capital) for opportunity.

Others wait until later in life to make the plunge.  These late stage entrepreneurs often gain experience and knowledge while working for others.  However, at some point, whether by loss of a job or missing out on a promotion, they reject the security provided by working for others and accept the risk associated with smaller, more fluid companies.  These late stage entrepreneurs are often drawn to the game to gain the freedom to practice their chosen craft in a manner of their choosing.

Such was the case with me. I worked for a large manufacturer of steel for 18 years prior to starting out on my own.  I was always looking for ways to get out on my own, but it never seemed like the right time.  Student loans, a mortgage, kids and other responsibilities always made me feel that the time was never right.  However, I continued to believe.  I honed my skills and made the most of every opportunity that came my way.  Then at the ripe old age of 47, I cut loose.

 

Q: Did your experience working for a large company help you become an Entrepreneur?

Looking back, the time I spent working for others actually prepared me for striking out on my own.  In fact, as I reflect, I was actually filling the role of an “intrapreneur” in this large, bureaucratic organization.

In this role, I actually learned and practiced several lessons that have served me well in my new capacity:

  1. Write a business plan for your projects – writing a business plan takes time and it is not easy.  The first plan I wrote was laughable!  I would practice writing plans on my projects at work, and I would present them to local management.
  2. Create an elevator pitch. You should be ready to present your plan to management whenever you get the chance – at lunch or at the golf course.  While not everyone wants to talk business away from work, good managers are always looking for solutions. Remember to practice and refine your pitch.
  3. Expand your own network – internally or externally.  Have lunch with members from other teams once per week.  Get to know what they are working on and what problems they face.  Looking at problems from a different point of view can be very helpful.
  4. Challenge the status quo.  Large companies are built to be stable; however, this can lead to complacency amongst the employees.  Do not accept “this is the way we have always done things” as a reason not to solve a problem.

 

Q: What would you tell someone who is considering becoming an entrepreneur?

Finally, always be selling.  Because first prize may be striking out on your own, but second prize may just well be a set of “steak knives”.  You don’t want to look back on your career and say – “I should have”.

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

Do you know your clients?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Last fall, I taught a Junior Achievement Entrepreneurship class to Valparaiso High School students. The exercise “A Day in the Life of Your Customer” was a great activity that I challenge you to think about in terms of your business and your clientele. At midnight, what are your  customers doing? (I’d be sleeping.) At 8:00am, what do they do? Where do they go at noon? With whom? Why?  Go through each hour of the day and focus on your clients’ activities and routine.  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.  After getting a better understanding of their hypothetical customers’ lives, many of the Valparaiso High students in the class changed their business plans. Many realized that their products or services needed major adaptations.  One student changed her marketing strategy and clientele for cake-pops from a retail storefront to a small business specialty item.

At Scannell Wealth Management, each family I work for has unique financial and non-financial goals and dreams, and I am genuinely fascinated by their lives and their aspirations. All of my clients are in different stages of life with varying family circumstances, and I strive to get a strong grasp of their unique needs. There is no “typical” client in my firm. As our clients’ unbiased advocate, our team provides a wide spectrum of comprehensive wealth management services that is unique to each client.  We spend a great deal of time identifying short-term, long-term, estate, and philanthropic objectives, and we proactively communicate with all of our clients in all phases of the planning and managing process. In essence, we try to walk in their shoes as we gain insight into how we can better serve them. Our most important job is to anticipate their specific needs and potential problems and to present solutions before they know the problem exists.  Communication skills, knowledge of portfolio diversity and products, and insight into clients’ lives are critical.

We have implemented a number of processes aimed at helping me be aware of what my clients want and need.  During our scheduled meetings, I make every effort to identify their changing goals, risks, and planning issues.  In addition, we survey all of our clients once per year to discover what we are doing well and what we could do better.  As clients talk to our team of experts, we try to uncover information that can help them meet their goals.

You need to connect with your clients and you need to appreciate what they do and why. You need to be genuinely interested in where they are now and where they are going.  If you are not passionate about your clients, empathetic with their desires, or not genuinely concerned about  their goals, aspirations, family, and fears, you should reconsider your career path.

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




Scannell Wealth Management Group is registered with HighTower Securities, LLC, member FINRA, MSRB and SIPC, and with HighTower Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor with the SEC. Securities are offered through HighTower Securities, LLC; advisory services are offered through HighTower Advisors, LLC.

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