Financial wellness and discipline is one of those topics that never seems to go away during your life. However, for today's high-growth entrepreneur and founder, it is a conversation that is necessary as the foundation of growing a successful business.
You may believe your personal financial wellness is not connected to your business, but nothing can be further from the truth. I am not a certified financial professional, but I have opened several brick-and-mortar operations, in addition to a being a founder of a service-based organization, and leveraging investors to fund a capital-intensive business always comes down to one issue: a personal financial statement to guarantee funding.
So it comes as a surprise when ambitious entrepreneurs contact my office for a bit of guidance and advice on starting a business and I ask them, "Have you checked your personal financial portfolio and credit lately?" There is often a gasp in the conversation that leads to a defensive response.
The question remains : Have you had a personal financial wellness check lately? Before you start your business and go to market with an idea that may require funding to get it started, here are three things to keep in mind.
1. Sit down with a Certified Financial Professional.
Sitting down with a CFP is part of your own due diligence process. It is essential to view your own financial statement before you start shopping around for investors or personally guaranteed loans.
One of the lessons I have learned from my CFP is how to invest in the market, which created more cashflow to invest in my own business. The more "skin in the game" you have, the more investors are likely to fund your ideas if the business model has potential upside.
2. Check your personal credit report .
If you want to buy a house or a car, the lender will check your credit. It is the same vetting process for lenders and investors. Watching an eight-minute segment of Shark Tank might make you believe that if you have a great concept, your personal credit history will not be questioned, but it is simply not true. In fact, there are deals that have not closed after the show because they fell apart during the due diligence period.
As the founder, your financial discipline--or lack thereof--will show up on your personal credit report. You can order your credit report of AnnualCreditReport.com, and I would advise you to sit with an attorney to dispute any inaccuracies listed. Remember, it is not just the FICO score that matters, it is your credit history as well.
3. Get insured.
You may think that insurance has nothing to do with personal finance and wellness, but in fact, it does. There is more to an insurable interest than life, home, and auto. You need insurance for your business and yourself as well. I refer to it as a "continuation clause" in your financial wellness plan, and investors are always pleased to work with founders who are thinking ahead.
I became especially more aware of the value of insurance after the recent passing of my father, who had a thriving business but failed to protect the growth of the company in his legacy plan. Do not take a reactive approach to protecting your business; it will impact your personal financial wellness and the value of your company.