MY TWO CENTS:
In our work with business owners, we talk a lot about gaps. Most of the gaps we discuss in owner transition planning revolves around three specific gaps: wealth gap, profit gap, and value gap. Thinking about gaps while considering our MTC topic for this edition brought a few questions to mind.
Are those gaps unique to business owners?
Are there more gaps than just those three?
How do we help people acknowledge, understand, and close those gaps?
So…let’s dig in!
First, I do believe business owners often have unique circumstances that make the definition of those gaps unique to them. There certainly are overlaps in what those gaps mean, but they are typically applied to different pieces of an employee’s life and plan versus a business owner’s life and plan.
One example of this difference is the wealth gap. I’ve been serving people from all walks of life over the last 15+ years and have learned that most people experience the wealth gap. In the business owner world the wealth gap is the amount of financial wealth an owner controls outside of their business as compared to the amount necessary to live their ideal life without owning the business. For non-business owners, that gap is related to the amount of financial wealth they currently control while employed as compared to the amount necessary to live their ideal lives without their job. Similar, but different.
As I thought through question two, I pretty quickly came up with a handful of other gaps that people of all walks and owner/employee status experience. Here are some of those for consideration…with my own definitions:
- Relationship gap: the gap between what we currently experience and a healthy relationship with our spouse, kids, friends, community.
- Behavioral gap: the gap between how we currently behave and what we picture as our “best life” behavior.
- Fitness gap: the gap between our current level of fitness and the fit lifestyle we’d like to live.
- Social media gap: the gap between what we post on social media versus what we’re really experiencing.
- Belief gap: the gap between what we currently think of ourselves and the fullness we could believe of ourselves when we close this gap.
So…what do we do about all of these gaps?
Our first step is to have a transparent acknowledgement that a gap exists. Looking squarely in the mirror, assessing ourselves, and being real about what we see in the world around us is how we can truly acknowledge that gap exists. After that we can begin to understand the cause of the gap, which can lead us to building a plan to narrow the gap. Finally, we can start walking out our plan to close that gap. Simple, right?!?! [sarcasm]
Since the gap wasn’t likely created overnight, we can expect that closing it won’t happen overnight, either. And, since it’s sometimes hard to see clearly through the causes of the gaps or the steps necessary to close the gaps, having an advocate alongside you on the journey can be helpful. We may not be experts on closing all the gaps, but we embrace the opportunity to advocate for those we have the privilege to serve.
Make it a great week…closing gaps
Scott Cousino, CFP®, CEPA®