Build Your Wealth: Best Practices For Business Owners

By Lauren Stone By Lauren Stone | March 21, 2024 | Lifestyle, Sponsored Post,

Atlanta-based J.P. Morgan Wealth Management Wealth Partner Brian Jenkins shares how entrepreneurs can get the most out of working with an advisor.

Atlanta-based J.P. Morgan Wealth Management Wealth Partner Brian Jenkins helps business owners make smart long-term financial decisions.

Owning a business takes grit. From the moment someone decides to start a company to the day they eventually retire, a business owner must work hard to overcome a unique set of obstacles. This passionate entrepreneurial spirit is what initially attracted Atlanta-based J.P. Morgan Wealth Management Wealth Partner Brian Jenkins to the nuanced world of business owners.

“It's that American dream that I love so much,” he says. “It’s someone who starts with an idea, dedicates years of building that into a successful business, and ultimately realizes the fruits of that effort—and that only comes with hard work.”

Jenkins has spent over a decade helping these entrepreneurs navigate various challenges and make financial decisions that align with their personal and business goals. Below, he walks us through what it’s like to own a business in Atlanta and how working with an advisor can be vital for navigating finances.

“When someone is in the early stages of a business, a wealth manager can help with planning ahead,” Jenkins says.

From living in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Europe to working on mergers and acquisitions in California, you’ve seen how businesses operate in a variety of locations. What’s unique about owning a business in Atlanta?

“There is a real family-centric culture amongst business owners in Atlanta. People like to work with people they know and trust—many times early business partners and clients are relatives, friends or people they met from personal referrals. In this environment, you need to be honest, you need to deliver on what you promise and hopefully exceed expectations. If not, you will likely disappoint and it can have a negative ripple effect. Business owners in this area can demonstrate value and grow from organic connections, especially when they’re able to mutually benefit and learn from each other.”

Having worked in financial services for more than 15 years now, at what point in a business’s development do you think an owner should consider working with a wealth manager?

“The earlier, the better. The value that an advisor provides by guiding a business owner with their personal finances in the early years can be equally as important as those discussions one would have in the latter part of a client’s career. When someone is in the early stages of a business, a wealth manager can help with planning ahead. Especially if someone is transitioning from being an employee of a company to becoming their own boss, there might be changes to their financial situation and key decisions to make. For example, he or she will need to think about retirement planning in new ways if they’ve previously been accustomed to contributing to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, maybe even one where the company matches contributions. Having an advisor that can run alongside the owner and grow with them as their business, and potentially their wealth, grows is really important.”

Once they connect with a wealth advisor, why is it so important for business owners to create a long-term plan?

“Business owners need to have a deliberate and methodical plan to build wealth. It’s important that their plan captures the person’s unique goals, time horizon and risk tolerance so they can adjust accordingly when life throws a surprise curveball. Personal and financial goals are so often intertwined, and for an entrepreneur, their business goals play a big role because their net worth is typically tied to the value of the business. Developing a dynamic financial plan that can grow and change as needs and opportunities dictate helps a business owner navigate both short and long-term decisions for every facet of their financial situation.”

You’ve worked with many business owners through those unique challenges that they face. What do you think is the most significant obstacle they must address?

“I think one of the biggest challenges that a business owner faces is having a formal exit strategy plan in place. Questions that often cross their mind are: ‘When should I exit and how? Should I sell my business? Will my kids want to take it over? Should I hire someone to handle the day-to-day operations so I can let go of my daily responsibilities? How do I create a legacy? Do I care about a legacy?’ It really boils down to figuring out the best options for the client’s unique situation, whether to exit all at once or gradually transition, how it fits with their objectives, and what impact it has on their family. An advisor can help give unbiased insights and enable the business owner to make more informed decisions."

"Another challenge entrepreneurs face is succession planning and how to best step away from the company or plan for the unexpected. If something were to happen to them, is someone ready to step in and keep the business running? Does the family know the owner’s wishes for the company and the employees? It can be challenging to properly plan for the unexpected, but it can also be one of the most important decisions to help protect the business and its legacy."

According to Jenkins, business owners in Atlanta like to work with people they know and trust.

When it comes to helping clients decipher how and when to exit, what can succession planning look like?

“It’s important for entrepreneurs to ensure they’ll have enough income after leaving the business, and many owners want to ensure their employees won’t be negatively impacted. Some business owners may consider establishing an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), where they can maintain control of their company and still sell some or all of their privately held shares. This can allow them to reward and motivate their employees with equity in the company while also attracting new talent. Many times, J.P. Morgan Wealth Management is able to assist the business owner while also helping employees with their individual wealth plans.”

“Others might consider selling the business to a third party, taking it public, or transferring it to their family. I encourage clients to make sure their estate plan is in place and help liaise with their accountant, attorneys, business valuation professionals and insurance specialists to make sure all plans are reviewed and in sync so that their full financial picture is considered.”

Along with exit strategy, how can an advisor help clients navigate the unexpected challenges that arise in any business?

“Business owners face many challenges, and good advisors can act like a virtual business partner, bringing in new ideas, with a lens on their personal finances. We help them tackle challenges by drawing on the global resources of J.P. Morgan and taking the time to educate clients on their options. It doesn’t happen all at once—it’s a gradual learning process as we manage the different situations and challenges that arise. There are always new obstacles and opportunities with any business owner, so having somebody to block and tackle for them can be extremely helpful.”

Entrepreneurs face a unique set of challenges, and a wealth advisor can help them navigate from both a personal and business financial perspective.

When you work with business owners, there is obviously a lot of focus on the company’s financials, but how do you help clients balance the needs of the business with their personal financial goals?

“Business owners have dedicated so much of their resources on starting and growing their business, and committing their life to it, that sometimes they overlook important personal planning needs. That's where we, as wealth managers, can bring a great deal of value. We can work with them on their personal balance sheet, long-term planning, goal-based analysis and implementing strategies that can help them navigate obstacles and be successful. In addition to providing a client with the tools and resources they need, we can also help ensure their family’s next generation is equipped to manage their own financial needs. Whether they take over their parent’s business or not, they still need to make sure that they're financially aware and have the right guidance to grow and achieve their own goals for a rewarding and fulfilling life.”


J.P. Morgan Wealth Management financial advisors are dedicated to educating their clients and helping them reach their goals. Throughout our “Build Your Wealth” article series, these advisors will provide valuable insight into ways you can help maximize your financial future.

Learn how to build healthy financial habits, how investing in your passions can pay off, smart ways to give back and best practices when distributing money through multiple generations in the previous articles in this series, with more great content to come.

Take the first step by connecting with an advisor near you at this link.


J.P. Morgan Wealth Management is a business of JPMorgan Chase & Co., which offers investment products and services through J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (JPMS), a registered broker-dealer and investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC. Certain advisory products may be offered through J.P. Morgan Private Wealth Advisors LLC (JPMPWA), a registered investment adviser. Trust and Fiduciary services including custody are offered through JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A (JPMCB) and affiliated trust companies. Insurance products are made available through Chase Insurance Agency, Inc. (CIA), a licensed insurance agency, doing business as Chase Insurance Agency Services, Inc. in Florida. JPMS, CIA, JPMPWA and JPMCB are affiliated companies under the common control of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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