There is no Plan B – Greg Clinard – Financial Planner Entrepreneur Interview 4 of 53)

by Brian

The excerpt below is from 50 Interviews : Entrepreneurs Thriving in Uncertain Times. Read the entire interview in the 300 page book along with 52 other successful entrepreneurs and emulate to learn, innovate to earn.

Greg Clinard is a partner in the firm Spinnato, Kropatsch, Clinard & Associates which was founded in 1978 by Mark Spinnato. They have two offices in Colorado and are headquartered in Westminster, Colorado. The firm currently employees 25 people in the financial services industry. He left behind a stable $60k/year salary job to embark on this current endeavor. In his prior life Greg was a self employed painting contractor.

Q: What was your initial startup cost?
A: I had a $15,000 buy in.

Q: How long until you had reached a positive cash flow?
A: Just 90 days!

Q: Did you use a business plan?
A: Yes, I did.

Q: Did you morph your original business plan to meet the demands of the market?
A: Yes, definitely, it’s a living document. I spent the majority of time on the marketing aspect of the business plan. Sales of any type is a numbers game – activity generates leads, which creates prospect appointments, which results in sales. Hearing “no” a lot can have either a therapeutic or traumatic effect on someone. I accepted the “no’s” since they meant a “yes” wasn’t far behind.

Q: What is the vision of the company and the community you serve?
A: The community we focus on are those interested in full financial planning and investment management. Our vision is to help our clients afford more time to do the things that are important to them, and to obtain security and peace of mind. Through a ‘Q&A’ with our clients, we take a look at the typical family as you would do to any small business, i.e. assets, liabilities, income, expenses, profit/loss, financial goals, etc. It’s all about helping our clients reach the level of freedom they’ve worked so hard to obtain. The biggest misconception
in our field is that it’s only about the money, it’s really not.

Q: What is the passion that it fills for you personally?
A: The drive to affect positive change in people’s lives. To help them achieve their life goals is very fulfilling.

Q: Where do you see yourself and your company in 10 years?
A: To be in top 10 of financial planners in the area, with over 250 families as clients and managing over $100 million in assets.

Q: What aspects of ownership are the most rewarding and what has been your biggest reward?
A: Creating something from nothing. Within 10 years, I built a $1 million business that I can sell. The freedom of being self-employed allows me to be a better husband and a father.

Q: Are there one or two things you can attribute your success to? Luck, timing, someone who helped you?
A: My former fiancée’s father was an entrepreneur and a positive influence on me. The one thing I always admired was the time he had to do all the things he enjoyed. My college roommate, John, also helped me get to this point in my life. Most of all though, was the idea that there is no Plan B. Having no Plan B in your mind is the only way you will ever truly succeed. It comes down to survival. I once read that some sailors who were stranded at sea in WWII survived because failure was not an option. If they had a family to return home to, their chances of survival were much greater. No Plan B is the idea of not having anything to fall back on. It’s about going “all in” without knowing how you’ll get it back, and not selling your time to an organization. It’s about being compensated for your results without a salary cap.

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Christy Strauch March 15, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Hi Greg,
I’m a business coach. It’s sometimes challenging to convince clients that a business plan isn’t just a good idea, it’s often the difference between failure and success. What made you decide to actually do a business plan, and even more impressive, modify it as circumstances changed?

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