How to Leave the Legacy You Want—Russ Clemmer, President, Legacy Advisory Partners

Have you thought about transitioning out of your business and passing your company down to the next generation? The next generation might be your daughter or your son or it might be the great young leaders at your company. 

Our guest today, is Russ Clemmer, a legacy planning expert. He shares with us his company’s 3-Win Formula to ensure all stakeholders of the business are part of the transition. 

Russ is the President of Legacy Advisory Partners and helps business owners successfully transition out of the business to the next generation of company leaders. Russ has a great background as an investment advisor, company leader, a former school teacher, and now helping owners transition out of their business. . Russ has his MBA, Series 7 and Series 66. 

ABOUT OUR GUEST:

Russ Clemmer is President of Legacy Advisory Partners. Russ is a Registered Representative with Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a broker-dealer member FINRA/SIPC. He joined the firm in 2014 as an investment adviser and leads Legacy’s business consulting services in addition to working closely with David and Marc on retirement plan management.  Previously, Russ served in a private school near Charlotte, NC for eight years as a teacher, administrator, and coach. He also founded and directed the 4-Key Leadership Program for high school students. Legacy provides private, one-on-one financial consultation to members of the Alpharetta Safety Department as a complimentary service. Russ lives in Alpharetta, GA with his wife, Lauren of Atlanta, GA. Russ is a Lowcountry native growing up on Hilton Head Island. Together they have four children, Hobie, Johnny, Caroline, and Beau. Russ and Lauren are members of First Baptist Church Alpharetta. Russ enjoys spending time with his family, Clemson football, and lazy days at the beach.

He is a graduate of Columbia International University (B.A.) and Gardner-Webb University (M.B.A.). He holds a Series 7 (General Securities Representative) and Series 66 (Uniform Combined State Law Examination).

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TRANSCRIPTION:

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:00):

Welcome to the Multiply Your Success podcast, where each week we help growth minded entrepreneurs and franchise leaders take the next step in their expansion journey. I’m your host, Tom DuFore, CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:13):

And as we open today, I’m wondering if you have ever thought about transitioning out of your business and passing your company down to the next generation. And that next generation might be your daughter or your son, or it might even be the next great young leader or leadership team at your company.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:32):

And our guest today is Russ Clemmer and he’s a legacy planning expert. And he shares with us his company’s three win formula to ensure all stakeholders of the business are part of the transition and finding the balance in these three wins. And this one of the reasons I was really excited to have him on.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:52):

Russ is the president of Legacy Advisory Partners and helps business owners successfully transition out of the business and transition the company to the next generation of leaders.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (01:03):

Russ has a great background as an investment advisor, a company leader. He even spent time as a school teacher for a while, and now he helps owners transition out of their business. He has his MBA, series seven and series 66. You’re going to love this conversation with Russ Clemmer.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (01:22):

Great to be here, Tom. Appreciate everything that you guys stand for and what you provide to your audience, the expertise and the knowledge and the skills. And fortunate to be here with you today. Thank you very much. So yeah, my name’s Russ Clemmer.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (01:36):

I’m the president and owner of Legacy Advisory Partners here in Atlanta, Georgia, Metro Atlanta, Georgia. And I say that because I’m not from Atlanta originally. So if you say that and you kind of describe yourself like that, then sometimes there’s people who pay attention and say, “You really from Atlanta?” And no, I’m not from Atlanta.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (01:58):

And we’re right outside of Atlanta, Georgia in a little town called Alpharetta. And we are an advisory firm focusing on serving founders of businesses, preparing them for their pending future exit. But a large part of what we do is getting the next generation of leaders ready to lead and ready to potentially come in as owners to help carry the business onto the next level of success.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (02:28):

Great. Thank you for that introduction, Russ. And this is a great segue because one of the primary reasons I was hoping to have you on the show was to talk about this legacy, this opportunity for the founder or the current owner of the business to transition to that next generation.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (02:49):

So we’ve had folks on our podcast come in and talk about selling the business and exiting out of the business and building and growing. But what if you’re just passing this down to the next generation, or in some form of kind of an ESOP that someone might come in where it’s going to the employees? So talk to us a little bit about that process and what’s all involved with that.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (03:14):

Sure, sure. Yeah. It’s really wrapped up in one word. So if you’re a founder, you kind of birthed this business, and it’s really like another dependent of yours. Your blood, sweat and tears are wrapped up into it. And so when it comes time to acknowledge, right?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (03:33):

And I use the word acknowledge intentionally, when it comes time to acknowledge that you will not own the business forever, you will not lead the business forever, there is an exit, whether you plan for it or not, it will happen at some point, when that acknowledgement occurs, there’s a lot of questions that come to mind.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (03:53):

Financial questions are a big part of it. Right? You want to make sure that there’s a long term win for the shareholder. What am I going to be like? Am I going to be financially independent and set as I exit this business? What does that look like?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (04:07):

Is my life going to be turned upside down because I don’t have the business to cash flow my lifestyle and all these other things going on? So financial is a big part of it. But most often the question is, what’s going to happen to the culture of my company? What’s going to happen to my people?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (04:27):

And so that’s a big part of what we do, walking owners through the understanding of not only do you want somebody that comes in and knows and has an expertise of what you do, not only do you want to make sure that you have your financial pieces taken care of, all the other stakeholders are taken care of when you exit.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (04:46):

But the big question that they have and really that they don’t have a lot of experience in, and most founders don’t, is how do I maintain my culture, how does my culture succeed in and through the next generation of leadership and ownership? So it’s a big area of our focus is to make sure we go through that culture piece with them.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (05:09):

Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing that. And this culture idea, certainly it’s definitely a buzzword in business today and just any business circle. But would you mind talking a little bit about how that’s kind of preserved and how that’s kind of transferred?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (05:32):

Yeah. Yeah. So there’s two different situations. So if a founder has defined their way of doing business, what’s valuable to them in their interpersonal interactions with clients, with vendors, with employees, if they had defined those things and laid those things out clearly and communicated those things clearly to everybody involved, and they have begun to measure engagement around those cultural definitions, then our job is a lot easier.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (06:10):

But if they haven’t, if they haven’t taken the time and it’s all in that person, right? The culture is all in that person, that person is at the center, so the culture is on track because the founder is there to keep it on track, then that’s the opposite of really what we’re looking for.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (06:29):

And we have to go through the effort of saying, “Well, what are the values in your company? I’m not talking about a list of bullet points on a wall you put in the coffee shop. I’m talking about what are the things that you don’t negotiate on?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (06:43):

What does it mean in the community to do business with such and such a company? What does that mean?” And so we help draw out of the person, the founder, right? Whose personality and the way they do things is usually larger than life. We draw that out of them and then put that into something that then can be taken down and defined and taught all the way through the organization.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (07:08):

And so when someone says, “I’m worried about my culture,” typically what they’re saying is, “I’m the life blood of this company and if something happens to me, then even though we have a lot of nice people, we have a lot of people who intend well and they do a lot of great things and we take care of our people, we do these different things, the person who is spearheading that conversation and the reminders and the organizational philosophy is the owner.”

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (07:38):

And so we don’t like anything to be wrapped up in the owner. We don’t like anything wrapped up in the owner. We don’t want the clients and the secret sauce, we don’t want the cultural definition, we don’t want anything to be wrapped up in the owner because that makes the business less valuable to the owner.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (07:57):

Right? There’s discounts all over the place for the owner and founder led business. And then also, we know that the entity is threatened in and of itself, and it could put them on the chopping block for a private equity firm or somebody else who comes in and just takes out all the things that are fluff just to get down to the core service or core product.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (08:21):

And so what we encourage folks when they say, “I’m not sure about my culture,” is to say, you walk them through a process of saying, “Well, let’s define your culture. Let’s get that clear and open and well communicated.” And then it’s got a fighting chance of that baton being passed to a standard bear, right? A flag bear to be able to say, this is how we’re going to do things.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (08:43):

And so if it dies with the founder, it dies. Right? You can’t go get it and take it into the business any other way. You’ve got to do that while the founder is there. And so that’s really probably one of the biggest things. Now we do extensive financial planning with founders because there’s a lot there that they don’t understand also.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (09:03):

But the thing in the back of their mind when they’re sitting there laying in the bed at two o’clock in the morning, they wake up and they say, “What is going, I don’t know. I’m worried about my company. I’m not sure what’s going to happen if I’m not there to lead it.” It’s the money is important, the financials are important, but it’s the people and the culture that they’re really concerned about and that’s what we like to make sure we help them with.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (09:25):

Yeah. Thank you for going over that. And let’s talk a little bit too about this transition to the next generation, this next phase. So I think at least my experience, I should say, in working with predominantly founder-led organizations and helping them grow and franchise their business, at some point, inevitably they’re thinking of an exit strategy. And oftentimes they’re thinking, “I want to pass this down to my son or to my daughter.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (09:52):

I want my kids to be involved or my grandkids to be involved.” And sometimes that idea is great, but the founder, mom or dad is maybe not ready to quote, “Hang it up” or leave the business. Right? So is this done in a phased out approach, is this… How do transitions like this generally happen where the founder’s still around but they’re not maybe making decisions anymore? So it sounds like it could get messy if it’s not done well and so I’d be curious to hear from you on that.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (10:34):

Yeah. Tom, I’m sure you’ve seen it become messy. I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of stories where the founder said, “Well, I need an exit plan and I’m eligible for any number of different ways of doing it.”

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (10:50):

Could be an ESOP, could be an internal family transition, could be a internal third party or some executive that’s able to lead forward, could be private equity, could be limited partner, different ways of taking the chips off the table. Right? That’s kind of the cliche we use of taking chips off the table, all or in part. We ask the question, “What does your life look like beyond owning the company?” Right? In part or in whole.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (11:23):

And they say, “Well, I can’t…” They object to playing golf and moving on. Some of them say, “Yeah, I’m going to go fishing every day. I already got it all planned out.” That’s great. Right?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (11:31):

But if they have in their mind that they’re going to stick around and continue to add value wherever that may be, then what they typically mean is, “I’m going to stick around and keep my thumb, my finger on the pulse.” Right? “I’m going to just kind of be over here in the corner, but I’m the smartest person in the room.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (11:51):

And so I probably will go ahead and freely give advice to all the wrong people whenever I want to, when it’s not really welcome.” And so what we challenge them with is creating a plan and creating an idea of what it would be like to not be what we call the center of the circle. So if you’re the center of the circle you can do anything you want to. Right? You’re leading forward and giving direction to all these different people.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (12:22):

But as we begin to bring you out of the center of the circle, which requires empowering a dynamic leadership team. Right? And having your organizational development or organizational chart sound, right? Put together and sound and well executed, if we begin to take you out of the middle of the circle, you also have to have a plan for what to do with your time. Because I don’t know of a founder, an entrepreneur that isn’t extremely energetic. There’s always something going on.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (12:53):

They’re always looking and thinking and what am I going to do next. And so we want to help them get ready for what that looks like. And there’s different organizations that actually take people who fit this profile through a process to say, what’s on the other side of ownership, what’s on the other side of leadership where I’m working in this business 12 hours a day and making sure that everything’s running right.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (13:22):

And so we walk them through, we require them to go through a process because otherwise we’re going to do a whole bunch of work and it’s going to get turned sideways as soon as that person comes in unexpectedly to a leadership team meeting after they have moved out of, at least that that CEO role or if they’re at all continue to be involved in the business after the transition, is sometimes they get really messy and we want to make sure we avoid that.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (13:52):

Yeah. Yeah. That makes a ton of sense. Well, one of the things that I noticed that you guys do, you have this three wins that you talk about. So I’d love for you to talk about the three wins, if you wouldn’t mind sharing that.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (14:07):

Yeah. Thanks, Tom. So we developed the three wins financial planning model specifically for founders in mind. And so it applies to third generation businesses, it applies to anybody that owns a business, small business, privately held business. But it’s got a lot of touch points for a founder in mind. And so specifically what we talk about is the shareholder win.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (14:30):

What is the shareholder win? What does it mean to be the shareholder of the company and to understand your financial independence, understand your family legacy planning, what’s your legacy look like in and beyond the business? Making sure we’re putting planning together there, making sure state and tax planning is where it needs to be.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (14:51):

And so making sure all the pieces of that shareholder win are well defined and well planned out. And so if we’re talking about an owner who’s looking to exit and they haven’t gone through and defined all of those things, that’s a starting point. But what we also come over and do is make sure that the shareholder win doesn’t suck the life out of the company.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (15:12):

We don’t want the shareholder to sit there and say, “Well, I’ve got to have all of this, well, and the company can’t afford to pay me that or the company’s sale is not going to be enough to…” So part of our job is advising them and helping them define what’s enough and not looking at the company to say, “Well, you’ve got to continue to provide all of this or I can’t sell it because I can’t afford to.”

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (15:34):

Working them through the defined scenario, getting them to the point where they can afford to exit the company and let the entity continue on to bless all of those that are involved in it. And so in that company, when we build a proforma, we build a net income budget to be able to say when the dollar is earned and identified in the pipeline, sales pipeline all the way to the end where it’s cleared of all taxes and other obligations, what do those dollars look like?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (16:04):

So that we can feed it into the shareholder win model and the owner can say, “All right, I see what’s happening. I get what’s happening.” The other win, and depending on the franchise model and depending on the exit strategy of the owner, the other win is the key leader win. And so what we try to do when we try to replicate the owner’s expertise and experience into other leaders within the company, we call those key leaders, anybody that could be an owner but isn’t.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (16:35):

Whether they don’t want to go and accept the risk, whether they are worried about the grass being greener on the other side, jumping and going in with another company, whatever it is, you’ve got talent and skills and you’ve got someone or a team of people who could be owners if they wanted to. They need to participate in that success of the business as if they were an owner, but after the actual owner.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (17:00):

Right? So there’s a proportion that we build into that model where those key leaders are going to, they’re going to benefit from the long term success of the company in a much greater way, not just like the shareholder, but as if they were shareholders. So we model all that out, put all those plans in place, and then we know that everybody that is a part of the success, the high level intentional success of the company, they have an opportunity to win.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (17:30):

Yeah. Thank you. That’s great. I really like that three win model there. Certainly one of our core values is win-win relationships. So we love when there are many wins tied together.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (17:42):

That’s right.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (17:42):

We think it’s great.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (17:42):

That’s right. Yeah. Yeah.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (17:44):

Well…

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (17:45):

And that’s really it, there’s no negotiation. It doesn’t have to be a negotiation.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (17:49):

Right.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (17:49):

What’s it going to take for you to stay? What’s it going to take for me to do this? And so if we can work ahead of time to get the negotiation out of it, then what we’re able to do is be able to set everybody up for success the way that they need to be.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (18:06):

Yeah. Yeah. Well, and when your clients go through this, for someone who’s going to listen into this, is I think this sounds like great planning ideas. Two questions really about time. One is just how long does this process normally take if you were to start doing this kind of thing? And the second one is similar to it, and really, when should you start actually doing it?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (18:34):

Yeah. So I’ve got two easy answers for you on both of those questions. The first one really revolves around the urgency to sell. Right? And so we want to be soon enough to where they have ample time to get all these different details in order.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (18:53):

And for us to be able to put that together in a nice timeframe, it’s 12 months. Right? Because you have to have the life of the business reflected in the planning for at least 12 months plus past history to be able to get a good understanding of what kind of financial model you can actually build. Right? A reasonable and strong financial model.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (19:16):

And then on the personal side, there’s a lot of different things that they need to have in place before they entertain taking the business to market. Whatever kind of market or whatever kind of transition they’re thinking about doing, there are a lot of personal things that they need to have buttoned up that you don’t do after you’ve received your first letter of intent.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (19:36):

Right? You don’t want to do those then. So 12 months is typically a good time for someone to be able to stop and say, “I’m thinking about selling my business, what do I need to know?” Then after that point, they’re ready.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (19:48):

They’re ready and able to go to the market to entertain franchise ideas, to look at ESOP, whatever they could do, and then say, “Does this fit within my personal plan, my personal exit plan?” And if it does, well then that’s a decent opportunity. It’s a worthwhile thing to continue to pursue. Remind me your second question.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:10):

Yeah. The second question was, so it takes about a year, you should plan on your process and kind of getting prepared to be about a year. And then the second question is more tied to when should someone kind of start planning or thinking about…

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (20:27):

That’s right.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:28):

Doing this?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (20:29):

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So Tom, the simple answer is it’s never too early. The simple answer is that it’s never too early. And I don’t want that to be cliche, because that’s what everybody says, so that you’ll hire them now versus waiting five years to hire them to help you do this. So when I mean it’s never too early, what I want to emphasize is the value of the company and the potential cash flows out of the company.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (20:59):

So if you start this process going through the three wins and you don’t have a proforma that shows you from dollar in the pipeline to dollar after tax what that looks like and what it can do, then you’re not able to properly incentivize your talent to help them stay focused and to collaborate at a high level with those around them.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (21:22):

You’re also not able to over here be able to define what are my goals and can I actually achieve any of these goals on the personal side, the shareholder win. And so what we say is, if you’ve got a viable business, right? You’re beyond the point where you’re worried whether you’re going to make it or not, you need to begin go ahead and putting these planning steps in place.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (21:41):

And they will flesh out. You update them at every 12 months, what’s changed, what’s new, what else has happened. And if you’re an entrepreneur, a lot has changed because that’s just what happens to entrepreneurial led business, they change and they flux and they morph into different things.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (22:00):

And so when we sit down, we say, “Hey, if you’ve got a viable business, a going concern that needs planning, then let’s go ahead and fill out an initial version of the three wins model. And then as things change, we can come back and update that model.” And what that gives them is an understanding that if I go and make this strategic change, how does it impact the three wins model?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (22:26):

If I come over here and decide to make this acquisition of this company in this region or territory that I want to expand into, how does it impact the three wins model? So you’re going back and forth to be able to say, I’ve got my goals, I’ve got my plans, I know where I think I need to be, is this just a really neat idea that somehow I got sold on or does it actually help us achieve these things?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (22:52):

And so that’s where I look back and say, yesterday is not too soon because empowered with that information, you can make really, really great decisions for you and yours, all the other stakeholders that depend on you, the key leaders. And eventually you’re growing the value of the business to get to the point where it’s investment grade.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (23:18):

Who doesn’t want an investment grade business that can go to the market at any time you need it to versus going to the market and saying, “Well, I got to make 13 changes to my business that are going to take three and a half years.” Nobody wants to be there. So if you start planning early and make decisions within your business so that it’s not just your thing, right?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (23:42):

And you have all the answers and the secrets, but if you start molding it into an investment grade business, at some point you’re going to take that asset and exit and you want the highest valuation possible. So our three wins model does two things if you start early on, it gives you the best time to accumulate cash from each year’s profitability, setting those cash accumulation goals for the business itself, for the key leaders, for the shareholder win, but also building the valuation.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (24:09):

So we want both to be done in tandem. You don’t want to just build the value and all of a sudden you don’t have any cash, right? Unless you’re a startup. That’s the startup model. But typically if you’ve made it, you’re not in that startup phase anymore. So you really want to be mature about starting early enough to be able to work through that process.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (24:28):

Yeah. Thank you. That’s great. Well, Russ, this is a great time for us to transition to the same four questions we ask every guest before they go. And the first question we ask is, have you had a miss or two in your career and something you learned from it?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (24:43):

Yeah. So I’m sitting there, I am doing an internship, and sometimes you just have stupid decisions you make, and they’re not intentional. They’re just one of those things, the stupid thing you make. So I’m doing an internship and for some weird reason, it ended on a Monday. It ended on a Monday.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (25:10):

And so I’m wrapping up this internship. I leave on a Friday, go out of town, and I don’t come back in town on Monday. So Tom, there was a potential job offer associated with being there on Monday, and I missed it. And it would’ve been a great organization to work with. And so if I look back on some of those, just I was too old to make that mistake.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (25:42):

I had no good reason for that happening. It’s not like I was in the hospital, right? In a coma or anything. It was just one of those things where I sat there and I said, “Dad-gummit, if I had that to do over again…” And it’s really all about, Tom, it’s really all about finishing well. And so I didn’t have on my mind finishing well, and I didn’t have my priorities straight.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (26:07):

I should have stayed in town where I knew I would’ve been there and not forgotten about it. So that’s probably one of those professionally where I look at it and say, “Man, that, if I could just go back and get that, wrap that up.” Whether the job would’ve materialized or not, it’s just one of those things professionally, I wish I had done a better job at finishing well on.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (26:29):

Yeah. Oh, that’s a… Thanks for sharing that story. Well, let’s flip it on the other side. Let’s talk about a make or two and talk about those.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (26:41):

Yeah. So similarly, before I got into investment management in this world of leading Legacy Advisory partners, there was a time where I had a MBA, but I was coaching, I was teaching, and then all the stuff that goes along with that type of job. And I had developed a relationship with my father-in-law, fishing. We’d come into town and hang out. And I didn’t really know what he did.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (27:17):

And I had my MBA just kind of sitting in my back pocket thinking maybe I’ll get into the finance side of education, maybe I’ll go and do something else one day. No plans necessarily to change, but was open to an idea. And I’m sitting there on the boat one day with him, long weekend, we’re in town, hanging out with them and he said, “Russ, you want to come and work in my business?”

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (27:46):

I said, “Well, maybe, I guess. I don’t really know what you do. I knew it was in the investment arena, investment advisory arena.” And he said, “Well, we don’t have to worry about that. We can get you coached up in what we do.” He said, “You want to come and if you like it and you’re successful at it, then maybe you take it over for me one day.”

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (28:13):

And so that was actually my first experience sitting there saying, all right. Well, out of the blue, you have a friendship with someone and out of the blue a job offer comes. And I showed up for that. It was a Wednesday. I showed up for that. But there was one of those where you pursue things, and the reason I call it a make was you pursue things in a sincere and transparent and open perspective and sometimes things just work out.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (28:57):

And I think anybody that’s had an opportunity come their way that they missed on, and then another opportunity came their way that they were able to make good on you, see the difference. And so I had worked really hard to conjure up that other opportunity and to build that internship and opportunity.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (29:21):

And then I go and lay an egg. And then this one was great solid relationship, a whole world of information I had to learn drinking out fire hose, but it was one of those where you had a piece about it and I looked at it. And so here I am today leading and owning a investment advisory firm and enjoying every minute of it.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (29:43):

Wow, what a great story. What a great story. Well, let’s talk about a multiplier that you maybe used to grow yourself personally or maybe professionally.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (29:54):

Yeah. So this one, there’s a lot of different things that I thought through when asking, looking at that question. The number one thing that I would say has impacted my ability to lead well and to be prepared and to take good care of my clients and to be effective in my family in other areas of my life is got to be my 5:00 AM alarm.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (30:29):

And I know that sounds a little bit silly, but my life before I began that practice, that habit, routine, was sometimes I wake up at 7:30, sometimes I wake up at 5:30, sometimes I’d wake up at 6:30, sometimes I’d… And I’d never had a routine.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (30:50):

My entire life, I never had a routine where I was up every day at the same time. And so my routine, having that opportunity, and when I started doing that, it was just one of those multiple of confirmations. Because I talked with somebody that I really admired and I wouldn’t ask, but they would talk about getting up early in the morning, their routine, what they do.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (31:19):

And everybody that I admired had something where they were steady and consistent in at least that part of their life. Right? They may be running a million different directions, doing a million different awesome things, right? And they got all the support and people and teams and all that other stuff to make that happen.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (31:36):

But they themselves, waking up in the morning early, having a consistent routine. And everybody’s routine can be different, but mine’s a cup of coffee, the Bible, another leadership book or some other concept book that I’m learning from. And then being able to say, “All right, here’s my day. What am I going to execute?”

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (31:55):

Making sure that I’m in line with what my responsibilities are. And then, well, I’ve got four kids, so then by that time all the kids starts filling out the rooms and making a whole bunch of ruckus. But that gives me the opportunity to do that.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (32:08):

And so there’s a lot of other things that I’ve done to help with my organization, to help multiply my success. But that’s got to be the one that I would try to pinpoint that anybody can do, not just someone who is outgoing, not just someone who is really organized, not someone who is, anybody can wake up every morning at 5:00 AM.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (32:32):

Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. And well, Russ, the final question we ask every guest is, what does success mean to you?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (32:41):

Yeah. So I don’t want to be too much of a curve ball here, but I’m a Christian, I follow Jesus. And so when I look at success, there’s something called the Westminster Confession of Faith and this, a laundry list of belief statements. And the first one is the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (33:10):

And so my definition of success is am I glorifying God and enjoying him in what I’m involved in right now. And so tomorrow that may look a little bit different. Right? And so instead of trying to say, well, I grew a company from X to X, or all my kids got through college, or I was able to hike Kilimanjaro, or whatever those different goals are, which are all really great and awesome, and I love those things, I mean, that’s part of growing a business is the three wins.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (33:49):

So I settle it on that idea of I’m going to not only work hard to glorify him, but I’m also going to work hard to enjoy what I’m doing and who I’m doing it with. And so that’s a little bit of a two part definition of what I think success should look like.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (34:10):

Oh, that’s great. Well, I appreciate you sharing that. And before we go, Russ, is there anything you were maybe hoping to share or say or to get across? And what’s the best way for someone to get in touch with you if they’re interested in what you’re doing?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (34:25):

Yeah. So I can provide my contact information and we’re at legacyadvisorypartners.com. It’s simple and easy to get to our website and see some more information about the three wins and different things that we provide under that three wins umbrella.

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (34:40):

But the main thing for your audience is, especially for those owners and founders who are considering different paths and exits, is to really look and say and plan, what are my intentions for my people and my culture? If that’s important to you, make sure you go through the process of saying, what will it look like that I don’t have any regrets about myself and my other people, my culture when I exit this business?

Russ Clemmer, Legacy Advisory Partners (35:09):

That’s a big thing, to work so hard scratching and clawing to build a business and then once you exit it to look back and say, “Man, that just didn’t go the way I wanted it to.” So take the time now early and prepare for those things and be intentional about those things so that there’s no regrets on the other side.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (35:31):

Russ, thank you so much for a fantastic interview. And let’s go ahead and jump into today’s three key takeaways. So takeaway number one is when Russ shared how when he’s working with his customers and his clients, that he helps challenge them on the legacy planning to get the owner or that founder out of the middle of the circle.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (35:55):

I thought that was a great description. So think of yourself as the founder. You’re in the center of everything right now. When you’re transition planning, you’re looking to move yourself out of the center and put someone else or maybe other leaders in the middle there. And he asked the question, what are my intentions for my people and my culture and how can I make sure that I’m intentional about that?

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (36:17):

Just brilliant thoughts. Those were some great questions. Takeaway number two is the fact that it’s just never too early to start planning to sell and transition out of your business. And start planning early to turn it into an investor ready business.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (36:36):

I thought that was a key phrase when he said, start planning early to turn it into that investor ready business. So whether you want to sell or not, those are still great practice. And by the way, things that we help our clients with, when you go through the franchising process to franchise your business, you are there essentially starting to prepare your business to be more of an investor ready company.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (37:01):

And take away number three is to finish well. And he learned this lesson in a really hard way, but he shared the miss about how he had an internship that finished up on a Monday and he went out of town on a Friday and just either forgot or didn’t pay attention, it wasn’t as important to him at that moment, and he did not finish that well, which ultimately led to a lost opportunity for him.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (37:29):

So I think that’s a great concept. And specifically for you as the leader of your organization, for you to finish your leadership at your company, finish well. And now it’s time for today’s win-win. So today’s win-win is, you probably guessed it, the three wins model that Legacy Planning shares and goes through with their customers.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (37:58):

I love the concept of a win-win and with them it’s a win-win-win. And so there are three wins that they look for, and I think that this is just sound advice for any leader that’s looking at exiting.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (38:11):

So number one, what is the shareholder win? Where is that? Make sure that the shareholder wins in the business. Number two, that there is a key leader win, meaning the new leadership that’s taking over, we need to have a win for them. And number three is that the company itself, or the team that’s running the business needs to have a win and there needs to be balance in all three of that, in all three of those.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (38:38):

Very often when there’s a sale or a transition, it’s all focused on the shareholder win. Well, I like the way that Legacy and Russ in his company that they plan on this is to have balance between all three of those. So for the primary shareholder or the shareholders. The second win is for the incoming leadership team.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (39:05):

And the final win is for the staff and team that’s running the business as a whole. And that’s the episode today, folks. Please make sure you subscribe to the podcast and give us a review. And remember, if you or anyone you know might be ready to franchise their business or take their company to the next level, please connect with us at bigskyfranchiseteam.com. Thanks for tuning in and we look forward to having you back next week.

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