O'Brien Financial Planning
We are a small financial planning firm focused on individuals, families and small businesses. We have a focus on comprehensive financial planning and institutional investment management for individuals as well as qualified plans for small businesses – 401(k)s and profit sharing plans. I started this business after eighteen years as a senior leader at GE, in a number of businesses
We have a focus on comprehensive financial planning and institutional investment management for individuals as well as qualified plans for small businesses – 401(k)s and profit sharing plans. I started this business after eighteen years as a senior leader at GE, in a number of businesses
Right off the bat, I learned how my corporate experience was only partially applicable to my new business. My counselors provided me with critical assistance in filling my knowledge gaps.
I was very fortunate to have been given two counselors at SCORE, Shelly Shapiro, who had significant corporate experience and was a past SCORE chapter president, and Fred Esposito, who had experience in my industry. Both were very experienced counselors and combined to give me support and guidance I couldn’t find anywhere else. One thing that really set SCORE apart from the myriad of “business coaches” out there was the personal nature of the coaching I received. These gentlemen really wanted to learn about my business and deliver the advice that was appropriate for me. I saw a lot of businesses ready to sell me a packaged solution, but never got the impression they were aligned with my best interest the way SCORE is.
Perhaps the most important guidance I received from Shelly was that a new business like mine needed a plan that focused on the first one to three years. I showed up with a business plan that had a five year outlook, and a ten year outlook, like we always did at GE. That advice is one of the things I point to when I identify early milestones in this business.
When I was first starting out, as many entrepreneurs know, it was pretty lonely. I didn’t have much business, so I had time to plan the business, but also time to worry about the prospects for success. Shelly and Fred were excellent cheerleaders for me. They helped put things in perspective, and keep me focused on the progress I had made – measuring that progress was extremely important to keeping forward momentum. I needed unbiased feedback and support, and they certainly gave me both.
They also delivered tough messages I needed to hear, helped me get out of my own way when it came to conquering fears of developing my business. While I don’t view sales as my core competency, they made it clear that I had to get out there and sell myself and my business in order to grow. Without their well-placed advice, I would have had a much tougher time growing my business in the early days. I still rely on that advice every week.
Even after the first year of the business came to a close, I felt like the coaching I received from my SCORE counselors was important. While they had helped me identify critical success factors early on, my challenges were changing, and their insight and candid feedback was still important.