Who are you and what is the name of your business?

Phil Wheat, CFP® and Lori Givens, CFP®, Wheat-Givens Financial, LLC

What inspired you to start your business?

Phil began working in financial services right out of college. His experience within the insurance industry led to a desire to help families plan more comprehensively for their financial futures. Right before the advent of the personal computer, Phil became a Certified Financial Planner™, and, in conjunction with a change in how financial advisory fees were charged, an opportunity arose to help individuals and families in a way that made sense. Phil jumped on the chance and has been an independent advisor ever since.

Lori has known Phil for about 20 years when he was introduced to a college friend of hers who had lost her husband and needed financial advice. In the fall of 2012, Phil approached Lori about joining him to add capacity and provide a succession plan for his firm. Lori left the IT world and began her studies for licensing and CFP® certification and has loved (almost) every minute of it. (The tests are not a barrel of laughs!)

What services or products do you offer?

We offer comprehensive financial planning and investment management.

What is unique about your business?

While many in our field have moved to the model-based approach to investment management, we continue to manage each client’s account individually, given the client’s needs and current market conditions.

How does your business give back to the community?

Both of us serve our respective churches through several ministries. We also support Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney, McKinney Christian Academy, Shiloh Place, The McKinney Chamber and Leadership McKinney, among others. One way that we use our business skills to give back is by providing Estate Planning services, with the oversight of licensed Estate Planning attorneys, at no charge.

What obstacles did you have to overcome to get to where you are today? (or: What challenges have you faced in running your business?)

Growing a business from scratch is a big challenge, especially when you have a family who depends on you and your income.

What methods have you used to grow your business?

Primarily, doing the right thing for our clients, even when it means we have less income. We believe that if you always do the right thing, things will work out. Our clients are often our best source of growth because of our commitment to them. We also believe in the power of networking through the McKinney Chamber, BNI and the Collin County Networking Group. Some advertising, teaching classes and writing educational articles are also in the mix.

What is the secret to keeping happy customers?

We communicate at least monthly and make sure that our clients know and understand our recommendations. Our focus is on educating our clients so they know at least “the basics” and more importantly know that we are watching out for them all the time.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Jesus. As we have grown in our faith, we have realized that we can only do the best for our clients when we seek to glorify the Lord in all that we do.

What is your most/least favorite thing about your business?

Most favorite – we have the best clients! We love to talk with them, get to know them and what’s going on in their lives and, essentially, grow our “families”.

Least favorite – paperwork! Our industry is heavily scrutinized (with good reason – there are some bad eggs out there) which requires us to keep impeccable records of everything we do. It’s a necessary evil and it can be overwhelming at times

Where do you see your business going in the future?

We are excited about growing our team and are looking at bringing on a new college graduate in the fall.

To what do you attribute your success?

Always doing the right thing for every client and helping people who need help – regardless of the size of their portfolio.

What’s the best advice you would give someone thinking of starting their own small business?

Be willing to pay for help to do things that you can’t (or won’t) do yourself. Actually doing the thing your business is about is sometimes a small part of owning a business – ignoring the “operational” side is a fast path to disaster.