Almost three million Asian Indians in the United States are preparing to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights on Oct. 23. This time is also significant for entrepreneurs and business owners, as the celebration marks the beginning of a new business year. In a special rit- ual known as Chopda Pujan, business owners open new account books, bless them, and reflect on the past year while looking ahead to new op- portunities for prosperity and wealth. It is said the goddess of wealth, known as Lakshmi, visits the homes of devotees on this day. People welcome her into their homes with lamps lighting the way. Based on Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company’s (MassMutual) proprietary research, 77 percent of Asian Indian business owners said financial planning is very important to them, yet most of them (73 percent) rely on their spouses as their most trusted financial advisors. Through these key findings, MassMutual recognizes the po- tential opportunities for Asian Indian business owners and is planning to provide them with fi- nancial tips, tools and resources in a multi-city tour in Atlanta on Oct. 18, San Jose on Oct. 24, Chicago on Nov. 6 and Houston on Nov. 8. “In order to be successful, small business own- ers must pay attention to the far horizon, as well as the day-to-day demands of the business,” said Nimesh Trivedi, Asian-Indian Market lead at MassMutual. “This Diwali, there is no better time to help business owners understand the critical importance of strategic business planning to help protect them, and the families who depend on them, against business and personal failure.” This Diwali, as the economy continues to grow and small businesses gain recognition as a major engine of this growth, there is no better time for small business owners to take stock of their long- term financial health and plan for the future. MassMutual’s Trivedi offers these tips for Asian- Indian small business owners to strengthen their companies: Have a thoughtful, well-written business plan and stick to it. Rather than getting caught up in daily operations of your business, set clear, real- istic goals and objectives. Consider strategies that address the long-term plans of your business and how you will retire. Along with a business plan, have a sound per- sonal financial strategy. Ask yourself: do we have some assets outside the business and are they creditor-proof? When do we want to retire? How much capital will be needed to do so and where will it come from? What happens if I am unable to provide for my family? Find a financial professional with experience in serving small businesses. Choose an experienced, local financial professional, trained to meet busi- ness owner needs, whom you can trust with your business and personal goals. A financial profes- sional can help you plan for and reach both short- and long-term goals. Hire better, and offer a good benefits package. While the economy is improving, unemployment still is higher than desirable, which contributes to a larger pool of talented and educated people. Seek out and hire strong talent. Offer employees volun- tary benefits at a typically lower cost than they could obtain themselves. Such benefits can be pro- vided at no direct cost to you and can reward your productive employees. You can also offer addi- tional benefits to reward and retain key employees,
such as an Executive Bonus Plan, which can pro- vide a specific employee with personal life insur- ance coverage through a series of bonuses. This type of plan motivates a top employee to continue with a company because of the life insurance cov- erage and eventual access to cash values that could be used as a supplemental retirement vehicle. Develop an exit strategy and succession plan. Are you approaching retirement and intending to sell your business or, if it’s family-owned, hand it over to the next generation? Obstacles can arise if a business owner has not carefully mapped out a plan for transition of the company. Without assets outside of the business, some business owners may need to sell the business to support their re- tirement or family members may not have enough money to buy into the business, leading to an in- stallment sale. An experienced financial profes- sional can help you put a succession plan in place. Diwali is a time to enjoy family and friends, tra- ditional food, oil lamp decorations and fireworks. When the celebration is over and business owners are once again immersed in their businesses, it may be a good idea to take the fresh start that a new set of books provides and begin planning for your busi- nesses’—and your families’—future success. For more information on the multi-city busi- ness owner seminar tour, contact Nimesh Trivedi, 413.744.1244. For more information on planning for your families’ financial future, visit massmu- tual.com/asianindian or view a video at massmu- tual.com/asianindian. *MassMutual’s Business Owner Perspectives: 2011 Insights in an Uncertain Economy, con- ducted by GfK Custom Research North America for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Com- pany (MassMutual), 2011.
Diwali Time for Celebration, Hope and Renewed Commitment for Asian Indians
L to R Nimesh Trivedi, Lalit Jallan, Adam Segal and