NU Online News Service, March 4, 2003, 5:20 p.m. EDT – The Phoenix Companies Inc., Hartford, has unveiled The Business of Wealth, a program for advisors who want to work with successful business owners.

The program can help agents selling to all different types of businesses because it segments businesses by life-cycle stages rather than by industry, according to Walter Zultowski, senior vice president of marketing and market research at Phoenix.

The life-cycle stage “will direct the services needs that a business will likely have,” Zultowski says.

The Phoenix business life-cycle model starts with the Business Entity stage, or the start-up and growth years, when the focus is on creating a successful business. An owner in this stage will need help with attracting and retaining employees, funding personal retirement plans, and basic estate planning.

The second stage, the Business Transition stage, refers to the period when owners need advisors to help them prepare to sell a business or leave it to others.

The third stage, the Business Family Legacy stage, applies to owners who have accumulated enough wealth to build lasting legacies. Owners in this stage need advisors to help them manage assets and transfer wealth, Phoenix says.

The Phoenix program also provides a free business valuation service, a detailed business continuation planning kit, and a survey that heads of family-owned businesses can use to start discussions about business transitions with their relatives.

The current economic climate might seem to be a challenging one for advisors seeking wealthy business owners. But many small businesses are continuing to grow, and advisors can help prepare the owners to need and afford services such as wealth-transfer services in the future, Zultowski says.

“There always has been and always will be a need for these services,” Zultowski says. “When economic times get tough, that focuses (owners) on the need to do more planning.”