Climatologists claim that Iowa has four seasons, spring, summer, fall, and winter.  But lately it seems that there are only really two seasons, snow and construction.  Iowa is proud to rank first in the nation in both corn and soybean production.  But, if orange construction barrels were a crop they would likely surpass both of them combined.


Orange barrels are literally sprouting up everywhere, roads, buildings, schools, etc.  Sure the barrels bring some inconvenience, but they also bring vitality, growth, and economic development.  Being part of something growing is typically much more enjoyable than something that is stagnant or declining.

Most financial professionals would likely agree that growing their practice is a priority.  However, developing and executing on strategies to grow your practice can be challenging.  How can you differentiate yourself from the other financial professionals that are also looking to grow?  How can you be remarkable?

Seth Godin addresses this in his 2009 book, Purple Cow:  Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.

Something remarkable is worth talking about.  Worth noticing.  Exceptional.  New.  Interesting.  It’s a Purple Cow.

Could employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) be your purple cow?  Most business owners know little, or nothing, about ESOPs.  That is generally true of their financial professionals as well.  Not only can ESOPs differentiate you, they may be the door opener you are looking for.

The ESOP conversation is a business owner/senior management/board of directors conversation.  Although the conversation will ultimately include human resources and benefits professionals, it isn’t where the conversation typically begins due to the nature of the discussion.

ESOPs are qualified retirement plans.  Although they can help employees save for retirement, they are typically implemented to assist a business owner with their succession planning efforts or to create liquidity to allow for investment diversification.  The ESOP discussion is about the business owner as an individual and the company as an employer.

The conversation is strategic.  It is about more than just the retirement plan (granted that is important as well) as it is about the very future of the company.

And that leads us to green.  An ESOP creates multiple opportunities for a  financial professional to grow their practice.  It can be a great recruiting tool for new business owner and company clients.  It can also provide you with additional revenue opportunities by generating investable assets, creating insurance needs, and providing access to the other qualified and non-qualified retirement plans.

Orange – purple – green.  The may not be the three primary colors but all are important to an advisor looking to grow their practice.


In addition to blogging here, I also tweet regularly about topics of interest to ESOPs. Click to follow me on Twitter –  @jlripperger.

Click here to follow my ESOP blog

Affiliation Disclosures

While this communication may be used to promote or market a transaction or an idea that is discussed in the publication, it is intended to provide general information about the subject matter covered and is provided with the understanding that none of the member companies of The Principal are rendering legal, accounting, or tax advice. It is not a marketed opinion and may not be used to avoid penalties under the Internal Revenue Code. You should consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, or accounting obligations and requirements.

Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided by Principal Life Insurance Company a member of the Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®), Des Moines, IA 50392.