President and Founder of Boundary Stone Financial, Mike Nickoli, launched another venture this in July of this year Spero Partners, Inc., based out of Birmingham, Alabama but with clients nationwide is a consulting practice focused on the needs of high-earning closely held business owners.
Mike studied economics at Birmingham Southern College where he earned his degree while pursuing a professional baseball career. He specifically focused his studies on public policy and free markets, getting immersed in the far reaching impact of monetary policy and the impact of taxation on the incentives that drive economic growth. This academic background and his personal experience with dealing with relatively large amounts of money for someone in his early 20’s, drove Mike towards the financial services industry after a career ending injury forced him out of his baseball career.
With 12 years of experience in the financial services industry working in risk and wealth management with almost exclusively business owners, Mike routinely fielded requests from his clients to find legal means to lower their tax burdens. Spero Partners, Inc., was founded to address those questions.
At Spero Partners Inc., Mike and his partnerships with financial advisors, certified public accountants, real estate experts, enrolled agents and tax attorneys navigate the complicated and tedious tax of lowering clients’ tax liabilities and execute on strategies to ensure that each tax dollar protected or harvested is placed purposefully in the most tax efficient environments available.
Mike is passionate about what he does and the results he produces for his clients.
How did you get started in the industry?
After a career ending baseball injury, I spent 12 years in financial services, wealth management, and business consulting. It was while working in wealth management that the evolution of Spero Partners came about.
How do you make money in your field?
We charge flat consulting fees, performance fees, and if appropriate we implement some strategies that are commissionable.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Because of the way I structured the launch of the company we were profitable immediately.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I would not say there were doubts, because it was very clear my existing clients had needs. The apprehension was around balancing Spero Partners, Inc., with my financial services business, Boundary Stone Financial.
Do you remember how you go your first client?
I do! I had an existing relationship with a surgeon that I had actually been introduced to while he was in medical school. After working with him for 10+ years, it was very rewarding to introduce him to tax strategies that were now much more necessary for him than when I met him over a decade ago.
What is one marketing strategy that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I think about “marketing” in a non-traditional way. My clients are successful, they tend to be private and are cautious about the way they are being approached or solicited, if you will. I prefer to focus all of my efforts in delivering at an incredible high level with high touch follow up and service to my existing clients. The natural consequence of doing great planning with immediate follow up and follow through for clients that value the work is they share their experience with their inner circle. These business owners then approach me when they are ready and comfortable to have a more in-depth confidential discussion to see if Spero Partners provides a mutual fit for their objectives. If I reach out to someone it is only after a client has asked me to introduce myself to someone they know well.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in your professional life?
Declining participating in really good projects or deals in order to stay laser focused on my core business is always a tough decision for me.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I just keep showing up, working diligently, and I take rejection as constructive criticism and an opportunity to get better.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When a CPA calls me and refers us one of their existing clients because they’ve seen the substantive benefit we’ve delivered to one of their clients and they trust us. It is both satisfying and incredibly validating.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
We are constantly looking for strategies and ideas that apply to our clients in a rapidly changing landscape. I am pursuing other partnerships that can bring value to my clients. I’m most excited about what it looks like to scale, while maintaining a high performing high touch service to clients.
What business books have inspired you?
The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey. Great read on understanding what really builds trust and what destroys it with clients.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Say “No” more often. Be fiercely protective of your time. Know that sometimes you have to say no to good ideas, or good projects, or good relationships in order to pursue EXCELLENT ones.