Here at CenturyLink, we think small is big. Small businesses and nonprofits make a real difference in our communities. To celebrate them, we invited small businesses throughout the United States to participate in a sweepstakes with a chance to win one of five $1,000 gift cards. Now, it’s time to meet our winners and hear all about the important work they’re doing in their communities. First up is Montini & Co Tax Advisory Group.
Meet Marc and Samantha Montini
Marc established Montini & Co Tax Advisory in 2015 after a lengthy 28-year career in financial services. After working at the same company for about 20 of those years, Marc had the opportunity to start his own business. He decided to focus on retirement planning in his business because he wanted to help his clients enjoy the fruits of their labor, and thrive rather than just survive . “The advisors that I’ve really admired were the tax guys, because if you’re really going to maximize somebody’s retirement, the only way you’re going to do it is through tax reduction or elimination,” Marc said.
Initially, Marc was alone in the business and both he and his wife, Samantha, wanted to keep it that way. She was going to maintain her own job as Marc started his business. But as many small business owners know, it’s a lot of work to get started. Aside from finding clients, Marc also noted that he had to find computers, printers, furniture, and office space. He needed help, and so he turned to Samantha.
“On a trip, I turned to her, and I said, ‘I can’t do this without you,’” Marc remembered.
Once they were back from their trip, Samantha quit her job. And they’ve been working together ever since.
Getting down to business
As a licensed fiduciary, Marc makes recommendations to his clients that are in their best interest. “What I put my real time and energy into is helping people get to retirement and build out long-term sustainable income plans,” Marc explained. “I found is that for a lot of people, retirement can be absolutely frightening, because they just don’t know how to retire. And I found that when I build that plan, and they can see it, they can put it on their nightstand next to their bed. And that helps alleviate a lot of those fears when they wake up in the middle of the night.”
While Marc helps their clients retire, Samantha manages everything behind the scenes as the office manager, and it’s no small task “I pretty much do a little bit of everything,” Samantha said. “I order office supplies, I pay bills, and then I also complete and process all the applications for financial planning clients.”
It also doesn’t hurt that Marc is from the community that Montini & Co Tax Advisory Group serves. “Marc grew up in this area, and his parents live about 10 minutes away from here. So it’s the same zip code, he went to high school here. There’s that sense of community that’s really important to him,” Samantha said.
The challenges for Montini & Co Tax Advisory Group
“We really, really love being small business owners,” Marc said. Both he and Samantha recognize that as small business owners, they take on both the responsibility and ownership of their success. “You kind of have to step up and just do what’s needed,” Samantha remarked. “Every day is kind of a new adventure. You have to wear a lot of different hats.”
Marc agrees. “You’ve got to find your way to get into the ‘Get It Done’ business. If something’s wrong with the computer, we just have to figure it out.”
Ultimately, knowing that their business relies on them keeps the fire going. It was up to them to figure out how to make their business work and get paid.
The impact of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic also posed some unique challenges for the business. The shutdowns happened right in the middle of tax season when the business was processing tax returns. Montini & Co Tax Advisory Group had to adapt quickly and make a plan.
“Going through COVID was a challenge for everybody,” Marc said. “But we adapted really early to technology and converted all of our appointments to Zoom appointments. And that included everything from individual client appointments to teaching our Social Security and tax planning class. We’ve just found Zoom to be a really great tool that we’re going to continue to run with regardless of where this pandemic goes.”
Being forced to adapt in the face of the pandemic allowed Marc and Samantha to offer more to their clients. “We’re able to offer the classes in the morning and in the evening now,” Samantha said. “It allows more flexibility for people to be able to attend. It’s a lot easier for us to plan the events without having to set up chairs at the local library and hope people show up.”
Focusing on technology and having a strong internet connection has been key to their success, Samantha noted. “Having a good internet connection has been extremely vital to our business, and especially over the last couple of years.”
Advice for people who want to start a small business
Marc and Samantha believe the rewards of being a small business owner outweigh the risks. “I think if you’re thinking about being a small business owner, I would definitely tell you to reach for your dreams and go for it. It’s just in the sense of satisfaction when you do it together, and it actually works. It can be one of the most gratifying things that you’ve ever done in your life.”
As for new business owners, Marc advised to “keep chopping wood”. “It never stops. You’re always trying to build your business up and there’s going to be times where things are slow.” But there will also be times of growth. It’s all about maintaining a level of consistency and a level head through the ups and downs of business.
What’s next for Montini & Co Tax Advisory Group
As winners of the CenturyLink Small Business sweepstakes, Samantha and Marc used their winnings to cover holiday expenses for the company. “We sent Christmas cards to all of our clients, and we gave bonuses to our employees,” Samantha said.
As for their business, Marc and Samantha’s primary goal is to keep moving forward. “We’ve grown something that we feel is really respectable in the last eight years and, and we want to continue to do what we do,” Marc said. He also emphasized the importance of growing relationships with clients. “When you’re building a retirement income plan and a financial plan for somebody, it’s very intimate,” Marc explained. “It becomes a very personal business. And we want to keep bringing on clients that that become meaningful friends in the future.”
The CenturyLink Small Business team would like to extend a warm and hearty congratulations to Montini & Co Tax Advisory Group. Thank you for entering the sweepstakes, and we can’t wait to see how your small business grows. For more small business resources, please visit the Small Business Hub for articles like:
- Do I need a VPN for my small business?
- How to determine bandwidth needs for your small business
- Social media Marketing for small business
*Not a paid endorsement. Montini & Co. Tax Advisory is not a CenturyLink customer but is a 2021 Small Business MTU Survey Sweepstakes Winner.