Interview with Marty Bicknell, Founder, CEO & President of Mariner Wealth Advisors


The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.

Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!

Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.

Can you tell everyone your name, please?

Marty Bicknell

Where did you go to school?

I grew up in Pittsburg, Kansas, and graduated college from Pittsburg State University

Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?

My first job was mowing and weed eating at a country club. All my friends were working in the pro shop or at their dads’ offices, but my dad thought having a job sweating and seeing snakes on a daily basis would build character. It definitely helped build my character, but beyond that, it taught me that hard work pays off. I also experienced a sense of accomplishment in seeing my hard work turn into something tangible.

We all have entrepreneurs whom we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.

Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?

Ben Edwards. When I began my career at A.G. Edwards, Ben was the CEO. He ran the company with a never-faulting “Client First” attitude that transcended throughout the entire company. When he was replaced, the company I loved quickly changed into a culture I no longer recognized. I soon left A.G. Edwards with one goal — to create a firm I could be proud of again. Shortly after, I started Mariner Wealth Advisors.

Thank you for providing background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.

What is the name of your company?

Mariner Wealth Advisors

Where is your company located?

Overland Park, Kansas

What services or products does your organization provide?

The services we provide at Mariner Wealth Advisors include wealth advice, estate planning, and trust services, specialized business services, risk management, and investment management.

What problem is your business trying to solve?

While many people realize the importance of developing a wealth plan, they often lack the tools to do so. We help by stepping back and looking at their entire financial life. We are their advocate. We want to be the client’s first call, whether for financial or non-financial reasons.

How is your business unique against your competitors?

We are unique in our business model because our advisors’ only responsibility is taking care of their clients. We are unique in our resources because we provide a wide range of financial services, including those noted above, under one roof. We draw upon professionals from across the firm to create specialized advisory teams for each client, based on his or her needs. I also believe we’re unique because we focus on wealth advice regarding our clients’ goals and how we can help them achieve those goals. Our view incorporates much more than just investment returns.

How did the idea for your business come to fruition?

It was inspired by my mentor, Ben Edwards, and supported by a group of seven who bought into my vision and joined me in founding the firm.

Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business?

Final question. We want to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.

What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?

I actually have five tips I give to entrepreneurs who are considering starting their own business. It would be hard for me to narrow it down to three, so I’ll provide all five.

  1. Define your culture: Once you’ve defined the culture you want in your organization, you must live it and breathe it. Let it guide how you organize your company, the people you hire and the types of products or services you provide.
  2. Focus on your unique ability and provide others the freedom to do the same: A unique ability is a thing that drives you, that makes you excited to head into the office each morning. The difference between being excellent at a job and having a unique ability for it is having a passion for what you do. If you think about embracing and fostering your associates’ unique abilities, as well as your own, then achieving the improbable no longer seems improbable.
  3. Define what’s important and what you should measure: It’s important to remember…what gets measured, gets done. However, make sure you measure what truly matters.
  4. Never stop communicating: I believe innovation comes from communicating. Listen to those around you, as their insights may be the future of your business. Also, share your vision with others to help ensure you’re all working toward a common goal.
  5. Don’t be afraid to innovate: If culture is created from the top down, then I firmly believe innovation is generated from the bottom up. Hire great people and give them room to innovate.

Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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