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Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Preparing your business for a successful future often goes hand in hand with preparing your business for a successful sale. No matter whom you sell to—and even if you believe you’ll never sell your business—you should focus on catching Deal Killers. Deal Killers are things that can affect your business’ value and future. Let’s look at an example of the difference between addressing Deal Killers early and ignoring them until it’s too late.

Bud and Bess Bush always had a sibling rivalry. Bud’s manufacturing business had grown and provided for his family for 35 years. Bess’s data analytics firm had done similarly well over the last 28 years. Though they never worked together, Bud and... Read More

Friday, April 23, 2021

Setting goals is a catalyst for success, especially if you’re planning for the future of your ownership and the success of your business. The strongest goals tend to have five aspects that help you guide the process for achieving them. In other words, when you set goals, you want to set SMART goals:


Let’s look at how each of these aspects can help you create goals that let you plan for the future of your ownership more successfully.

Specific Goals Inspire Action

Though it can be challenging, setting specific goals allows you to act on them. Consider the difference between a vague goal and a specific goal.

V... Read More

Friday, April 16, 2021

Cedar Graphics Inc., of Hiawatha, has acquired select business assets of J & A Printing Inc., currently under the ownership of Scott Cadwallader, according to a news release from Cedar Graphics.

Printing, finishing and mailing services for J & A customers will transition immediately to the Cedar Graphics plant in Hiawatha. J & A’s production facility in Hiawatha is not part of this acquisition.

Cedar Graphics is a family and Iowa-owned business focusing on offset and digital printing, packaging, and direct mail for the education, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and banking industries.

Cedar Graphics’ unique mix of advanced UV offset presses, digital... Read More

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

by Gary Nesteby, Facilitator

In December 2020 several of the CEO members completed a survey designed to provide a Success Score for their organization through their eyes.  The survey asked the CEO to assess their perception of how systematic they were in the areas of: Leadership, Strategic Planning, Customer Focus, Workforce Engagement, Operations and their use of Data to make decisions.  The results of those surveys produced discussions about how we could use the roundtables to learn more about what they could do to increase their effectiveness in these areas. 

Leaders that are attending the CEO roundtables realize that they have very useful resources among all of the mem... Read More

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

by Dan Beenken

First, I just want to thank everyone who joined us for Session 4 on family compensation topics. We had a great crowd and look forward to continuing to see you and your families at future events.

As I mentioned, session 4 was all about money. We had a great panel of business families and consultants engaging with our members on discussion of fair versus equal in a family business, how to treat active versus passive family members, bonus pools, salary surveys, and a host of other issues.

As I always try to do with our breakfast series sessions, I wanted to put together my top 3 “nuggets of knowledge” that I took away:

1) Consistency is key – D... Read More

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

For nearly 5,500 years, human beings have written things down. From Hammurabi’s Code and the U.S. Constitution to your personal business plans, writing things down helps people follow rules and best practices, and pursue goals and action items. However, many successful business owners don’t have any written plans they can follow to help them achieve the future for their ownership that they most desire.

“I’ll start when I’m ready,” “This business can’t ever run without me,” and “I’d like to exit but I don’t know what I’d do” are just a few of the most common reasons that business owners don’t create written plans for the future of their businesses and their ownership. Ironically, w... Read More

Monday, February 22, 2021

by Dan Beenken

The title says it all: Long Live the Family Business! I couldn't agree more.

If you are involved in a family owned company and are wondering how to create a business that will last from generation to generation, I highly recommend Les Banwart’s book.  It’s a great read about the 2 two requirements for all family business:  Planning and Communication.

Banwart has spent more than 40 years consulting with family owned firms and over time a few things have stood out to him as success indicators.  He shares those ideas in this book from a practical standpoint to provide you with a road... Read More

Thursday, February 11, 2021

by Dan Beenken

Compensation is already a touchy subject – and if you throw on top of that a heaping spoonful of working with your family, things can get messy real quick.

In regards to family compensation, the questions and topics to consider are seemingly endless.   Who decides what family employee pay should be?  Does each family member make the same amount?  Do we pay our family more than an outside employee?  Do we compensate non-active family?  How are raises/promotions determined and by whom?  How do we handle family bonus pay?  Should we utilize a compensation survey, consultant, committee?  Etc.... Read More

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

By Dan Beenken

Across Iowa we are experiencing a “silver tsunami” of aging baby boomers – many of them are business owners in our communities.

One of every three Iowa business owners plan to exit their business by 2023. While these issues pertain to most businesses, they are even more acute for those operations in rural communities. Those firms and the wages they pay are essential to the vitality of many local economies in rural Iowa. Failure to properly transition ownership can significantly impact not only the business owners and shareholders, but the communities themselves. 

In a recent business owner survey by the Business Enterprise Institute, it was... Read More

Monday, January 04, 2021

We are finally turning the page to 2021 and there will no doubt be thousands of articles written summarizing 2020 and all that happened – good and bad – and how we can look forward to the New Year with lessons learned and optimism. Rather than repeat all of that, I just want to put a couple ideas out there to Iowa family businesses for ’21.  

I’m not asking you to do much – you don’t have to lose any weight (though I need to) and you don’t have to learn a new hobby or speak a second language. I would simply encourage you to do 2 things this ye... Read More