It’s likely that few people, if any, have ever told you, “You need to make yourself less important,” regarding your business. But sophisticated buyers look for businesses that can operate without their owners. Unless your goal is to sell or transfer your business, and then stay with the business as a subordinate to assure a smooth transition, you’ll need to train a management staff that can run the business without you. This is the most important Value Driver you’ll install, and for many owners, it’s the hardest, because they aren’t prepared to expend the emotional and mental energy required to remove themselves from their businesses.
There are countless technical strategies to m... Read More
It’s Fall. It’s Football. It’s another Bears’ “Season On the Stink”. (Now who could have predicted that?) As of today they are 1-4, but for all intents and purposes they are freefalling into the abyss pretty quickly.
One of my coworkers is a huge Bears fan, bless his little heart. Unfortunately for him, Bill and Bob Swerski, and millions of others, 1985 was a pretty long time ago. Excruciatingly long.
So where am I going with this, other than to open an old wound? In my work with small companies across the state, I see too many who have peaked, some back in ’85 or even before, who are for all intents and purposes “holding on”. Many of them talk about the... Read More
Many owners and advisors talk about the importance of growing business value, and there are nearly unlimited options to help business owners do just that. Wouldn’t you agree that growing business value is pointless if you don’t know how to reduce the threats to that growth? As you prepare for an eventual exit from your business, there are several threats to business value that you need to be aware of:Key employees leaving the company and competing by taking customers, employees, and/or trade secrets. Key employees dying or otherwise leaving without a replacement. Data security breaches. Uninsured casualty loss. Fraud and embezzlement. Losses from high-risk operations. Any numb... Read More
A fundamental aspect of a successful business exit is assuring that your business has enough value to allow you to exit with financial security. This, coupled with wisely invested non-business assets, gives you the best chance to pursue the Exit Path you want on the timeline you want. Obtaining a proper, professional business valuation is the first step in determining how much your company is worth, but what happens if the valuation shows that your business isn’t worth enough to allow you to exit your business with financial security? How can you increase your business’ value if everything that’s made it successful thus far isn’t enough?
The answer lies in installing Value Driver... Read More
Equifax has found its way to the podium for 15 minutes of fame – or infamy – in this case. Their data breach, seemingly affecting just about every adult in the United States, has largely been met with a shrug and a “whoop di do”. Many as us have started to grow immune to the thought of our personal data being “exposed”. In our cyber-focused world, it’s a side effect we live with – akin to the traffic and congestion of our flight to urban areas.
The point I want to make isn’t about data breaches it’s about identity, and the fear we have of losing our personal identity.
A recent survey of small and middle market company owners reported that after just one year past the e... Read More
Setting goals is critically important to owners who begin Exit Planning. Without goals, even the strongest processes fail, because they have no purpose to work toward. Your goals are what guide your process toward a successful exit, and without them, you’ll find yourself spinning your wheels in the mud of indecision.
While setting goals is the most important thing you do as you begin your business exit journey, it doesn’t mean that you have to know exactly where you’ll end up after you exit your business. Goals can and often must change to give you the best chance to exit your business on your terms. Business exits are rarely all-or-nothing propositions. Having the foresight to s... Read More
It’s that time of year again when families across Iowa load up the minivan and haul the crew down to Des Moines for one of the last piece of true Americana – the Iowa State Fair. You show up sparkling clean, ready for a big day of food, family, and fun. The next time you check your watch it's 7 p.m., you can’t feel your legs and the three kids you started the day with have all been swapped out without you ever noticing. You pile everything and everyone back in the van, stop for some Rolaids, and begin to notice that you seem to have also picked up a case of Type 2 Diabetes while you were there.... Read More
You know how things work in terms of starting and running a successful business. You’ve hired the right people, offered a useful product or service, and developed high-quality relationships with your customers and vendors. None of these things magically appeared out of thin air: You most likely followed a proven process, mixed in with your own creative problem solving, to build a successful business. The same adherence to process that applies to starting and running a successful business applies to a successful business exit.
Whether you’re looking to exit your business in 10 months, 10 years, or never, one fact governs them all: All business owners—even the hardest working, most... Read More
While there isn’t one right answer, owners who see that Exit Planning and Estate Planning share the same goals begin to appreciate how they can leverage the time and money they spend on their Exit Plans into the design of their Estate Plans. To help make the choice about where to start, we urge owners to consider two issues: (a) Estate taxes are (currently) easier to avoid than income taxes, and (b) Estate Planning techniques often involve funding from life insurance proceeds, whereas Exit Planning techniques often involve the owner’s own funds.
A successful business Exit Plan achieves three important owner goals:Financial Security: The business sale or transfer provides th... Read More
We’ve made it past the unofficial midpoint of summer and on every freeway in America is a steady stream of mini-vans torturing, I mean taking, families across our great nation seeking out a little slice of Americana on their summer vacations. It’s a rite of passage for so many of us. Or as one famous father said – "This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest.”
With this backdrop, I find myself in a conversation with Founder Frank. You have probably met him. He started a small company and has now grown it to 62 employees strong. He puts in 80 hour weeks and wears it on his sleeve as a badge of honor. Today’s conversation is about the frustrations of covering vacation time for his... Read More