Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Time is the one consistent element that affects all business planning. It’s also something that business owners can harness with proper planning. When harnessed properly, time can be your best planning friend. When ignored, it can turn the best intentions into a planning nightmare. Let’s look at how time— and how each owner used it—affected the futures of two separate business owners in different ways.

Hurry Up and Wait vs. Wait and Hurry Up

If it weren’t for their last names, you’d never know that Tim and Jim Slim were brothers. They had both built extremely successful last-mile delivery services, well-known for their exceptional service in their highly competitive region... Read More

Monday, November 29, 2021
        We did it! The 2021 UNI Family Business Conference is in the books. With it being the season of Thanksgiving, I thought I would start out my column with some notes of thanks.    First, a huge thank you to the EFCO Corporation family. Their space at the EFCO Forming & Shoring Institute is amazing, and we were so grateful to have the Jennings/Walters family as our host this year. Another huge thank you to Craig Culver, of Culver’s Restaurants, and Tom Hubler, of Hubler for Business Families, Inc., for their time and willingness to share insights with our members.    Our sponsors were incredible as well and I want to thank all of them, especially our title sponsor BrownWin... Read More
Wednesday, October 27, 2021

By Katie Kreis

Three of Iowa’s leading multi-generational family businesses are partnering to build a feed mill unlike any other, positioning Iowa at the forefront of agricultural education and food production in the world. Kent Corporation, Sukup Manufacturing Co. and Todd & Sargent each contributed significantly to create the Kent Corporation Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex at Iowa State University (ISU).

“The desires and dietary requirements of a growing world population will require innovative products and technology solutions,” said Gage Kent, chairman of the Board of Directors and chief executive officer of Kent Corporation, a fam... Read More

Monday, October 25, 2021

By Dan Beenken

We had a great turnout and another awesome session this past week. Huge thank you to our panelists, Dave Davis, chief executive officer of Spahn and Rose Lumber Co.; Rob McDonald, chief executive officer of A.Y. McDonald Mfg. Co.; and Scott Sernett, chief executive officer of Vizalex. I also want to thank everyone who joined us Oct. 15 for our second Virtual Breakfast Series session of the 2021-2022 season!

As I always try to do with our Virtual Breakfast Series sessions, I wanted to put together the top three nuggets of knowledge that I took away:

Retention starts with a competitive base. Before you spend any time setting up retention pay and tools, it... Read More
Friday, October 08, 2021

Craig Culver, of the restaurant franchise that bears his last name, will headline the University of Northern Iowa Family Business Conference, presented by BrownWinick Law Firm, on Nov. 11. Hosted at Economy Forms Corporation (EFCO) in Des Moines, this one-day event will tackle the inner workings of family businesses with multiple breakout sessions and keynote addresses from industry experts. UNI Family Business Program members receive two complimentary tickets with a fee of $75 per each additional attendee. Non-member tickets are $175 per attendee.

“I’m thrilled to be sharing the Culver’s story,” said Culver, co-founder and chairman of the board at Culver’s. “I’ve always believed... Read More

Thursday, October 07, 2021
By Dan Beenken   First, I just want to thank everyone who joined us for our first session of the 2021-2022 Virtual Breakfast Series season! Chris Vernon, CEO and president of Vernon Company, and Tom Houser, an attorney at Dentons Davis Brown, presented “Dividing Family Estates Without All the Family Stress.” We had another great crowd and look forward to continuing to see you and your families at future events, including our upcoming inaugural UNI Family Business Conference presented by BrownWinick Law Firm.   Our panelists covered several estate planning areas including special covenants, corporate trustees, using multiple executors, share class realignment and so much more. Much discus... Read More
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
By Katie Kreis, UNI Family Business Center  

Company: Weiler, Inc.Business: Designs, engineers and manufactures equipment for the paving marketHeadquarters: Knoxville, IowaFounded: 2000 by Pat WeilerEmployees: 500

As Weiler, Inc. wrapped up its Family Day event this year, its stakeholders saw the direct benefit of celebrating employees’ families and engaging them directly with the family business. Megan Weiler Green, counsel, engineering manager and president of the Weiler Foundation, originally thought Family Day would be a one-time thing. Since the second event on Aug. 20, it has proven to be a resounding success.

“Being a family-run business, it’s important f... Read More

Wednesday, June 16, 2021
by Dan Beenken  

First, I just want to thank everyone who joined us for Session 5 – our last session of the 2020-2021 Season!  We had another great crowd and look forward to continuing to see you and your families at future events – including our upcoming Family Host with Fareway in Boone! 

We had a great panel of business families and consultants engaging with our members – covering all sorts of areas of family governance from policies to vision, legacy, and where to start with all of this.    

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:

The Journey IS the Destination – Deve... Read More
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