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

Monday, November 16, 2020

By Dan Beenken

There is a reason we devote one of our breakfast sessions each year to Succession Planning.  Regardless of your family business situation, transition is inevitable. And the odds are not always in your favor.  Only about 13% of companies make it to the third generation.  

There are several “best practices” you can glean from others who have been there, but it really comes down to two things: Plan and Communicate.  

Louis Pasteur famously said “C... Read More

Thursday, October 08, 2020
What I learned from the Family Business Breakfast Series Session One

By Dan Beenken

What I learned:

As the facilitator for our annual Breakfast Series, I have a front row seat to our panelists and their expertise.  I also have the benefit of knowing our audience and their interests.  So I feel pretty lucky to be able to combine those elements as I broaden my own knowledge base in the family business environment.  

Our last session on September 18th focused on advisory boards.  I went in to it knowing that a few of our members... Read More

Thursday, September 10, 2020

"We are excited to welcome Heidi to our team. She will be facilitating all of our family business next generation peer groups and activities.  She is a great fit to the family business programming and we are excited about the future."  Dan Beenken, Iowa Family Business Center powered by UNI

Dr. Heidi Vermeer-Quist is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Family Business Consultant, and a third generation shareholder of Vermeer Corporation, a privately held family-owned business based on Iowa. 

At Vermeer Corporation, Heidi developed and facilitated the Ownership Council as well as various family business governance best practices. She served on the Board of Directo... Read More

Thursday, September 10, 2020

“Have you considered the idea of an advisory board?” 

“The last thing I need is someone else telling me what to do,” says nearly every company owner we work with.  

No one wants to be told what to do, least of all the owner of a company. After all, that is part of the reason you have taken on the risk to be an owner. To be the one to call the shots. The buck stops here. 

I absolutely agree. You’ve built a successful company relying on your decision making and maybe a fortuitous bounce now and then, but for the most part, it is your guiding that has moved the ship along.  

Where I disagree is the premise the “being tol... Read More

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

By Michael Crumb | Senior Staff Writer

As a parent of a high school student I, like many of you, have been watching and listening closely as our daughter’s school adjusts and tweaks the start to its school year, trying to find that balance between virtual and in-person learning. It’s a continuation of the uncertainty that struck in March when schools announced they would not return from spring break and remain closed for two weeks as confirmed cases of coronavirus began spreading across Iowa. We then watched as it became clear students would not return to the classroom to finish the year, and districts quickly threw together online learning plans. And we’ve al... Read More

Monday, August 31, 2020

By Gary Nesteby, Facilitator for the Advance Iowa CEO Roundtables

As expected the Corona Virus and the impact that it has had on CEOs across the state is the top subject of the CEO groups.  Although many of the meetings initially have been dealing with the funds that have been available to the businesses and the impact on the workforce; we have transitioned to how we are going to handle the future and what we have learned this far into the pandemic.

Each meeting we b... Read More