University of Northern Iowa




Wednesday, February 19, 2020

If you're like many business owners, your business plays a large  role in supporting your family's lifestyle. As you plan for your business' future, you may run into questions about how to treat family members fairly in your plans. This is especially crucial if you have children who work in the business and chidden who do not work in the business. 

When planning for your business' future success, you will likely need to address how you will eventually distribute your assets to children or close family members. As you address this issue, you may realize that what you consider fair is quite different from what your children and family consider fair. Consider the story of owner Bill... Read More

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

I draw on my favorite sitcom of all time, Seinfeld, whenever I can. Sometimes the metaphors have to stretch pretty far, so stay with me on this one. Kenny Bania was a hack stand up trying to make it as a comic. His bits were rough to say the least. He comes into contact with Jerry as a fellow comedian on the NYC comedy circuit. Somehow he befriends Jerry and his life is changed forever. And it all starts with peer learning.  Jerry takes Kenny under his wing and even writes a bit for him on the misleading name of Ovaltine. The joke goes over so well for Kenny that NBC Recruits him to do a new sitcom for them. With a little help from his peers, (in this case, Jerry) Kenny goes from a strugg... Read More

Thursday, January 09, 2020

5. You enjoy being alone for holidays – or really any time of the year for that matter.  

4. Your family finds a way to put the FUN in Dysfunctional! Why create structure and a level of understanding for family when a Magic 8 Ball is so much more fun – especially the reactions from family members as the dreaded “Better not tell you now” response comes up. 

3. The Next Generation of my family has no hope of being able to manage this company, so why bother. I just don’t see how any of them, including my own kids, could ever have the abilities that I have. The... Read More

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Last month I succumbed to the pressure/popularity of writing about top 5 lists. Well it worked! We had a tremendous response from last month’s entry on “why should I join a Peer Group”

This month I am going to focus on Reason #5 – Time to Work “on” the Business.  

It’s something business consultants talk about ad nauseam. Work “on” the business, don’t get sucked in to fighting fires, stay out of the operational vortex, etc. etc.  

It’s almost like my doctor telling me to watch my diet and exercise. As I sit here stuffing a cookie in my face, I realize the difficulty.  

So how do you make it happen? How do yo... Read More

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Des Moines cohort of the Family Business Next Generation Leadership launched on November 1st. 

Comments from those attending the first session: 

“I didn’t know what to expect, but am excited to learn with others that are in family businesses like myself.”  

“The leadership aspects to the program will be insightful and applicable to our family business.”  

... Read More
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

I was at the gym recently (within the last month I think) and noticed myself spending more time picking the next song on Pandora than I was exerting energy in any other way. So while I was building up finger dexterity and thumb muscles – the rest of my body was not exactly engaged.  I started off with the best of intentions – work out a couple times a week, maybe limit my Oreo consumption; you know, life transforming stuff. I lasted about a week and I could sense the Oreo’s anger at me, so I fell back into my old routine.  

I tell you this as... Read More

Monday, August 19, 2019

By Jayne Kielman, Business Development Representative

It always feels like we start to get to this time of year, summer is starting to wind down as those with kids start to anticipate sending them back to school. Vacations are over, the days are getting shorter and the mind starts to wander to “what’s next”? The UNI Family Business Forum hosted a series of Summer Family Business Reunion events around the state. Each of these provided different topics, a chance to meet a variety of new family businesses and to get feedback about “what’s next for family businesses”.  

This is a great transition into WHAT IS NEXT? For family businesses that question looms large for... Read More

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Summary: When is the right time to start planning? This article outlines three steps owners should consider taking as soon as possible. 

Many business owners believe they have plenty of time to create a successful plan for the future of their businesses. Most commonly, owners think that if they give themselves a few years, they can transform their businesses into whatever they need them to be: whether that means bigger, more valuable, or more easily sold/transferred. A... Read More

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Summary: What owners and family each consider fair can cause problems. This article addresses this concept. 

If you’re like many business owners, your business plays a large role in supporting your family’s lifestyle. As you plan for your business’ future, you may run into questions about how to treat family members fairly in your plans. This is especially crucial if you have children who work in the business and children who do not work in the business. 

... Read More
Monday, June 17, 2019

It seems obvious that a growing firm would be  a marketable business – potentially attracting several buyers to the table.  If so, the opposite should hold true: if your firm is struggling to repeat last year’s performance, your options as a seller will be few.

However, what I think is missing hereis the element of “Quality”.  Maybe not in the “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” kind of way – which I highly recommend as a great read to every business person – rather in terms of the how and the why .  First, how are you achieving growth... Read More