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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

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
Tuesday, August 08, 2017

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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

Monday, July 17, 2017

A focus on current businesses and strategic growth combined with increased educational opportunities and strong, dedicated private and public partnerships has created a vibrant and diverse Dubuque-area economy. The area has done a complete turnaround from the days in the 1980s when it had one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation with more than 20 percent of people out of work.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Unless owners plan to protect their wealth before they have it in hand, they cannot take advantage of all of the potential benefits of the tools in the wealth-preservation arsenal. A case study illustrates how an owner used one of those tools, a grantor retained annuity trust, to achieve financial security, provide for his family, and minimize taxes. 

Full disclosure: Wealth-preservation planning can’t help any of us cheat death, but it can help business owners avoid taxes and achieve financial security.

The ideal Exit Plan (one that provides the business exit you desire) includes a strategy to help you preserve your ha... Read More

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Season 5, Episode 8 was “The Barber”.  The plot goes something like this:  Jerry has been loyal to his barber, Enzo, for 12 years.  His haircuts have gone downhill in quality over that time and his friends urge him to move on.  So Jerry goes in to see Enzo’s nephew Gino for a haircut, thinking it was Enzo’s day off.  It wasn’t, and Jerry ends up with another bad Enzo hair cut – really bad.  To Jerry, the rubber band of loyalty (I just came up with that analogy myself, not bad) has stretched to the point of snapping.  It’s going to hurt, but it’s time to move on to a new barber. 

Now you might be asking why is a balding, middle aged man like myself writing about hair?  What experti... Read More

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

There is a strong case for creating a buy-sell agreement for co-owned businesses. If owners agree about how to appraise business value and set the terms of payment in advance of any transfer event, they can avoid the heated and often damaging negotiations that can occur when one owner leaves the company.

In this issue, we continue making our case for buy-sell agreements by outlining several other advantages of a well-drafted and recently reviewed buy-sell agreement.

Controls Transfers

A buy-sell agreement can control all transfers of business ownership to the benefit of both the owner... Read More

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