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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

You can now buy a subscription for everything from dog treats to razor blades. Music subscription services are booming as our appetite to buy tracks is replaced by our willingness to rent access to them. Starbucks now even offers coffee on subscription.

Why are so many companies leveraging the subscription business model? The obvious reason is that recurring revenue boosts your company’s value, but there are some hidden benefits to augmenting your business with a subscription offering.


Free Market Research

Finding out what your customers want is expen... Read More

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

For some business owners, a third-party sale is their best option for a successful business exit. Third-party sales are popular because owners often believe they can get the most money from their businesses in as little time as possible from a third-party buyer. They might be right. But what they may not consider is how little control they have over their businesses, their schedules, and even their futures once the third-party sale process begins. Consider the following case study:

After 35 years of building a successful manufacturing company, which employed about 100 people, Lemont Lemieux was ready to retire. Always a do-it-... Read More

Monday, October 23, 2017

GREENE - Dennis Hobson has owned and served as president for American Tool & Engineering Inc. in Greene for 25 years. A few years ago, he decided he'd like to someday retire.

Hobson attended a business seminar with his daughter, Sonja - who is transitioning to own the business with her brother, Matt - that started them on the path to pass the plastic molding company onto his kids. 

"What you hope for is you go to one of these, and every question you have is answered. 'Oh, I've got a plan now," Hobson explains. "Well, what you do is you go to one of those and you put up this idea and this idea, and then you maybe go to another one, and..." READ MORE

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


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

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

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
Monday, September 18, 2017

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

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