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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Across Iowa, we are experiencing a ‘silver tsunami’ of aging baby boomers. One area of our economy we know this will affect is the changing of ownership in family-owned companies.  It is well documented that only about 30 percent of family firms make it to Generation 2 (G2) and a tiny 12 percent make it to Generation 3 (G3).  These transitions must be planned carefully and proactively to ensure the firm survives. 

So how do we do that? 

Let’s consider a simplified five-step approach to help organize what can be a very challenging process:

1. Communicate Objectives/Goals/Timelines

The focus here is on “Communicate”.  Existing ownership and the next generatio... Read More

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

As owners set out to begin creating a written Exit Plan, they may want to know that the most successful owners tend to establish their goals before they begin implementing a process. This newsletter outlines the three types of goals most owners set

With the new year upon us, many people have begun their journeys to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions. For business owners, it’s no different. Between creating goals for the business to achieve and assuring that the business keeps growing, owners will have much to consider this year. One of the goals most commonly shared by owners is to successfully exit their businesses over the... Read More

Thursday, December 21, 2017

It’s the Christmas season – which for a lot of us is a busy time of gift buying, wrapping, and quality time with your in-laws.  However, if you have the job of Programming Manager for the Freeform Channel (what a sweet gig) – this is when you book that trip to Maui.  It’s basically an auto-shuffle of “Elf”, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The Polar Express, and of course The Santa Clause franchise.

I found myself scrolling the channels last night and stumbling upon Tim Allen’s version of Saint Nick.  The bowl game that was on didn’t look very interesting, so somehow I zoned out on The Santa Clause – Part 1 (which should have been the only one made in my humble opinion)  But... Read More

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

When planning business exits, many owners overlook the possibility that they will die or become permanently incapacitated before they complete their exits. In such tragic cases, owners’ families are often left responsible for the business, whether they want it or not. This newsletter presents strategies that can help families of deceased owners handle business matters in the most difficult times.​

As owners approach their business exits, one topic that’s often overlooked is unexpected death or permanent incapacitation. One reason owners gloss over this topic is because it injects an uncontrollable element into a controlled process. Many successful business owners take pride in th... Read More

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