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Orlando Succession Planning

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Orlando, Florida - Headquarters

       1700 W. Colonial Drive
       Orlando, FL 32804
       407.578.4455 (T)
       407.578.4480 (F)

       Complete Company Directory

 

 

 Orlando City Scape, by Sky Noir

   

Loyd Rawls, CEO

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Loyd H. Rawls is one of the nation’s leading succession planners. Since 1973, Mr. Rawls and his associates have provided business succession services for the owners and key executives of closely-held, capital intensive family businesses throughout the country.

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Daniel Thill, COO, CFP®

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Dan specializes in asset management programs, investment analysis, investment planning and non-qualified deferred compensation plans.

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David Ciambella, CFP®

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David specializes in addressing and solving complex problems and issues that arise as a result of comprehensively addressing business succession.

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Russell Phillips, M.A., M.B.A

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Associated with The Rawls Group since 1995, Russell Phillips’ primary focus is working with business owners, key managers and family members on the varying relational issues that impact the business legacy and their pivotal relationships.

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Champ Rawls, CLU®

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Being a part of his own family’s business, Champ has a unique insight into the difficulties, challenges, and triumphs that our clients face when combining family and business.

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Dan Iosue, CFP®

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As a succession planner, Dan Iosue, CFP® leverages his more than decade of experience in corporate leadership and financial planning working with clients to help them achieve their long-term business goals.

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Dealing with Business Owner or Family Member Marginal Competency

The good news is that we are living longer and have more time to develop and deploy a business succession plan. The bad news is that many of us will outlive our mental capability while filling important management and leadership roles within the family business. Unfortunately incompetence is usually the result of a cognitive capacity transition that is stressful for both family and management. The no-man’s land of marginal competency creates a dilemma which can imperil family harmony and the welfare of the business.  The question is, should you mind your own business and repress your stress or should you call the question and run the risk of offending parent(s), family, friends, management and advisers? Based upon my experience both options compare to a root canal without Novocain.  Such is the nature of a family business dilemma; damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  Dealing with potentially marginally competent business owners or leaders is an unfortunate, emotionally volatile, pathetic family business predicament.

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How to Address Marginal Competency in a Family Member or Business Owner

Although an uncomfortable subject, it is reasonably predictable that some of us will outlive our brain. Advances in medical science have increased the likelihood of beating cancer and the likelihood that more of us will experience some degree of incompetence prior to death. Incompetence will be preceded by a transition with good days and bad days until at some point there will be confirmation that we are not able to manage our affairs. In a classic retirement environment this is no big deal. However in the family business realm where founders and subsequent successors commonly stay engaged well into their late 70’s and early 80’s because they are either addicted to the culture or they are an integral component of the success formula. In light of the difficulty self assessing competency and the emotions associated with telling a love one that they are losing their marbles, Marginal Competency represents a significant challenge to both the business mission and family harmony.

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How to Prepare for the Disability or Incompetence of a Business Owner

There is much estate planning discussion in the family business arena about incompetency. The classic result is that most estate plans include provisions for a designated party, usually a child or sibling to assume responsibility and control of a family member’s, usually a parent’s, business affairs in the event of disability or incompetence.  The goal is to avoid a very formal and cumbersome guardianship that in addition to the ongoing administrative expenses opens the family’s private affairs up to public scrutiny. The mechanisms for administratively assuming responsibility outside of a formal guardianship is a Durable Power of Attorney or the successor trustee provisions of a Living Revocable Trust.  The typical qualifier for these two mechanisms is usually affidavits from two independent physicians that the parent is unable to attend to their customary business affairs.

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How to Overcome the Family Business Curse - Enablement

I am frequently asked – “What is the biggest problem that family businesses face?” The ugliest problem by far is what I call The Family Business Curse: ENABLEMENT or FAMILY BUSINESS WELFARE which can be described as - able bodied, capable minded family members active or inactive in the business who for any number of excuses are not contributing, but are provided ongoing financial assistance/subsidy to keep their standard of living up to par with those that are sacrificing to make the business work.

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1598 Hits

Family Business Advisor Teamwork

Family businesses rely on teamwork. The family infrastructure sets the inherent expectations and role model (good or bad) for teamwork to management and employees. The family team concept should also apply to their advisors. Most families base their advisor decisions upon relationship, often times with tenure taking blind precedence over the quality of service.  Although I acknowledge that the average family business is increasing in sophistication, I continue to see abuse and malpractice caused by predators who are seeking to take advantage of the natural tendency of family business leaders to rely upon relationships to make important decisions. Unfortunately there are far too many wolves wearing sheep’s clothing.

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"Family" Business is Not a Bad Word

As I reflect on 38 years of experience in business succession planning I can confirm that there was a time when being categorized as a “family” business was not a compliment. The term was derogatory, considered synonymous with “mom and pop” business. This stereotyping had obvious exceptions but was more right than wrong with respect to pets laying around with assumed rights superior to visitors or employees; kids entering the business out of school as an expert because they had worked a few summers and then coronated with a vice president title, a parking place and a tricked-up office.

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How to Develop Strong Family Business Successors - Don't Fall Victim to the "Rescue Syndrome"

I doubt there will be any disagreement that parenting is a challenge. Surely anyone who has been privileged with offspring will agree. As a succession planner who is uniquely positioned within many families who are collaborating in business, I can affirm that bringing children into a family business greatly elevates the challenge of parenting. Family business is an oxymoron because family is an institution of unconditional acceptance whereas business is a institution of conditional performance.  As a result, being a parent can become even more challenging because, you can’t run a family like a business and you can’t run a business like a family.  As if the challenge of raising a child were not enough, the family business environment creates a constantly changing rule book. This can often lead parents to believe that the only hope for a child’s success comes with divine guidance toward a prayerful balance between unconditional love and performance accountability.

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Business and Profit - Doing More With Less

We have  been hearing a great deal about the unemployment rate lately as political pundits try to cast blame and gain leverage based upon the current 9% to 10% unemployment rate. For many years it has been presumed that the unemployment baseline was 3% to 4% and during good economic times it would rarely drop below 3%.   This dynamic gives some level of support to my personal theory that at least 3% of the US workforce is unemployable and the percentage is only increasing due to higher expectations. 

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Flexibility over Value - Is there a Shift in the Employment Teeter Totter?

As discussed in my previous post, our new economy has forced business’ to do more with less  causing the workforce to become more productive and resourceful.  The competition has created a contraction of margins that will not tolerate inefficiency, complacency, high wages or any presumption that future success can be achieved through practices of the past.  As a result, workforce competition has also increased and the rules have changed, causing the unemployment rate to rise.

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What Activities Should Be Required In Your Pre-Employment Program for Family Member Employees

 A Family Member Development Curriculum is a key ingredient for effectively bringing in a Family Member Employee (FME) into the business. As I expressed in a previous post, this curriculum yields the highest results when it is developed, monitored and periodically refined by a team that includes: the family member employee, the working parent or senior officer, a business mentor who is not a supervisor, an independent Certified Succession Planner™ and the current supervisor of the organizational department that the family member aspires to work or is working in at the time.

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Why You Should Create A Family Member Employee Development Team

I am constantly being introduced to family business owners who are just “winging it” with respect to preparing their family members to assume greater responsibility, contribute to productivity and ultimately assume a command and control position. The net result of “winging it” is that the family member generally floats around without genuine accountability and never makes life complicated for managers who would otherwise be held responsible for his/her development. Unfortunately, the average aspiring family successor entering a business has no more clue as to what they will encounter, what is expected of them and what respect, rights, compensation, benefits, etc they should anticipate than a naïve freshman entering college.

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1755 Hits

Why You Should Create A Family Member Employee Development Team

I am constantly being introduced to family business owners who are just “winging it” with respect to preparing their family members to assume greater responsibility, contribute to productivity and ultimately assume a command and control position. The net result of “winging it” is that the family member generally floats around without genuine accountability and never makes life complicated for managers who would otherwise be held responsible for his/her development. Unfortunately, the average aspiring family successor entering a business has no more clue as to what they will encounter, what is expected of them and what respect, rights, compensation, benefits, etc they should anticipate than a naïve freshman entering college.

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1572 Hits

Create Family Harmony Using These Three Words

Family communication and harmony are components of the Succession Matrix® that can support or undermine succession planning strengths and weaknesses. As I work with families engaged in business, I come to the conclusion that harmony is a common goal of all except those consciously committed to terrorism and chaos. Although there is a limit as to how long we can hang out with some family members, putting aside current resentments most of our wants are stable emotions and to interact with family members as joyfully and productively as possible.

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How to Find Common Business Goals Amongst Diverse Family Members

 Families consist of diverse personalities which inherently reflect the greatest challenge to harmony and productivity. There appears to be no end to the challenges presented by divergent personalities within a family. Nothing appears to accentuate inner family personality differences more than an attempt at business collaboration. Those families dedicated to unity and harmony achieve admiration and those who are prepared to do whatever it takes to get attention or make their point, regardless of the emotional collateral damage, create stress and achieve bizarre goals.  Just like the evening news, little attention is paid to the good guys who are affirming unity while headlines are given to the ones who are making life miserable for the rest of the family. In reality it takes conformist to start and build a family business and it generally takes “self aware” eccentrics to achieve extra ordinary levels of success.

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How to tie Key Manager Golden Handcuffs to Performance

A critical component of the Succession Matrix® is Key Managers Motivation and Retention. The classic response to this issue is development of a golden handcuff that uses “gold” in the form of deferred compensation to provide a “handcuff” through deferred vesting and covenants regarding competition and confidentiality. Noting that there are three generic classes of key managers (Key Manager, Special Key Managers and Very Special Key Managers), the structure of the golden handcuffs is dependent upon the unique psyche of each class of key manager.  For more background on how the attitudes and motivations of each class of key managers impact the design of a golden handcuff, consult my book dedicated specifically to this subject titled “The Succession Bridge”.

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Bigger versus Better: Business Growth and Succession Planning

Succession planning is all about the long-term continuation of success through the next generation of owners and managers. Discussions of long range success generally bring up the subject of growth. This is a natural discussion because inherent with the concept of being successful is the assumption that successful businesses are vibrant and “growing” businesses. Furthermore, there are many who believe that succession and growth are synonymous. This belief is based upon the assumption that if you are preparing for the continuation of success there must be growth because competition is increasing and margins are decreasing.

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Is Your Family Business Out of Balance? What You Should Know About the Family Business Equilibrium

Throughout my years as a business succession advisor I have witnessed a familiar set of actions and consequences across varying business types, which have resulted in constant turmoil and an imbalance in the “Family Business Acceptance Equilibrium.”   Since I have experienced so many businesses’ struggling with this common issue, it led me to give thought to why???  The culprit appears to be a confliction of attitudes that is blind, self centric and places a higher priority upon feelings, values or beliefs of one family member or key manager(s) versus the welfare of the organization as a whole. 

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Why it Takes 10 years to Confirm a Successful Family Business

Classically I believe it takes ten years to achieve confirmation as a “successful family business”. Up until approximately that point in time family leadership is being tested to determine if it has the moxy and versatility to maintain a workable balance and move closer to the optimum Family Business Acceptance Equilibrium unique to that family and business. Up until the ten year point from my perspective, most leaders do not know if compliant family and staff are simply tolerating insensitive “what have you done for me lately” conditional acceptance or appreciating the constant reaffirmation that “we are fam-a-ly” unconditional acceptance.

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Family Attitudes and Business Issues

More often than not, a weakness in what was prematurely perceived to be a successful family business is a reflection of predictable environmental wear and tear on both relationships and processes. Usually this wear and tear is due to the inability to achieve or maintain the Family Business Acceptance Equilibrium or Family-Business balance. 

Relationally, there may be great harmony or operationally  impressive nothing-slips-through-the-cracks accountability, however; regardless of past achievements, as a family business matures   success in both harmony and productivity that was initially easy to achieve   begin to be more challenging. Initially family members, eventually employees and ultimately on lookers recognize that there is something amiss. Business is no longer sufficiently gratifying for family members or productive for managers. Typically there is growing dismay as to why the business has become so difficult followed by the expenditure of significant time, energy and consulting dollars trying to tune up processes and procedures when the culprit lies within the culture of the business.

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How to Create Stronger Family Business Relationships - Respect and Trust are Experiential

The presence of respect and/or trust within a group confirms a Blood Related Business Group or a family in business. Love is sweet and it can indeed amplify both trust and respect but love is not a critical component of family or family business performance.  The respect and trust associated with healthy families provides the natural advantage with regard to accountability, governance and teamwork. This organizational natural infrastructure advantage is what can give a family a performance edge in business. The presence of both respect and trust and variations of each make some families more effective than others.

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