Orlando Succession Planning


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






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.



Daniel Thill, COO, CFP®






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



David Ciambella, CFP®






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



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






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.



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.



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.



What Is a Family Business?

I have always believed that family has a built in advantage in business. From my perspective the natural behavior of family provides both governance and teamwork benefits. Unfortunately some families leverage their natural behaviors better than others. The wide variation of performance among family businesses brings up the question, “What makes some family businesses better than others?”

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1399 Hits

I've Sold My Business, Aren't I Done With Succession Planning?

Recently I was invited to speak to a group of successful business owners about the various aspects of succession planning (what I refer to as the Succession Matrix). The Succession Matrix consists of ten interdependent factors that business owners must successfully address to improve the odds that their business will successfully make the transition to and through the next generation of owners and managers. Addressing these factors is important regardless of whether you plan to sell your business or plan to keep it in the family. Often times these critical factors are ignored and unfortunately result in the business becoming another casualty.

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1464 Hits

Successor Development - How to Use Adversitity to Your Advantage

The news media is doing an incredible job of flooding the airwaves with negativity day after day. Employers, employees, their families and their communities have been impacted by the economic downturn and likely would unanimously agree that business is tough. It has been my experience that some of the most valuable lessons I learned have come from dealing with tough times and learning to overcome adversity. In this regard, the economic downturn presents an incredible opportunity! The question is: are you prepared to capitalize on the opportunity?

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1445 Hits

Effective Leadership - You Set the Tone

A few days ago I came across the following piece titled IT'S UP TO ME by Haim Ginott

“I've come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It's my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.”

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How Important is an Operating Board of Directors for Your Family Business?

I am just back from an Operating Board of Directors meeting with a long standing client that brings to light several important business succession theorems. As a refresher, an Operating Board of Directors is a Board of Directors that actually operates. In contrast, ninety-nine percent of the Board of Directors of closely held companies are perfunctory. The directors never actually meet or provide oversight accountability. The attorney or Secretary prepares boiler-plate minutes for directors to endorse and satisfy annual regulatory requirement.  I had convinced this Board consisting of a 77 year old widow and her two sons that it was prudent to come out of their offices and endeavor to work together to provide oversight to a recently hired new CEO.

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Operating Board of Directors - Good Meetings Rarely Just Happen

So as previously described, we have now had our first Operating Board of Directors meeting after twenty-five years of dancing around and not substantively working together to supervise or operate the business. The new CEO has got his feet on the ground and had demonstrated that he is a superior manager as compared to his predecessor.  All are generally comforted that the new CEO decision appears to have been appropriate. Furthermore, there are a few other family business pearls of wisdom to be learned from this experience. 

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Operating Board of Directors - Members Vs. Participants

So as previously described, an Operating Board of Directors needs a plan of operation. Just coming together to discuss operations and hold management accountable does not work. The plan will deliberately address what part of operations should be discussed and what is a waste of time; what are reasonable benchmarks for management accountability? These are reasonable questions that do not get addressed by random luck. There must be a plan and a process to get the most out of the time invested in an Operating Board of Directors.

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Is Your Family a Liability to Business Value?

“We want you to be part of our family” is the common accolade. “We want to think of you as one of our children and we hope you feel the same. Make yourself at home and we will treat you like one of our own.”

To be considered a part of the family is a compliment in any social setting. You have standing. You can be counted upon and you can expect the benefit of the doubt. The more perceived social, political or financial power imputed to a family, the greater the compliment. Within the family business realm, being told you are a member of the family generally creates an immediate feeling of prestige reflective of the depth and breadth of the family’s business.

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1911 Hits

Aging Parents? What is Guardianship and Why You Should Do Everything to Avoid It

Many of us have moved from home and have ageing parents at a distance. This distance does not impact our love or concern. We stand ready to fly in and provide care and attention in the event of the inevitable needs or challenges associated with ageing.  Beware of vermin lying in wait for good intended children endeavoring to attend to parents at a distance!  Specifically, as I have personally experienced over the last six years with my Mom and Dad several states away in N. C. from which hopefully you can avoid problems associated with long distance guardianship or probate. 

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1539 Hits

What You Should Know About a Long Distance Probate

The challenges and opportunities of careers have moved many of us away from home. Many of us continue to enjoy going back for a dose of that unconditional parental love and to hang with old friends.  However over time, we become aliens in our home towns unable to relate to an environment that does not seem to keep up with time. Furthermore, as many of us have learned, there are challenges associated with attending to ageing parents from a distance.

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1708 Hits

Are Your Bases Covered? - There are Loved Ones Dependent Upon You

Although many of us feel we are in control of every aspect in our lives, the first week of November rudely reminded us how fragile life truly is. The unexpected massacre in Fort Hood, Texas changed the lives of countless families and friends, especially those who lost loved ones. Imagine for a moment you went to work today and due to some unexpected tragedy such as the deadly shooting at Fort Hood, did not make it home? How would that financially and emotionally impact your spouse or significant other? How about your children? What about your business? Be truthful. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best, how well have you prepared for the unexpected?

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1646 Hits

Financial Affairs - Eliminate Surprise For Your Loved Ones

Thirteen years ago, a new client who lost his wife prematurely came to me with a large box full of papers that included several pieces of financial information including a dozen or so old life insurance policies. He had no idea if the life insurance policies were in force or not. Needless to say, investigating the content in this large box was quite time consuming. During one of the lowest points in his life, losing his wife of thirty years, this gentleman and his children were tasked with pulling the pieces of their financial puzzle together.

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2015 Hits

Criticism is Criticism Irrespective of Intentions

As mentioned previously there are two issues implicit to this question. I previously addressed the motivation of an adult child when affirming the desired behavior has not worked and “tough love” is not practical because the reaction of the non conforming child is intolerable.  Unfortunately there are not many options other than what I described: avoiding confrontations to maintain a relationship while conveying “be respectful because your current behavior will impact your access to my estate after my death”.

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1673 Hits

Family Business Issues: Love, Tough Love and Letting Go

“Loyd I have tried tough love and it did not work.”

Such was the frustrated, emotional exclamation of an 83 year old business owner trying to deal with a 58 year old son who was apparently acting like a teenager. According to the explanation, irrespective of pleads by his parents who were technically in control of the business, the son would spend from the family’s business on his personal desires and wants. Based upon the dad’s description, the son stepped across the line one day and could not tell the difference between the reasonable and the ridiculous.

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1636 Hits

How to Overcome Management Resistance

“My managers just don’t agree with what I say.” Such was the frustrated, emotional exclamation of a 50 year old successor trying to assume leadership of the business his father had transferred to him through a ten year succession process. “I just struggle to get them to agree with me.”

“Are you struggling to get your managers to agree with you? What’s wrong with this picture”, I responded in dismay.

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The Gift That Can Keep On Giving for A Lifetime, By Denise Ware

It is Christmastime! A time where traditions of warm apple cider, eggnog, milk and cookies for Santa, fruit cake, candy canes, gingerbread houses, Yuletide Carols and various traditions that have been handed down through generations. Family members look forward to Christmas with excitement and anticipation, especially the little ones with great expectations. A big part of Christmas is the gift giving that occurs among family and friends. You spend a great deal of time and money to pick out just the right gift for that special someone. Sometimes when it is difficult to find the perfect gift, gift giving becomes a burdensome chore. This year we have the ideal solution for your gifts to family.

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840 Hits

How to Use Management "Turf Wars" for Management Development Opportunities

Management mudslinging is the low percentage, high stakes process of advancing high performance employees to management positions without appropriate preparation, training or coaching. Apparently the presumption is that management is an easy job. Wow! How could someone ever conclude that motivating others to enthusiastically and effectively do what others want done is easier than looking out for yourself?  Or maybe there is something to the premise that employees naturally want to do what managers want done. Unless you have a short memory of your days as an employee, you recognize that the only “something” applicable to that premise is “malarkey”.  No doubt in consideration of the loss of a business owner’s resources (time, people and money) management mudslinging is a very expensive practice. In light of the ridiculousness of the logic relative to the cost, the only reasonable conclusion is that management mudslinging exists only due to ignorance, laziness or irresponsibility, none of which are long term traits of business owners.

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1420 Hits

A Super Star Salesman May Not be the Best Manager - Make Sure They Got It

Mudslinging appears to be alive and well in family business. No I am not talking about the intra family emotional skirmishes where one or all parties say awful, hurtful things that they don’t mean. The mudslinging I am talking about occurs when highly motivated and successful sales persons, technicians, engineers, etc distinguish themselves through dedication, hard work, loyalty and exemplary performance. Consequently ownership recognizes them as rising stars by promoting them to management. Preparation for the new challenge" usually consists of a well-done pat on the back and proud reaffirmation that “we promote from within”. And this is effectively where the mudslinging begins as in let’s just see what these guys have got. Let’s see if they can handle the new challenge as in “if the mud sticks against the wall then maybe we’ve got something here.”

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1582 Hits

What You Should Know About Your Management Development Program

The ultimate success of both large and small companies is determined by how well they recruit and develop managers to train, guide, motivate and hold accountable the employees who are on the front lines with customers. I would not deny that some stellar employees just naturally evolve into good managers. However the vast majority of highly effective managers learned the core competencies of management in the school-of-hard-knocks. Taking two steps forward and one step backwards they became testimonies to my philosophy that “success is based upon the failures we learn from”. But my point is that although these over-comers are proud of their achievement, they readily admit that their failures were very expensive for all concerned. So consider these fundamentals that any company, large or small can use as a foundation to a management development program that will bring big time long term rewards.

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1550 Hits

How to Align Incentives with Management Talent

I am a big believer that your business is only as good as the people you have working for you. When it comes to attracting and recruiting high quality, team-minded individuals, some companies do a better job than others.  Over time these individuals distinguish themselves within your organization through their positive attitude, commitment to your core values and performance. You know who these individuals are and at times you wonder how successful your business could be if only you could replicate these impact players. Alternatively, you may be thinking that this individual is so important to your business that you could least afford to lose him or her. So how do you acknowledge, affirm, motivate and retain them?

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1616 Hits