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As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Resolutions - Looking Forward

As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Resolutions - Looking Forward

In our last article, "Reflections - Past, Future, Present" we talked about reflections and how the holiday season is the one time of year that we find ourselves reflecting, without even trying. In addition to reflecting during the holiday season, as a new year begins again, we are also no doubt thinking about what we would like to do differently, stop doing, or that new thing we would like to try. We commit to a decision, and start off January with a new focus.

The reality is that resolutions tend to fall short as time goes on. We start out strong, but I bet you can attest to not always sticking to the resolution. You are in a very small minority if you have achieved your resolution throughout the year. What about your franchise business? As you have reflected on the past year, have you considered resolutions for the new year? Are you committed to keeping them throughout the year, and do you have a mechanism in place to ensure you do not fall short on your commitment?

 

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As Seen in Automotive Buy Sell Report - Three Steps to Making Business Planning Fun for a Dealer

As Seen in Automotive Buy Sell Report - Three Steps to Making Business Planning Fun for a Dealer

Some things in life are actually fun to plan, such as weddings, vacations, and special celebratory events. The planning that goes into the event usually leads to a happy outcome, regardless of how long the planning takes and even if there are bumps along the way.

Business Planning, on the other hand, can get a bad rap. Even mentioning business planning to a fast-moving, high-energy dealer makes his or her eyes begin glaze over. So how do we make business planning fun, exciting, and worthwhile for dealers?

Step 1: Think Big

Envisioning what you want your dealership to be is one of the reasons you became a dealer. Allow yourself to think big in the areas of facility design, approaches to attracting and retaining talent, and developing unique customer acquisition/service initiatives. Think: What could I do today that would forever change the way I do business?

  • What can you do to capitalize on in the dealership to drive performance (New/used Car Sales, Parts, Service, etc)?
  • What can you do to build a rewarding culture for your people?
  • What sort of actions are you taking to stay ahead of changes in the industry, including continued generational diversification and new technology in both operations and automobiles?

Read the complete article on the Automotive Buy Sell Website website

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As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Reflections - Past, Future, Present

As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Reflections - Past, Future, Present

As we prepare for a new year we often focus on keeping/growing what we have gained, or minimizing what we have lost. We also tend to get tunnel vision on growth and what the new year will bring. And, we cannot help but reflect on the past year as we look forward to where we want to take our business.

Reflecting on the direction of your business is a healthy exercise to provide insight into the future. You can look at trends, customer activity, and all those operational things that dictate what we think the next year is going to look like from a profitability perspective. However, where we sometimes fall short is in reflecting on those “touchy-feely” things that have the biggest impact on the growth of the business. The reason these things have such a big impact on the business is because they have to do with people and people have feelings.

For example, if you had to stop for a moment and reflect on the past year, what would be the first three things that come to mind? Growth in profit? Growth in portfolio? Growth in locations or brands? But what if you were challenged to reflect on your leadership and what you have done to ensure the sustainability and growth of your franchises through your people? Or better yet, what have you done to ensure the sustainability and growth of your people?

 

Read the complete article on the Multi-Unit Franchisee Website website

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Case Study – 50/50 Partnerships Impact Business Decisions

Industry: Franchise

Company Overview: First generation, multi-unit and multi-brand business across several state lines

Challenge: 50/50 first generation business owners. One partner actively involved in the day to day operations, while the other has become less active, yet very much involved in overall business decisions.

Second generation family members and a few “friends of the family” are becoming interested in the business. The partners have different opinions about the strategic direction of the business, compensation plans based upon their contributions, and the appropriate way to integrate and develop family member employees in the business. Partner conflict is impacting teamwork and performance.

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What Should I Do If I Have More Than One Qualified Successor?

First, consider yourself blessed. The majority of businesses I have encountered do not have an available, capable or committed successor. On occasion, I encounter situations where there are multiple potential successors who appear to have the capability and passion, but lack the experience. The best advice I can give you is: do not make a hasty decision. Ponder it for awhile.

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5 Steps to Streamlining Your Business

Another initiative that, in my educated opinion, has the ability to set your company apart from the competition is streamlining your processes. Nobody, but nobody, likes to be told how to do their job. This is why this issue sets organizations that excel at it apart. Standard operating processes lay the foundation upon which an organization that desires long-term sustainability can build. These processes are not intended to be constraining. They are intended to provide the parameters of operation, like the banks of a river. When the water remains inside the banks, it’s powerful and productive. When it overflows those banks, it’s powerful and destructive…and very messy!   

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Setting Boundaries: How to Avoid Family Business Entanglements

A principle I'm reminded of on a daily basis is: “It is far easier to get entangled than it is to get untangled.” If you've ever tried to unravel a tangled up web of string you know what I'm talking about. Entanglement almost seems to be an effortless exercise whereas untangling can tax even the most patient of personalities.

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Operating Your Business Like it’s Always For Sale

In early October, Berkshire Hathaway announced it had agreed to buy Van Tuyl Group, the nation’s largest privately held auto dealership group. Warren Buffet, having dipped his toes into the automotive industry by taking a stake in GM, sees the opportunity to replicate Van Tuyl’s success by consolidating dealership groups throughout the Sunbelt.

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Bulk Up and Charge Up - How Vacation Can Reveal Your Business' Bench Strength

I recently wrote an article about managing one’s business as if it were always for sale. One of the key points was getting management proficient at running the business successfully in the owner’s absence. But what about management’s absence?

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Planning Techniques

“Is there anything your father should have done that he didn't regarding his estate planning?" "Yes" said the son...

That question was posed by the father’s original dealership partner (now in his 80’s) to the son several years after the father’s death at a meeting in which I participated. The son, who is a highly successful auto dealer, was very emphatic in his response. “Dad was unwilling to do anything because he thought he would be losing control. We were lucky – the timing of his death was during good market conditions when our dealership products were hot and the real estate market allowed us to sell assets needed to pay the estate taxes. We could have lost everything!” 

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Living in Dad's Shadow - When Kin Can Cash In

"I love coming to work every day!” exclaimed the 81- year old dealer. No doubt and he definitely still had plenty of gas left in his tank! Energetic and mentally sharp, his idea of “retirement” was to come in to work at 10:00 a.m. (“but I stay at least until 5:00 p.m.”). As the founder of his dealership empire, he was extremely proud of what he had accomplished and still felt he could contribute and run the business if he had to. So what’s the problem? 

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Successor Development: 5 Key Indicators for Evaluating a Successor

If multiple successor candidates are available, it is important for you as the business owner to objectively approach selecting the successor leader. To evaluate the candidates, you can use what I refer to as the 5 C’s, which are five key traits your ultimate successor should have. 

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I Love My Kids Equally but They Don't Produce Equally

“How do I resolve this issue? If I don’t address this, there will be a mess after I’m gone, but if I open up this can of worms, my life may be hell and my family will be in a uproar.” I asked this frustrated dealer if he was paying his sons the same amount and not surprisingly he said, “yes”. “Do they own equal amounts of stock?” Again, the answer was “yes”. Clearly he had identified the problem but did not know how to resolve it. In almost 25 years of working with car dealers, I have heard this story retold many times. Why? What is the impact upon Succession Planning? 

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How Do I Motivate My Children to Choose a Career in the Family Business?

I am commonly asked "How do I motivate my children to choose a career in my business?" Motivation is the ability to influence others to take action. Exterior influence, both positive and negative can generate short-term influence. However, as soon as the source of the influence is no longer present, the motivation begins to dissipate. My belief is that you cannot genuinely motivate someone. Your best hope is to help them internally choose a positive opinion towards your desired actions. 

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How to Deal with the Sensitive Issues of Succession Planning

If you’ve been thinking about succession planning, you already know there’s a lot to consider.  Dealing with estate minimization, tax avoidance, gifting, buy/sell agreements, etc., etc., can give people major headaches.  And then there’s the human element associated with the transition of wealth, family leadership, and business concerns from one generation to the next, where we sometimes trade headache for heartache.  

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Help! My Parent Won’t Give Me the Chance to Lead the Business

Sometimes when my partners and I make a presentation at a national conference for one group or another, we go through a skit in which members of successive generations go back and forth over which generation should “call the shots.” It ends with the younger generation member saying something along the lines of, “Dad, when am I ever going to have THE seat at the table?  I’ve been carrying this business for the last 20 years and you’re still telling me what to do.  For crying out loud, I’m 53 years old!”  

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Thoughts on Succession Planning and the Business Life Cycle

As a succession planner I am avidly seeking to motivate business owners to take action. Unfortunately, I am not batting 1,000 due to a variety of reasons. Beyond my personality quirks and communication shortcomings, there are many business owners who do not want to become engaged. Irrespective of my attempt to demonstrate how "succession planning builds value" they have limited, if any, interest in addressing the issues that impact the continuation of business success. Timing may be bad or other priorities may be dominating if not consuming excess mental energy. Or perhaps these business owners lack the motivation and experience to spend time and money on something that will not fall strictly into their personal column of benefits. 

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How to Use Your Business Processes to Build a Solid Reputation

A client and I were walking back to my car when she asked, “When should we start to get concerned about our business reputation?” After a few seconds of thought, I answered “Well, if you wait until you have one, it could be too late. So I suppose the best time to be concerned about your reputation is before you actually have one. Then you still have time to help shape it rather than recover from it.”

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Business Structuring and How it Can Impact Long-Term Goals

Business structuring deals with the mechanical aspect of how your business operates. The structure of your business has a direct impact upon items such as business taxation, control of business ownership, gift and estate tax on business transfers, and shareholder access to cash flow. As a business owner, it is critical that you or an experienced advisor understands the details relating to corporate structures and agreements between directors, owners, and key managers as they have a significant influence upon your business’ success and longevity.

 

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50/50 Partnership Not Working Anymore - How to Resolve While Still Maintaining a Working Relationship

Partnerships are curious animals.  Two or more people start off with a great idea; decide there’s some synergistic benefits in working together; shake hands; and start off with the very best of intentions.  And then everyone lives happily ever after.  

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