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8 Tips for Growing Your Capital Assets: Time, People, and Money

Businesses have three primary resources or forms of Capital:   Human Capital (people relationships); Temporal Capital (time management); and Financial Capital (liquid/illiquid assets).  Each of these is interconnected adds or detracts from the value of a business.

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Stumped By Succession Issues - The Succession Matrix Will Help You Find Your Way Out

Two weeks ago I received a phone call from a business reporter who writes mostly for and about one specific industry.  The reporter reads the blogs that my partners and I write, which are about succession planning; and he/she wanted to talk with one or more of us for background information on a story being written about succession planning for families in the industry.

After the usual exchange of pleasantries, we got to the article.  The first question was really quite typical:  How much succession planning experience do you have in this industry (i.e., how many industry clients)?  In a way, this is simply a variation on the wicked queen’s “Mirror, mirror on the wall” question from the Snow White fairy tale.

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How to Create Opportunity from Disruption

In 1970, Alvin Toffler introduced the term “information overload” in a book called Future Shock.  Forty years ago, Toffler wrote about the impact of the accelerating rate of technological and societal change.  In a nutshell, he predicted that we humans would be left disconnected and suffering from “shattering stress and disorientation”.   

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Make Sure What You Have Is What You Need - The Importance of Reviewing Your Planning

You may have heard the saying “the only thing that remains the same is change,” and that is especially true when it comes to planning for the future of your business.  My partners and I are constantly reminding clients that change will be a constant in their succession planning environment especially as it relates to their feelings, finances, family and federal tax laws. As these changes occur, reviewing and updating various aspects of your planning is imperative. While at times this can appear to be inconvenient, it will ensure you maintain proper alignment and ultimately increase the probability your succession plan will succeed.

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What is the True Meaning of Survival?

How do you define succession? It’s a mouthful – so be prepared. The definition is “The formal definition is the continuation of success through the next generation of owners and managers through proactive reconciliation of predictable, probable and possible contingencies.” Yes, that is an intense definition, so let’s not dwell on the formal definition any more. So what’s the practical definition of succession? SURVIVAL!

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Success - It is a Shared Thing

As a survivor who has passed the foremost trial of succession, it’s a good time to make an assessment of the things you have done right.  There is no future dwelling on the negative. On the bright side, your survival affirms my theory that as a survivor, there is nothing you do wrong that cannot be many fold reconciled by the things you do right. As expressed earlier, success is not always defined in terms of those thin disguises purchased with prior profits. How many examples have you seen of people with mansions, yachts and jets going bankrupt? Success, which comes from the things you are doing right, is a NOW thing. 

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Does Survival Mean Success?

Hopefully you buy the Right Reconciliation Theory: assuming you have survived, there is nothing you do wrong that cannot many fold be reconciled by the things you do right. I know there are many ways of taking exception to this theory but from a succession planning perspective, it works. There are ten diverse components to the Succession Matrix that give plenty of opportunity to do things right and wrong. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses which from a realistic perspective means that on the norm, we are doing some things right and some things wrong. As an example we could be knocking the market dead with profitability while being totally insensitive to the development of a successor. Or reciprocally we could be so involved in the development of our successor that organizational productivity falls through the basement.

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Beating the Odds: Four Building Blocks to Create Change

recent survey of 3,199 business owners and executives indicates that only about 30 percent of programs addressing “change” succeed.  Where 30 percent sounds low, that is considerably higher than the success rate of programs addressing generational changes of business ownership or succession.  If both programs involve managing new behaviors, why is the success rate for one so much higher than the other?

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3 Keys to Inspire Change

There are four building blocks that serve as cornerstones for successful change and, by extension, successful business and family transitions.  These four are:  Inspiration; Stake in the Game; Tools; and, Feedback.

A truly rational person, Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, relies on common sense to convince others to move in a certain direction.  This approach, with all its logical merits, often results in misdirected resources of people, time, money, and unintended consequences for one simple reason.

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How and When to Turn Over or Sell the Reins

Today, let’s talk about how you set the stage for a graceful and timely exit.  Depending upon your disposition of the business – sale, family transfer, outside management - some of the steps listed below may take anywhere from a few years to a couple of decades to implement effectively.  So, the sooner you begin this process, the sooner you will be able to begin climbing other mountains. 

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Are You Falling Victim to the "Can't Leave" Syndrome?

In August of 1972, the celebrated childrens’ author Dr. Seuss addressed the issue of succession planning.  His chief character in the book, “Marvin K. Mooney – Will You Please Go Now!” just couldn’t bring himself to get out of the way and let someone else take center stage.  Almost two years later, in July of 1974, Dr. Seuss changed his main character’s name to Richard M. Nixon and sent his revised book to columnist Art Buchwald.  Buchwald received permission to publish the revised lyrics; and nine days later, on August 8, Richard M. Nixon went.

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Goals: Turn Them Into Reality

We probably all know a lot of people and businesses with bold, audacious goals.  Some of them get accomplished.  Some of them don’t.  What happens to those that don’t?

After years of working with individuals, families, and various types of business organizations, I have come to the conclusion that people who realize their goals have a plan for doing so.  They are not content to be “dreamers”; they focus instead on being “doers”.

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Recipe for Success

Recently I had the privilege of attending a business Hall of Fame induction ceremony in the Midwest for one of my clients and several other business owners and leaders in his community. While each of the inductees had diverse business experiences and backgrounds, they shared several common traits which include: developing and articulating their vision, passion, humility, supportive families, winning attitude, innovative, surrounded themselves with the right people and promoted teamwork. These individuals knew where they wanted to go and were relentless in their pursuit to achieve excellence in their business and also giving back to their community. After hearing each of the individuals speak, it was apparent to me that the common traits listed above could be a recipe for success in your business as well.

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Are You Caught In The Right "Wonderloop" for Driving Business Growth for Your Business?

More than a few years ago, several of us would record music segments and splice them together to create what we called a “wonderloop.” Sometimes the only wonder was why we did it in the first place.

After getting involved in the business world, I discovered that the wonderloop concept was transferable. In business, it wasn’t music or sounds that I wanted playing over and over. It was product or service performance.

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4 Steps for Improving Decision Making and Business Performance

Recently, a CEO friend was ranting about the poor judgment shown by her senior management team. “What I need around here,” she said, “are some good problem solvers and decision makers.” She used several more minutes to vent; and then she asked for my thoughts.

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Think You're Too Young To Begin Succession Planning - What You Should Know That May Change Your Mind

Translation: “I am bullet proof and have no intention of dying prematurely”, “I am not interested in enhancing business productivity, profitability and teamwork”, “The business is all about me” and “I am not interested in protecting the value of my business and the welfare of my family”. Do you realize that when you state you are too young to begin succession planning this is what you are actually saying? Think about it!

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Have You Fallen for One of the Biggest Succession Planning Misconceptions?

How many of you actually believe that you indeed “have it all done” when it comes to your business succession plan? Come on, be truthful. I know there are some of you who believe in your mind’s eye that you have done all you can to successfully transition your business. Many of your predecessors felt the same way you do, but the statistics speak for themselves: approximately 33% of family owned businesses succeed from the first generation to the second and approximately 10% successfully make it from the second generation to the third. The truth is, when it comes to business succession planning, there is no such thing as “having it all done” just like there is no such thing as achieving perfection. There is always something else to do!

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Business Growth - How to Leverage What You Already Have

The seeds for The New Marketing Method were first sown by a Frenchman known as Voltaire in 1759. Voltaire ended a short novel called Candide with these words: “… we must go and work our garden.” Think of that garden as your current customer/client base.

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5 Keys for Business Growth In Tough Economic Times

The question is, however, what does destiny look like? As I write this, I expect that the Dow will open below 7,000 for the first time in more than a decade. The S&P and the NASDAQ have also cratered but not yet bottomed. If I were “Chicken Little,” I would be saying that the sky is falling.

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What is in Succession Planning for Me, Beyond a Distraction and Bills?

What's in Succession Planning for Me?

Some things are more obvious than others. However, occasionally I am asked “why should I do succession planning?” My response is that succession is not a natural progression of an enterprise. You have a right not to care but if you don’t care, your employees, bank, strategic partners, and community who love you are going to resent you.

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