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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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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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Avoid Having “Have” Problems – Understand Your Responsibilities as a Successful Businessperson

Business succession planning is not a well understood profession. Consequently, I am commonly asked what do I really do? After confirming that "No, I am not a life insurance salesman," I commonly express that I deal with problems on the have side. After contending with the chuckling I endeavor to defend the virtue of what I do by explaining that have problems don't get much sympathy because of the assumption that people who are not wanting, really don't have problems. From my unique perspective, I assure you this is not the case.  

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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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Wimps Lose Out! Plan for the Future of Your Business

Succession planning is not a project, but an ongoing process requiring strength, resilience, and sometimes pure guts! Here are some steps to help you navigate the process of planning for the future and continued success of your business. 

  1. Develop a Vision – Affirm the concept that “the end must justify the means,” and take the first step for planning for the future of your business by developing a vision. This vision should be an inspiring and motivating mental image of what you want to see happen in the future such as: 

    • In 10 years, I want to be cruising on the Riviera while my business remains profitable! 
    • I want to build x-amount of value in my business so I can sell it by 2030 and live off the proceeds! 
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Busting a Succession Myth: Talent and Intelligence Are Overrated!

I know.  You thought you were supposed to pick the best and the brightest. Once upon a time so did I.  And then I learned a very important lesson:  The most talented person is not always the best person, and some people really are too smart for their own good.

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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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The Importance of Conveying Your Message to the Successor

The immigration debate rages on, as today a federal judge put Arizona’s immigration law on hold, therefore upholding the idea that illegal immigrants, or undocumented workers, depending on your leaning, have rights in the U.S, namely the right to enter our country on their own terms.

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Succession Planning Builds Value

The valuation of a business is an assumption of future productivity based upon the perception that the multiple value drivers at play within a business will continue.  An appraisal (of value) is simply an analytical assumption of the future productivity of current value drivers supported by historical performance combined with assumptions as to how those value drivers can be or will be impacted by future circumstances.  

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The Value of Pre-Marital Agreements

Building a healthy, strong, and long-lasting marriage requires a lot of hard work. Good marriages don’t happen by default, they require intentionality and equality of contribution and effort by both spouses. Unfortunately, even the best of relationships endure many significant challenges. As one marriage psychologist said, “Marriage is really, really, really, really, really hard work for about the first 20 to 25 years…and then, it starts to get kind of good.” This may be an overly negative statement, but it reflects the reality that establishing the foundation of a long-lasting, healthy, and fulfilling marriage is not easy.

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The Difference between a Family Member Employee and a Successor

A client who managed the family business alongside his two siblings recently told me his son was graduating and he wanted to develop a plan for his son to join the business. The client wanted this successor development curriculum so he could give his son the assurance that he was being fast tracked.  He stated it was very important for his son to catch up to his cousins who entered the business six years earlier, otherwise his son may not be considered as a viable successor candidate.  I responded with an explanation that a family business could have the good fortune to have more than one successor. 

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Rediscovery: The Secret to Life Transitions

Regardless of the kinds of activities you follow – sports, music, movies, politics, etc. – you’ve probably wondered why some people hang around for so long, and sometimes too long. Brett Favre may have played one season too many. Frank Sinatra may have sung a few years too many. Why it happens is fairly simple; and how it happens should be a lesson to all of us. 

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Succession Planners, Exit Planners, Family Business Advisors: What’s the difference?

Succession planner, exit planner and family business advisor are terms often used interchangeably providing the assumption that they all share the same meaning. While the exit planner and family business advisor endeavor to address some components of succession planning, there is a clear distinction between their limited scope and the comprehensive mission of a succession planner.  

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Financial Affairs - Eliminate Surprise For Your Loved Ones

A few 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 contents of 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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Take a Succession Snapshot - Do you Know Where You Stand?

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About The Rawls Group - Business Succession Planners

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The Succession Matrix - What You Need To Know about the Issues Impacting Your Succession Goals

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Family Business Succession Planning Process

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Family Dyamics and Governance - A Positive or Negative Influence

 “Families” comes in all forms, shapes and sizes including in-laws, cousins, children, step children and even business partners who are also best friends. The relationships you have with those in your formal and informal family have a positive or negative impact on the achievement of your business goals and succession vision. Bickering among active and even inactive family members can frustrate, distract and weaken the focus and commitment of the management team that includes you!

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