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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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How to Be a Better Leader Using Both Your Positional and Personal Power

Today, let’s talk about how you brand your use of power and influence within your business and/or within your family.

To begin, you should know that, for many years, I have maintained that the use of power and influence is at least the skeletal definition of leadership. Many have suggested that somehow the “intention” or the “outcome” also has to be considered; but, personally, I believe that gives leadership a moral connotation that is more properly the responsibility of the individual using leadership rather than leadership itself. I guess that’s another way of saying that some people give leadership a bad name.

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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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Family Dynamics and Business Performance - How Closely Are They Related?

In my previous two posts, "How to Find Balance Between Family and Business"  and "How to Achieve Balance Between the Family and the Business," I discussed two of the three steps great and enduring families engage in:

  1. They establish balance between family and business priorities.

  2. They work hard to convey this balance to and through the next generation.

  3. They pursue Succession Success.

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How to Achieve Balance Between the Family and Business

In my last post, "How to Find Balance Between Family and Business," I suggested that there are three things that great and enduring family businesses do:

  1. They are dedicated to creating a balance between family and business priorities.

  2. They proactively encourage and are dedicated to the family’s cohesive, supportive values that promote family and business balance.

  3. They achieve Succession Success.

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How To Find Balance Between Family and Business

“Oh, I’m just so tired of this. I want the business to continue, but I don’t want to be bothered with it anymore.” These words, recently voiced by a client, came out of addressing family dynamics that are impacting business decisions. There are a multitude of reasons to not address family relationship dynamics as they are impacted by the business and, conversely, they impact the business. True family leaders don’t cower in the face of these family challenges because they understand that their greatest asset is their family members. Instead, they boldly engage the family in dialogue and interactions that can at times be emotionally trying and nearly impossible to navigate.

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Treat Me Like Your Business Partner, Not Your Child

My previous blogs, “Business is Tough, But Life is Good” and Business is Tough, What an Opportunity” focused on the need for positive leadership and the opportunity this economy is presenting to provide invaluable experience for your successors. This posting provides a twist on the topic of successor development focusing on the child/business owner dynamic.

“I am tired of being treated like a child! If this is the way it is going to be, I would rather work somewhere else!” These are the words uttered by a frustrated client during a visit a few years ago. These sentiments are undoubtedly shared and echoed by countless family members throughout the United States and around the globe. There is no question, maintaining a healthy balance between business and family is extremely difficult to do. However, it is not insurmountable!

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Business Is Tough, But Life Is Good - How to Impact Employees Through Your Attitude

Last week, while making my way home from a few meetings in South Florida, I had the opportunity to meet a long standing client of our firm (let’s call him Mr. Wise) for dinner. He is respected as an intelligent, conservative business leader who has an excellent track record when it comes to evaluating business opportunities. Naturally, we talked about his family first and eventually the discussion transitioned to his businesses and the current state of the economy.

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What if the Manager Who Doesn't Get It Is One Of My Children??

Previously, we talked about the tendency to promote people into management positions because they are excellent performers who need advancement. Sometimes, that results in losing a high performer and not gaining a good manager/leader; so we gave you a list of ten questions to review prior to promoting someone – family member or not, into a more responsible position.

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Is It Enough To Save Your Business?

To say that the economy is bad is an understatement. The going is tough right now, and there is no denying it. How a business reacts to this environment and its own internal challenges are determined by its leadership. I see leadership in businesses reacting in many different ways, but the extremes of those reactions run from:

1) Ignore the problem, it will go away— 2) Benign neglect— 3) An honest to goodness willingness to make the necessary changes in the business.

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What Do I Do With Managers Who Don't "Get It"

Financial advisors tell us pretty quickly that the past performance of a stellar stock or fund is no guarantee of its future performance. Nevertheless, realizing that someone is in over his/her head can be a real shock to the person who put them in a position of greater responsibility.

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10 Questions To Evaluate If Managers Have What It Takes!

“He/She was so good before I moved them. I don’t know what happened.” That is said so often, it is almost unbelievable. The problem isn’t “them.” The problem is that you promoted excellent performers with a specific set of skills into a position that does not require what they are good at doing.

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How Do I select a Successor for My Business?

Very carefully! There is a great deal riding on this decision. Some of you have children actively involved in your business and, thus, naturally feel the above question does not apply to you. For a small minority of you, this may be true. You may indeed be blessed with a passionate, capable and committed successor. However, the vast majority should think again!

Approximately ten years ago, I met John Smith (fictitious name), a successful business owner, who was the proud father of three children. His oldest son, Harry, was active in his business. Unfortunately, Harry was not well respected by managers and employees in the organization. A logical question you may be asking is, why? Good question.

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How to Cut Back Without Crippling Your Organization

Around the proverbial water cooler, I have heard business owners discussing the reduction of expenses and, of course, we always end up on the topic of reduction of staff. During this last period of business expansion, we have steadily been increasing our staff due to increased sales volume, service support and ability to handle all of the administrative paperwork that flies in the wake of success. One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is to think about letting go the highest paid, most experienced employees for a less experienced, yet less expensive replacement. If you remember reading “Good to Great,” Collins maintains that it is essential to have the “right people on the bus” that will secure your long-term success. These talented people do the right things, at the right time, because it is the right thing to do, and usually without you having to micro-manage or browbeat them to get it done.

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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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Have You Thought Through Your Exit Strategy

In my experience as a succession planner I have encountered several business owners who have expressed a desire to transition their business to either family members or entrepreneurial key managers. Many of them believe they are ready to turn over the reins but all too often they have not considered all of the implications and the vast majority have done very little to facilitate an exit strategy for various reasons.

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The 10 Commandments for Integrating Family Member Employees Into Your Business

The Biblical assertion” to whom much is given, much is required” certainly applies to family member employees. Although the doorway to a career may be open and inviting, the pathway of family member employees has many challenges. No doubt, earning respect is a formidable task. As previously discussed, many of these challenges are good as they separate the pretenders from contenders. However, family member employees do not need handicaps. There is no reason to add unnecessary frustration, stress and humiliation to the inherently bumpy road that they must endure to achieve the training and experience needed to become a successor.  

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Do I Need a Succession Plan If I'm Going to Sell the Business?

Some would say “No.” And they might be right. However, I would encourage them to talk with Jay (not his real name) before they make a final decision.

We had been talking with Jay for several months about why a succession plan would be important to him. “My children have no interest in the business,” he told us. And, since he had no brothers, sisters, or other generational family members involved or interested in the business, he could see no practical value in moving ahead with our recommendations regarding succession planning. 

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5 Problems and Solutions in Estate Planning Trusts

Estate planning is an integral part of business succession planning. I am commonly asked what are the most common problems encountered in estate planning trusts.  There are so many problems with trust administration it is difficult to find a place to start or where to stop.  For lack of a better plan, let’s consider what I have found to be the top five trust administration problems:

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Vision, Conflict and Business

A clear, concise, well communicated, self-affirming vision is a critical component to the creation of an unstoppable family business succession plan.  However, just establishing a vision in this complicated world is not enough because in the business succession realm, this vision involves teamwork. Unfortunately those whom we endear, those whom we love, those whom we depend upon to continue our businesses and those who depend upon us for their careers can complicate our circumstances and the achievement of a succession vision that on a good day has many moving parts and on a bad day can appear mind boggling. In the midst of complications with family, key managers, lenders and vendors succession can become such a hassle that a business owner may want to isolate himself. Unfortunately this isolation is completely counter productive to the achievement of a vision that requires a team effort. Within the realm of business succession planning, the vast majority of these succession problems are cause by vision conflict. Allow me to explain this frustrating predicament and the remedy.

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