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Motivating Prospective Family Member Successors

Many of you have kids in high school, college or who have just entered the workforce. As you see them grow and mature, you have dreams of them working for the family business. But now that your children are getting older and your dreams of them joining the business can soon become reality, you find yourself in a quandary as they’re not giving you "positive vibes" about this idea.

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How To Leverage Your People To Build Sustainable Business Value

In order to build long-term sustainable value in your business, you must understand that the business is all about the people. People generally want work with a purpose, to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves, and that their work matters. As a business owner, you need to understand that you are leading a group of volunteers. Your employees could go somewhere else to work. What will endear them to you and the company is when you provide them with a clear and compelling sense of purpose. When there is a clear purpose that drives you and your organization, it will put you in a position to determine which of your people are in alignment with that purpose and which ones aren’t.    

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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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How to Create Family Member Employment Policies

In developing family policies, I used to think it was the documented policies that made the difference in preventing future conflicts. But, I have come to believe that it is not the policies themselves that promote family harmony. Rather, it is the process of developing the policies that really makes the difference. Family businesses have been a subject of formal research for over 20 years and developing policies is definitely a best practice of those that last. But, what research seems to bear out is that it is the family that is flexible with one another and trusting of one another that really makes the difference. The process that gets everyone involved is a process that allows family members to work together and build trust with one another.

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Sibling Rivalry to Sibling Synergy

Siblings in business who are experiencing rivalry issues have simply not recognized that they are now adults. They have carried the petty issues of their childhood with them into the business. When you become an adult you have to put away childish things. Sibling rivalries in family business are often rooted in a competition to win dad’s approval. It’s time to recognize that you are in business together fighting for the survival and success of the business. You must spend more time winning each other’s approval than dad’s.   

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But That's Not Fair: How To Overcome the "Fairness" Monster in the Family Business

The issue of fairness is at the heart of problems we encounter daily working with business owners and their families on their estate and succession planning. “That’s not fair! My brother expects me to do all the work while he gets equal pay”; “My parents expect me to run the business for the sake of the whole family – this is a father-son business, but my siblings think it is a family business”; “My father won’t retire – I’m 52  when do I get my chance?”; “My children want to push me out – I built the business, not them”; “Why won’t my son run the business the way I did?”; “Why can’t my children appreciate what I’ve done for them?”; “Why won’t my children work as hard as I did?”

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How to Overcome the "Perfect Family" illusion

Recently while attending a church service our preacher, Dr. Bob, delivered a sermon titled, “Behind The Manicured Hedges” that struck a chord personally and also as a professional family business succession planner. The preacher was referring to Winter Park, FL a largely affluent community consisting of families who have above average means, fabulous homes and impeccable landscaping surrounding their homes. Many who drive along the brick paved, tree lined streets are impressed with the meticulous landscaping and are somewhat envious thinking that these families have no issues or no problem that money cannot fix. If only that were true! The fact is, regardless of how perfect a family looks from the outside, all families have issues.

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Successors: Bring Value

Here's a new concept, Successors: Bring Value!

The opportunities are endless - your dealership is a multifaceted, financially complex business, employing hundreds of different types of people, and accounting for millions of dollars in sales. But when you dive deeper, these dealerships consist of unique mini-economies that compete and thrive off of one another. Each department can be viewed as an interdependent business seeking to generate profit and minimize loss. The front end focuses on sales and exists in a variable world; working with manufacturers to acquire the right product, to sell as many units as possible, at the right price, in order to generate the gross revenue that will result in profit to the bottom line. Conversely, the back end relies on fixed costs, associated with the number of cars that come through the dealership and maximizing the serviceable hours of employees to generate adequate profit to the bottom line. Then there is the unique used-cars world that takes on its own special circumstances in regards to its place in the dealership’s greater-economy. In addition are the ancillary businesses associated with dealerships such as outside insurance sales, collision centers, quick lubes, cafés, employee benefits, reinsurance programs, etc. that co-exist with the major departments and serve as additional profit centers. Each of these interdependent departments can be reviewed for their solvency on a single statement, but ultimately rely on one another to achieve success. In fact, when departments work synergistically, the overall dealership economy produces generous profits, functions seamlessly, and provides a stable source of employment to the local community. 

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As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Have It All Done?: There is a Difference Between Continuity Planning and Succession Planning

Over the years we have encountered hundreds of successful business owners who have made the statement "I have it all done," as they describe how well they have planned and documented their business succession plan. Unfortunately, in most cases these business owners were referring to the work they have done to implement their wills, trusts, buy/sell agreements, and life insurance, which we would constitute as business continuity planning. You may be asking yourself, what is the difference?

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As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Emotional Rescue: Understanding Relationship Dynamics in the Family Business

Recently one of my partners and I were facilitating a meeting between a father and his daughter to work through some mismatched expectations between them in the family business. We had already had several prep meetings laying the groundwork for aligning their expectations, which were all positive and headed in the right direction. They were both excited that we were going to be able to help them get some things out on the table, as they typically would avoid one another and leave issues unresolved.

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As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Positional Power: 5 Ways to Find Common Ground with Your Business Partners

If you happen to be an active majority partner in a business, you may sometimes find yourself struggling for alignment with your minority partner or partners, especially if the minority partners are also involved in the business. They assume because they have some percentage of ownership that they may have the positional power to make unilateral decisions that move the business in a direction that suits their liking. In short, they throw their "weight" around; and they pay little attention to the unintended consequences of doing so.

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Preparing your Business to Weather the Succession Storm

Hurricane season is upon us and hopefully you have taken the necessary precautions in the event Mother Nature unleashes the power and fury of a hurricane on Central Florida. Forecasting the weather is not a perfect science, however; when it comes to identifying and tracking hurricanes, weather forecasters do a remarkable job. Thanks to news outlets, we have the benefit of advance warning. We are given insight into the strength and magnitude of the storm and we even have a close projection as to the hour the hurricane will pass over our area. Yet many people ignore the advance warning, neglect to prepare and develop contingency plans. Business succession planning is similar to a hurricane in that business owners know succession planning is inevitable, know they need to develop a plan, more often than not have adequate time to prepare yet often procrastinate and ignore the implications and consequences associated with not having a sound plan. The result is a business catastrophe where many are shocked, devastated and in some cases have to pick up the pieces, salvage what’s left and start all over again.

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As Seen in Irrigation and Green Industry - Passing the Baton to the Next Generation

If you’ve decided that it’s time for your kids to take over the family business, there’s more to it than simply handing them the keys. You need to have a succession plan. We can’t give you a template, as there’s no single “right” way to do it. But you do need to have a plan. 

In a good succession plan, roles are clearly defined. “Everybody can’t run the company,” says Champ Rawls, associate planner at the Rawls Group, LLC, an Orlando, Florida-based succession-planning firm. “You have to clearly outline what everybody’s responsibilities will be.” 

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Brain Bombs From Dr. Merlot

As a succession planner, Dr. Merlot is engaged in an amazing diversity of issues on any given day. The average day is replete with high and inside "heaters" from all points of the Succession Matrix® of issues. Predictably this nonstop progression of diverse succession issues creates excitement that ranges from invigorating and gratifying to confusing, perplexing and shocking. None the less as a poster child for Attention Deficit Disorder, Dr. Merlot thrives in this frenetic environment with occasional reliance upon the medicinal qualities of the nectar from the grape that has earned him the moniker, Dr Merlot. After taking a few moments to decompress, we thought you may find it interesting to listen in on a morning of Dr. Merlot's Brain Bombs as they may provide you perspective on Brain Bombs you may be facing.

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As Seen On Automotive Buy Sell Report- Why do I need a succession plan if I’m going to sell the dealership?

If you plan to sell your dealership, some would say succession planning is a waste of time, emotional energy and money. They might be right. However, I would encourage them to talk with Jay (not his real name) before they make a final decision. 

Click Here to: Read full article on Automotive Buy Sell Report website

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Family Business Leadership: Coachable is Cool!

Apart from all the advertising, KIA is not only a Korean car. KIA is also an unfortunate military acronym for "killed in action". Within the business succession realm KIA also has a mantra of morbidity as it stands for "Know-It-All; I've got this; Don't need your input". More importantly from a succession planner's perspective: KIA means uncoachable!

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Succession Planning or Building Business Value Planning?

There are many reasons why succession planning may be an unpopular topic. Some of which may be:

  • It appears to overwhelming and too emotional to address

  • A fear of giving up control, not wanting to retire, or addressing the inevitable of all humans – our mortality

  • The monetary/ time investment appears to much for the business

  • To excited and focused on growth to think about “the end”

I am not going to minimize any of the reasons above for avoiding succession planning, as they are very valid arguments however; I would like to challenge your thinking on the concept to see if I can move it up on your popularity scale. To do this, I am first going to provide a definition of succession that is much more comprehensive than misconceptions may lead you to believe.

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Key Manager Retention: Investment in Relationships Yields a Greater Return

I was with a new succession planning client the other day that is known for paying his managers very well. He is also known for being a bit cocky and aloof. He was a referral sent from another client who is very successful at recruiting and retaining managers. He inquired about the advice I had given his colleague, in order to have the same productivity. I confirmed his observation noting that his friend had several managers who were amazingly motivated and most importantly, they were totally committed. I confirmed that they were paid well but not extraordinary, but relative to the jobs they were doing. I advised him, that with respect to the development of these managers, I expressed that his friend was coachable. I told him to acknowledge those managers that produced, show affection to managers that could lead, affirm the ones that drink his Kool-Aid, and show love with more than money to those leaders who believe in him. His friend had done this and now he has a very impressive management team that is getting better every day.

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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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Pursuit of Perfection: The Game That Can’t Be Won

Some people are obsessed with perfection. Recently, a Board of Directors asked that we conduct a 360 Evaluation of the Chief Executive Officer of their organization. When asked if there were any specific performance concerns, the response was “Not really, we think that Mary Beth is an exceptional leader, organizes well, thinks strategically, and has the full confidence and support of the Board. We just have some concerns that we’re not doing all we can to help her develop, and a 360 will help us identify areas that are deficient.”

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