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Succession Planning: A Tool to Build Business Value by Kendall Rawls

Often times the term succession planning creates a negative feeling for business owners. The reality is, the stigma tied around the word succession is too closely aligned with “death” and “retirement”. In addition, the natural anxiety and emotions that come with the thought of exiting the business can, and do often prevent owners from planning for the future. Entrepreneurs simply do not want to plan for a time that means they are no longer building a business. The reality, however; is that succession planning has a direct impact on the value of the business.

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Is Your Business Vision Working for You?

Did you know that it is impossible to not communicate? In the same way, you can’t be in business without a succession plan. Whether or not you have spent the energy and taken the time to engage a host of experts to help you plan for the transition to the next generation of owners and leaders, you have a succession plan.

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As Seen On Automotive Buy Sell Report - Communication is key when integrating a new dealership into your corporate culture

As Seen On Automotive Buy Sell Report - Communication is key when integrating a new dealership into your corporate culture

Succession Planner Dan Schneider was featured in Automotive Buy Sell Report. He gives great communication tips to minimize conflict and build trust when adding a new dealership to the business.

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As Seen in Dealer Magazine - How Do I Deal With An Employed Spouse Who Causes Management Problems?

As Seen in Dealer Magazine - How Do I Deal With An Employed Spouse Who Causes Management Problems?

Loyd Rawls for Dealer Magazine about the Family Business Conundrum: you cannot run a family like a business and you cannot run a business like a family. But what if you work in the business with your spouse? Learn how to overcome the challenges that marriage and joint business operation present.

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The MAGIC in Succession Planning

During the Christmas season, people still sing about Frosty the Snowman and that old silk hat the children found and placed on his head. For when the kids put it on his head, Frosty began to dance around. There was magic in the air.

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As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee - Trust and Teamwork Build Success

Organizational productivity is dependent upon teamwork, which I describe as two or more people working together for a common goal. Team can be expressed or implied, conscious or unconscious, but regardless, organizational productivity depends upon the effectiveness of interdependent, collaborative effort. Teamwork can be fair, good, or great, but there really is no such thing as bad teamwork. If you think about it, bad-teamwork is actually an oxymoron. To further this point, the English language doesn't have one single word to describe the opposite of teamwork. We generally associate "the opposite of teamwork" with uncooperativeness, inter-organizational competition, backbiting, and under productivity.

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How to Improve Teamwork and Increase Productivity

Organizational productivity is dependent upon teamwork, which I describe as two or more people working together for a common goal. “Team” can be expressed or implied, conscious or unconscious, but regardless, organizational productivity depends upon the effectiveness of interdependent, collaborative effort.

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Don’t Put the TITLE in Entitlement!

“Executive Manager,” “Director of the Custodial Arts,” “Chief Comradery Officer,” “General Associate Vice President” – Sweet titles, but what do they mean? Nothing without a job description. Unfortunately, a common family business mistake is endowing an important sounding title on someone in order to justify a paycheck that isn’t being earned.

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How to Build Respect for Your Successor Amongst the Management Team

Pride and heartfelt emotions are often factors when a business leader assesses his/her successor’s ability. Therefore, honest management feedback regarding a successor’s performance is a valuable piece of the succession planning puzzle. However, getting reliable feedback from management may be difficult unless the business culture supports open communication and an empowered management team. Ultimately, they are the ones who will be going to battle with the successor and their buy-in will be proportionate to their voice in the process. Management loyalty is not a company asset that gets re-titled to the successor!

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Planning for the Predictable, Probable, and Possible

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was widely ridiculed for his “what we do not know” response during a 2002 Department of Defense news briefing.

In part, Rumsfeld said about threat assessments, ‘As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.'

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As Seen On Automotive Buy Sell Report - The Right Price is Set by the Market, Not the Value of your Emotional Investment

Seventy-five percent of family businesses - especially highly demanding automobile dealerships - do not have the 4Cs of Successorship: Capable, Committed, Competent and Community-minded successor. In such instances, selling the family business is a viable succession option.

With all the money that is being thrown at buying dealerships today, the value of dealerships is a common discussion item. In some instances where there is no locked-in successor, I am often at the table helping my clients consider if they want to cash in on this hot market.

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Chimp, Chump, Champ: The 3 Stages of Successor Development

On a limited basis, The Rawls Group provides Successor Development Forums (SDF) for prospective leaders who feel they need coaching and education on the unique challenges of successor development. An SDF is not intended to be a "lucky sperm club;” it is intended to be a “work group" for successor candidates who are seeking coaching that they cannot get at home.

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What's The Purpose Of Your Success?

Succession is dependent upon success. Therefore, mediocrity is not a succession option. In order for you to have confidence your successors can survive the predictable distractions, issues and problems associated with the transfer of ownership and management control your business must perform above benchmark to assure that there is adequate margin for a dip in productivity.

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Knowing Your Role and Playing Your Position

Football is one of my favorite sports and football season is one of my favorite times of year! It has been said that football is the ultimate team sport. Success on each play requires each player understand their role, work together, communicate effectively and ultimately execute to achieve the desired outcome. The teams that win consistently have committed players who know their role, play their position and trust their teammates will do the same each play. From my perspective, there is a striking parallel between football and family business. To successfully compete and operate a family-owned dealership or dealership group, requires each family member, manager and employee to understand their unique role, work together, communicate effectively and operate interdependent departments well. Whether you are a team member of a family business or a superstar on a football team, knowing your role and playing your position are key ingredients to success.

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The Culture of People

I admit it. I’m an Apple junkie. Our family has iPhones, MacBooks, an iMac, Apple TV, and several iPads (I bought my 84-year old computer-less mother-in-law one last Christmas and had to increase my data plan just to accommodate her web surfing!). I will not, however, be sporting an Apple Watch since I don’t wear a watch anyway and even with sleek looks, the thought of wearing a ‘computer’ on my wrist reminds me too much of the geeks of yore who wore their calculator watches that required a toothpick stylus to peck at the small keyboard.

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The Rawls Group to Present at Digital Dealer 19 Conference and Expo

The Rawls Group announces that they will be presenting at the Digital Dealer 19 Conference and Expo being held in Las Vegas October 5-7th, 2015.

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A New Succession Challenge: Private Equity

The automobile industry has encountered significant changes over the last 20 years. We have seen public companies come into the market. We have seen the dot-com balloon inflate and burst. We have seen banks offer money to anyone with an IQ over room temperature and then call loans from the smartest, brightest and most successful in our industry. We have seen franchises devalued, nuked, given away and arbitrated as manufacturers went belly up and gave up control to our government. And here we are with stock market returns struggling to beat inflation and the investment world recognizing that auto dealerships are a good buy at six, seven and eight times adjusted earnings.

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You've Sold Your Business, Now What?

Recently I was invited to speak to a group of successful business owners about the various aspects of succession planning (what I refer to as the Succession Matrix). The Succession Matrix consists of ten interdependent factors that business owners must successfully address to improve the odds that their business will successfully make the transition to and through the next generation of owners and managers. Addressing these factors is important regardless of whether you plan to sell your business or plan to keep it in the family. Unfortunately, many franchisees and business owners are so busy “working IN their business” that they do not invest the time to “work ON their business” to consider their exit options.

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Spell It Out So There Is No Doubt, By Denise Ware

As a successful business owner with young children, homes in several states and a net worth in the millions, you need to periodically review your estate planning documents. Most likely you have taken your attorney’s advice and adopted a Pour-over Will and Revocable Trust. You have made important decisions regarding the disposition of assets upon your death.

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Successor Development Checklist

One of the biggest burdens weighing upon family business leaders is whether or not their successors will be ready and capable leaders for the next generation. No matter how intelligent, educated, progressive or firm, it is likely there will be some doubt and even more likely some challenges as you work towards preparing the next generation to lead. After many years of working with families, management teams and their business successors, we have put together a Successor Development Checklist to help clarify which factors are most important in knowing whether or not you have positioned your successor and team for the next generation.

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