Political and social pressures continue to impact propane and oil business owners.  In this episode, Champ Rawls, a succession planner with The Rawls Group, Marty Kirshner, Partner with Gray, Gray & Gray, Doug Woosnam, a Consultant with Cetane Associates, and The Rawls Group’s succession planner Clayton  Latiolais discuss how to get your employees and community involved so your business can thrive into the future.

As Marty Kirshner shares, to thrive in the future, it is essential first to ensure an industry still exists in the future.  Currently, too many people rely on a small subset of businesses/associations to do the dirty work and fight the battle.  The industry needs to band together to create lasting change.

Doug Woosnam continues to say that every owner needs to participate in the political process.  The political environment today can destroy your business.  If the government decides you will no longer be able to sell and install heating equipment powered by propane, gas, or heating oil, the best business plan doesn’t matter.  Every owner needs to reach out to their local and federal elected officials.  Deliver a message to them about who you are, what you do, and why propane and oil are critical to the future.

Your people and community are also impacted by the political environment affecting propane and oil. Clayton Latiolais recommends communicating and involving your employees by informing them about the political pressures.  Hold regular meetings to educate your team about what is happening and how they can influence policy. Then, if everyone is working together, positive change can happen.

Getting involved may require an owner to get out of their comfort zone, but as Champ Rawls shares, it could mean the difference between a private business owner operating in 10 years. Whether you like it or not, it is essential to understand the politics and social-economic pressures impacting the business.  Competing and thriving in the future requires flexibility and creativity. 

For more insight:

Visit the “Create Control Over Your Future” discussion page or select one of the additional episodes of the series below:


  • Cetane Associates: a unique group of fuel industry specialists armed with assets and proprietary processes that help them perform wonders for their clients
  • Gray, Gray, and Gray:  With 77 years of experience working with fuel oil and propane marketers and convenience store owners, Gray, Gray & Gray has established a reputation as the energy industry’s leading accounting, consulting, and business advisory firm.
  • Succession Readiness Survey:  A 7-minute investment in time will put you in an informed position of opportunities many business owners overlook, impacting business value, growth, and lifestyle, and ultimately achieving your vision.
  • Contact a Succession Planner: The Rawls Group can help you with insights and other resources and see if it makes sense to work together. At the very least, in 30 minutes, you may get some ideas you can apply to your business immediately.

The Succession Planning Matrix

Many people put off succession planning because they think it means retirement, exit, and the end. However; succession planning is just the beginning. It gives the owner options in terms of what “their next” looks like, whether that be growth, philanthropy, or a new business venture. Our process focuses are addressing 10 key areas of what we call the Succession Matrix.family-business-succession-planning

Click the following link for more drill-down resources on The Succession Matrix, or check out our Facebook post.

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We can help you with insights, other resources, and see if it makes sense to work together. At the very least, in 30 minutes, you may get some ideas you can apply to your business right away.