Have you ever caught yourself saying “I’ll get around to it,” or “Someday I’ll get that done” regarding items on life’s “to-do list”? For over 75% of the U.S. population, completing their estate plans is often put off. The drawback to postponing this particular “to-do” item is that “someday” becomes the day when an unforeseen event or crisis happens.
Approximately 75% of business owners are expected to transition out of their businesses in the next 10 years. Eighty to ninety percent of business owners have most of their wealth tied up in their businesses. Even with a large amount of their wealth concentrated in a single place, 83% of business owners have no written transition plan and 49% of business owners have done no exit planning. With all the businesses for sale in the United States, only about 20% result in a successful sale.
I worked in and owned a business with my family for almost 20 years. In my experience of working with my family, along with advising family business owners and next generation leaders, I found the following keys helpful in building a peak performing family team.
Many entrepreneurs think succession planning is not needed until the owner is ready to retire or resign; however, it is never too early to begin succession planning. Planning early and communicating it often can allow for a smooth transition of leadership and possible enhance, rather than detract from company growth.
I’ve focused this post on the critical nature of having a clear, realistic Mission & Values statement to ensure your team is aligned — because without team alignment, you won’t be able to drive growth.
In 2017, congressional leaders pushed the largest tax reform bill in the last 30 years through Congress in record-breaking time. The bill is infamously mysterious. Most Americans know little except for Congressman Ryan’s promise for future taxes “to be done on an index card.”
What does this new legislation mean for them? And what does it mean for the growing entrepreneurial community — working out of our many co-working spaces, like WeWork?
Strategic thinking is a reflective state of mind focusing on the performance of the business to gain insights on impacts made. Simply stated, choosing what not to do in the coming year. Yes, I said it, “what not to do”. Let’s practice strategic thinking by stepping into the executive zone and asking some tough questions that will offer business insights.
It is often the entrepreneur’s advanced juggling and multi-tasking abilities that were the greatest asset in surviving the start-up phase that become the greatest liability in successfully navigating the growth phase.
Owners wishing to sell their businesses often look to key employees as a way to transition the business to someone who knows and understands the business and often has a similar vision for the business.
Many of us know stories of small businesses succumbing to fraud committed by employees and third parties whether that is employees embezzling funds or third parties scamming business owners out of the company’s cash flow. In either event, individuals can be quite clever in disguising fraud or passing off a scam as legitimate. Business owners should be prepared to spot signs of fraud and have tools in place to prevent fraud in the business.
Driving to and from work in the Midwest, it is hard to miss the dandelions. Such dandelions are a daily reminder to address the dandelions in your accounts receivable. Whether you have one or two past due accounts or a hundred past due accounts, failing to take action can cause your company’s dandelions to spread.
For business owners, time is often a precious commodity. Carefully reading vendor contracts do not often rank high on a business owner’s priority list. Vendor contracts can be long and cumbersome and not something to glance at quickly. Alternatively, when vendor contracts are signed online, important terms may be overlooked if the business owner selects “I Agree to Terms and Conditions” rather than reading through important provisions.
Selling a company can be a long and detailed process. Throughout this process, have an advisory team in place including an attorney and accountant who are experienced in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Your advisory team can help you through the 10 steps necessary to sell your company. The steps are discussed in detail below.
Determining whether your current staff and next hires are employees or independent contractors is not an exact science. We can help clarify this determination by explaining the tests that will help you decide whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor and the implications of both.
Business partnerships are hard. What if you and your business partners couldn’t get along? Or, what if you and your business partners couldn’t agree on a major business decision resulting in deadlock? How do you move past such a roadblock? A company’s well written operating agreement or buy-sell agreement should address these concerns.
Employees may be rewarded or incentivized through equity compensation as a way to (i) attract and retain employees and (ii) align the financial interests of employees with the shareholders of the company. If a business owner decides to offer employees equity compensation, the owner has a variety of options of how to award equity.
The series limited liability company ("LLC") is a relatively new way to organize business ownership. The series LLC has all of the benefits of a traditional LLC, such as flexibility and limited liability, with some added benefits that may appeal to your business such as the potential for a reduction in administrative costs and the further isolation of liabilities.
There are many different types of protections available for a business owner’s name. The most basic protections come from having a legal name, whereas a trademark can carry with it national (and sometimes international) protections. This blog provides a simple breakdown of some different types of business names and the protections they provide.
Most business owners know the SBA can provide many different benefits for small business owners. What you may not know is that the SBA also provides certifications for particular types of business owners, including minorities, veterans and women. Obtaining these certifications could give a business a competitive edge in seeking new business opportunities and establishing credibility in the market.
The Ennovation Center, an Independence incubator program for entrepreneurs, opened in 2010 and has been serving small business owners ever since. The Ennovation Center is located in what was previously the Independence Regional Medical Center, allowing it the unique capability of housing a wet-lab and five fully equipped kitchens in addition to group work spaces, conference rooms and private offices. The Ennovation Center focuses on three business areas: bio-tech, culinary, and business & technology.
Entrepreneurship is a wonderful thing; however, at some point, entrepreneurs may decide to sell their businesses for a number of reasons ranging from an impending retirement to partner dispute to new entrepreneurial pursuits. Establishing the seller’s desire for a sale makes for a better sale strategy and allows the seller to find the right buyer.
If a startup does not manage to entice the right investors, the company is often left to seek funding through bootstrapping or bank loans which may be hard to obtain. Without access to the right investors and capital, startup may not be able to grow and succeed. For business owners in Kansas, the Angel Investor Tax Credit may be the additional incentive that entrepreneurial companies need to attract investors.
Initial public offerings or “IPOs” transition a company from being private to going public. Most often companies go public to raise capital, but companies may also raise capital though other means such as a private offering. Alternatively, some companies may be required to go public based on their size of the company and the number of shareholders such as Facebook. Regardless of company size, entrepreneurs should consider whether going public is right for their companies. Some advantages and disadvantages to going public are explained below.
Most entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to incentivize and reward key management and top performing employees in order to keep them within the organization. A common incentive is to offer ownership in the company to key employees through a stock plan. While ownership may seem to be an attractive option, adding an owner to the business creates risks for the current and potential new owner.