Trust Restored


“firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.”


“bring back or re-establish.”

One of our friends asked if we could help out a husband and wife who were having financial issues in their marriage due to their cultural differences - the wife was Greek and the husband was German. We quickly realized that whenever they discussed money, the wife would become very expressive, both with her voice and her body. Her husband, on the other hand, would become totally silent, stony-faced, and look away from her while she was speaking.

We decided to meet with them separately so we could understand their true feelings. We realized the issue was simple: they were each talking past one another and competing for the funds instead of working together. The wife had dreams for the money, and the husband had entirely different plans for how he was envisioning spending it. 

So, we asked each one of them to write down what the funds were supposed to be used for. After fifteen minutes, we took both sheets of paper, looked them over, and then had each spouse see the other's answers and give explanations for each. It was eye-opening for everyone!

Honestly, they didn't have the money to do everything they wanted. Instead, they realized that they had to reach an agreement and start compromising for the family's good. The end result was beautiful. Once we got them thinking as a family instead of as two individuals, the conversation took a turn for the better. It became about listening, understanding, forgiving, and learning to love each other through how they agreed to use family funds instead of competing for what they each wanted.

In a very vivid sense, they restored the trust that had been broken. A trust holds families, businesses, relationships, and everything that matters most together. 

Perspective Gained


“a mental view or outlook.”


“to obtain through effort or merit, achieve.”

“I got this! I mean I made it this far didn’t I?”

If you're a successful business owner, you didn't make it happen by pure luck. You pushed through the obstacles, learned what you had to, and thrived. Every once in a while, though, life hands you a rude awakening. Sometimes, just sometimes, you have to admit you don't know everything. Often, though, its purely because you just need to see it from a different angle. 

Like our client Barry. Barry owned a very large trucking company in Southern California, and came to us for some business planning. We started looking over his business insurances and found that his business liability coverage was woefully inadequate. Not only that, but his business wasn’t even incorporated! We asked Barry, ”Why are you running a trucking company in California as a sole proprietorship? That makes absolutely no sense!”

He told us that he had been advised by his CPA to remain a sole proprietorship because there was no tax reason to incorporate. The CPA thought it was a waste of money.

His CPA was right when it came to taxes, but that didn't make him a good lawyer! Californians love to sue, and having a sole proprietorship was risky business. We helped Barry create an LLC, and advised him to bump up his liability coverage. Providentially, Barry acted quickly.

It was only a couple of weeks later that tragedy struck. One of Barry’s trucks was driving down the highway with a load of steel bars in the back. A couple of the bars wriggled loose and started careening down the interstate. One bar bounced straight into the windshield of the car directly behind the truck. The aftermath was gruesome. Thankfully, Barry had planned for the worst. The injured family was given the ability to pay all their medical expenses, and Barry was able to keep his company.

Was it still a tragedy? Of course. But because Barry had been ready for the worst, the best possible outcome ensued from it. If Barry hadn't have his perspective changed, the situation would have been a lot worst for all parties involved.

As business owners, it's a lot more fun to play offense, to make the sales, and be the best. But as the famous quote goes, "the best offense is a good defense."

Barry didn't see it coming, but he just needed some new glasses. 

Strategy Set

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"a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim."


"put, lay, or stand in a specified place or position."

What do you do when you own a successful company, you're 63 years old, and you want to transition to your son in 2 years? 

You set a strategy. 

Meet Rick. He was the 2nd generation of a 50+ million dollar company and he was ready to retire. Only problem? Well, he had lots of them. First, his son was only in a middle management position in a little city outside the main hub of operations. Second, his siblings owned a part of the business, and he had an overpaid, aging management. To top it off, he had holes in his personal insurance that would've taken down his business if his wife had gotten into a car accident. He asked his professionals to come up with a plan, but they were unsure how to proceed with all the variables involved. 

But Rick was the determined type, and wasn't going to let that stop him.

His CPA brought us in, and we sat down to figure out his goals for the next three years and set a strategy to achieve them. 

Two years later, his son is successfully running the company as president with his own management team. The family is taken care of with a new buy/sell agreements, and a newly minted estate plan. Rick couldn't be happier! Now, he's off traveling with his wife without the burden of the company's responsibility on his shoulders.

Rick is a hero to us because he took action, even if he didn't know exactly what direction to steer his business ship. He implemented, took advice, and ended up achieving all his goals. 

Don't wait to set your strategy. If you're anything like Rick, your problems won't go away with time. Instead, they'll only get worse.  Take action and enjoy the fruits of a problem-solving strategy!



Control Maintained


"determine the behavior or supervise the running of."


"cause or enable (a condition or state of affairs) to continue."

All business owners want the dream life - cash to take care of the family, a business that runs itself...  but many are worried that their business will spin out of control if they don't keep their hands on the wheel. 

Not our client Mark. Mark built his business from the ground up - started it in his parent's garage 25 years ago and now its cranking out $12 million in revenue a year. This year, He traveled 280 days while working ON the business instead of in it.  The trick?

He groomed a COO for twenty years that knows exactly what he would do in every situation, and when to do something better. He makes sure every manager has a suitable replacement, and created a system of checks and balances so no one person has access to all the money handling.  Everyone in the company, no matter what their position, has built-in accountability. 

Mark also focused heavily on building a company culture that rewards employees handsomely for good work, and hires internally for jobs as much as possible. If you want a raise at his company, you have to prove you are going to bring more value - no exceptions.

He also takes them out for lunch regularly, and rewards the top performers with a champions trip every year. As a result, turnover is kept at a minimum and the company has grown at gazelle rates (20%+ every year) for 5 years running. 

Recently, he gifted 30% of the company to his kids to reduce his estate tax, but have no fear - he's still 100% in control of his company.

As you can see, living the dream life doesn't have to come at the cost of your company. In our book, living the dream life doesn't mean you let go of the reins entirely. Instead, it just means you let up enough to give it some slack so your business can run free. 

Transition Navigated


"the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another."


"plan and direct the route or course"

Navigating the transition between father and son can be a hairy process! But it doesn't have to be that way. One of our clients, Mark, is a testament to that. 

Mark owned a large plumbing contractor business. His son, Julian, started working in the field as a support plumber in high school, and came back to the business after college. Ten years in, and Julian owned 40% of the company and was running it like a true owner. By that time he had worked in every area of the business - boots-on-the-ground plumbing, the accounting department, customer service etc. You name it, he had done it.

Twenty five years later and Mark is retired. Julian has 100% control of the company and the business has doubled in the last 5 years. At Mark's death, plans are in place for Julian to receive a stepped up basis on the rest of the stock, while the other children will be compensated with life insurance policies and real estate ownership. 

That sort of planning doesn't happen by mistake.  Mark was adamant that when Julian took over, he would be ready. So he developed a training program that allowed Mark to learn every part of the business and implemented an incentive plan  along the way so he would learn how to think like an owner, instead of just an employee. 

Navigating the transition process correctly starts early. Don't wait and wish you had done it when it's already too late. 



Crisis Averted

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"a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger."


"prevent or ward off (an undesirable occurrence)"

Jeremy came to my office one day to see if our company could help him sell his bottling company to his employee, Glen. Jeremy was so sure of Glen’s abilities and desires for the company, he never even let us interview him.

We worked on the plan for months, navigating different selling options, stock purchase plans, estate planning tools for Jeremy, and a host of other contingent decisions.

We were well on our way to finishing up the plan when we finally met with Glen. Imagine our surprise to find out he didn’t even want the company!

His plan was to retire in the next couple of years and work on his side business. He was shocked to find out Jeremy was planning on giving the company to him – they had never even had a conversation about it.

But here’s the thing, Jeremy was still ahead of the game. Yes, we had to pivot and change direction, and lost some months planning in the wrong direction. But can you imagine what would’ve happened if Jeremy had decided not to do any planning? The day of his retirement he would’ve walked up and said, “it’s all yours” to a guy who would’ve probably said, “I’m out too.”

Instead, a crisis was averted and Jeremy had time to change direction, and set his company up for a lucrative 3rd party sale.

Planning is crisis aversion. Get ahead of the game.  

Plan Curated


“to arrange or design a method for obtaining specified benefits or filling certain needs.”


“to select, organize, and present information, typically using professional or expert knowledge.”

Plan Curation is simple: Solve problems, and find the best way to maximize benefits.

Take it from Gary.

Gary had inherited the business from his father, and always assumed his kids would want to take it over when he retired.

Only problem? They didn’t want it. When we asked him what his plan was now that his kids were out, he said, “Actually, I’ve been thinking about it for YEARS and have no idea.”

Honestly, that’s pretty common for most business owners we meet. Not because they are unintelligent – actually the opposite! But their problems are difficult, they get multiple ideas from every professional, and they are busy running their successful business. They don’t have the time to develop an elaborate plan that takes into account all the options, opportunities, and benefits available.

Gary was no different. He didn’t feel like he had the time, energy, or expertise to devote to this kind of in-depth planning.

His situation in a nutshell:

1. Estate Taxes – No matter what he did, Tom’s kids were going to owe the government a lot of money.

2. His sister, a minority owner, didn’t have enough money for retirement

3. He had employees that were like family – if possible, he wanted them to be able to keep working in the business

4. Even though his kids didn’t want the business, he still wanted them to benefit

5. He wanted to travel with his wife, work his ranch, and play with his grandkids without worrying about the future

The solution? Sell to a third party at maximum price. We helped hire a CEO to run the business, added new incentive plans and golden parachutes so the employees were incentivized to grow the company and stay with it, and made sure he had professionals that could make it happen.

It took time, like all good plans do. But in the end, Tom was a hero. His sister was able to fund her retirement with the proceeds, Tom got to spend time on his ranch and travel with his wife, and instead of the children owing taxes on a company they didn’t want, they received an inheritance to help them get through the next phase of life.

That's the kind of story we live for.  

Leave A Legacy


Although the taste of success is sweet, the reward of leaving a legacy is even sweeter. In business, as well as in life, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. Anything that isn’t growing, is dying, or is already dead. The goal should not to merely be successful financially, but to be significant in the lives of others.

In Galatians 6:7 the Bible says “a man reaps what he sows”. This is true.  Many times the proof can be found in the lineage of the family, through the lives of the sower’s children and grandchildren.  The parents that ignore their children, coddle them, or neglect to teach them, often end up with broken families. Their children self-destruct, starting a cycle that may last for generations. The parents that teach their children well, in every area of life, tend to have families that love each other, work hard, and share common values based on faith in God. These Legacy Families generally continue to create more Legacy Families, thus having many generations living lives of significance, having learned from their ancestors.

Never be afraid to take up the fight to make this world a better place for your children and grandchildren by building families and businesses that thrive and endure for generations.  Make the time to love and teach them.  If you have children, being a good parent is your most important role in life.  Live balanced lives that include being responsible parents and grandparents as well as building a business for which you can also be proud.  Leaving a legacy isn’t easy, it takes guts and determination, but don’t let anyone convince you that it is impossible! All things are possible with focus and determination. 

Your Second Half


Though this often marks as a time to celebrate, it is also a time to take a step back and recognize that you’re not quite off the hook. Post sale is where many owners go awry, which can make the sweetest season of life a stressful and trying time. Owners often dream of the day that they can relax, spend time with their family, and enjoy the little things in life, however it is quite typical in this post sale time for owners to blow through their money, lose it, transition poorly, or create inner family feuding.

Transitioning from a business should open up a world of opportunity, where you can devote your time to philanthropy, community volunteering, and church events, instead of a time of strife. The unfortunate fact is that many owners will find themselves in a very different place after exiting a company than where they originally imagined. As a result, it is vital that owners envision their post-business life long before the sale is final.

Never presume that because you could run the company well, you can also run the capital well. Once a sale goes through, owners should take measures immediately to diversify their holdings in order to lower risk. The best way to address redeployment of assets is through a comprehensive wealth management plan that determines how much income is needed to keep pace with inflation and provides the owner with the lifestyle he desires. Remember that wealth is a burden as well as a blessing to you and your family. As Jackie Joyner once said, “It’s better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back and regret.”


The Importance of Sale Readiness



Simple. This is the point where you will need to factor in competitors, potential buyers, industry acquisition activity, and your own competitive advantage.

Advisors will want to look into the insights you have on your competitors, and if any might be interested in buying your company. A helpful hint during this process is to also have your sales team know how your company measures up to applicable industry standards. Listing competitors, vendors, and others outside of the company who you think could potentially benefit from buying your business is incredibly valuable. By conducting an analysis on all of this, you will aid in receiving a higher selling price from strategic buyers.

Understanding your own company’s competitive advantage is key to a successful sale. Take a step back and ask yourself the following questions. Do you know why customers buy from you instead of from your competitors? Have you thought about developing and verbalizing your competitive advantage? What about how to better position your company to appeal to buyers? Owners who know why their customers prefer their business can have an enormous advantage when it comes to bargaining. Knowing exactly what makes your company better gives you a better ability to negotiate a superior price.