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with his wife. When they got home, his wife asked for a divorce. Both spouses are business owners, and he’s involved in multiple businesses, some worth upward of eight figures. There are multiple shareholders involved, and without a provision for it in a succession plan, his shares are up for grabs. So many business owners are risk averse when it comes to their money. They choose safe investments for their portfolio. So why would they roll the dice with their whole business? It’s mind boggling to me that any small business owner is putting off creating this plan. Sure, the process can be expensive, but it’s a hell of a lot less expensive than dealing with the fallout of not having one. If you don’t get this figured out while you’re healthy and well, rather than in the middle of a divorce or fighting with your business partners, you are setting yourself up for a struggle. Imagine you discover an owner is embezzling money, and you kick them out of the company. This owner obviously shouldn’t get their full stock share, but without provisions that are specified in a business succession plan, there might not be any way to stop them. Every small business should have a plan for what happens with the company's ownership and management when the current owners and executives leave the company. Ideally, after the business succession plan is created, each owner should also have a personal estate plan in place so there’s clarity regarding who the company deals with if an owner dies or becomes incapacitated. All our Access members are at a huge advantage here, as they get serious savings when they create their business succession plans. Being part of the club means you have on-demand access to our legal team, so when little changes come up or you need to do your personal estate plan, it’s way more cost-effective and efficient. I urge you to create your business succession plan before it’s too late. It will take a little time and some money, but it will save you — and potentially your business — in the long run. – Scott Reib
WHY ARE YOU ROLLING THE DICE WITH YOUR BUSINESS? THE NO. 1 MISTAKE I SEE BUSINESS OWNERS MAKING
If you have young kids or spend any time around children in general, you know they can be prone to making the same mistake over and over again. Their young brains are dominated by feelings, not facts, so they don’t always respond rationally to negative situations.
A toddler’s reactionary behavior is excusable because their brains are still developing and adapting.
What’s not excusable is a full-grown business owner making repeated mistakes, yet that’s exactly what I see business owners do time and time again when they fail to make a succession plan. If you’re a single owner of a business and don’t have a business succession plan, it’s a problem. It’s an even bigger, messier problem for multiple-owner companies that don’t have a plan. Everything you’ve built is at risk when you or another owner dies, becomes incapacitated, or experiences a divorce.
Last month, I got a call from a client in this nightmare situation. He’d just gotten back from an international trip
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KEEP UPWITH THE BIG BUSINESSES
3 TECH TRENDS TO ACCELERATE YOUR COMPANY
INCREASED USE OF DATA ANALYTICS “Big data” is intimidating. For years, sifting through customer data and extracting valuable information that can be used to grow businesses was something that only the largest companies had the time, funds, and expertise to do. However, more programs that reduce the upfront investment and expertise necessary to contextualize customer data are popping up. If you can make use of your customers’ data, you can give them an experience with your business that they won’t find many other places. CONTINUED RELIANCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA Social media marketing remains an effective tool for attracting customers to your small business, even if the tools continue to change. While marketing on Facebook and Instagram might seem like old news, marketing on trendier apps, like TikTok, Pinterest, or Snapchat, can still work to your business’s benefit. A recent study showed that 45% of consumers head to social media when they have a question about something — are you going to be there to answer it? Keeping up with the latest and greatest tech trends in small-business management can be exhausting, but in an age where technological advancement is accelerating faster than ever, it’s necessary for the survival of businesses of all shapes and sizes.
The line between technologies that are beneficial for large businesses and those beneficial for small businesses continues to blur. While the latest software programs were once only available to large companies that could afford them, some of these programs have also become available and profitable for small businesses to use. In an age of increasing connectivity, these are a few tech trends that small businesses should watch out for. COLLABORATION WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE While it certainly shouldn’t replace every customer interaction, using AI software programs for small tasks — like email marketing, data entry, accounting, and some low-stress forms of customer service — is invaluable to small businesses. Delegating menial tasks to AI can free up time for you to focus on those more important face-to-face interactions with your customers.
BIZ TOOL OF THE MONTH: CALENDLY Every small-business owner can relate to the back and forth that happens when you’re trying to get a meeting nailed down with a client or prospect. Pretty soon, you’ve eaten up the whole day just getting something on the books. KEEP YOUR CALENDAR STREAMLINED
double-booking and hectic days. You can add two or more calendars with a Premium or Pro plan on Calendly; a Basic plan allows one. Calendly’s settings also allow you to prevent last-minute meetings and to set buffers between meetings to keep your day manageable. Appointment times are preset to 60 minutes, and you can set your availability well in advance.
Some of the other cool features of Calendly include these:
It’s this inefficiency that Calendly aims to solve. This calendar-scheduling service offers three different plans (the Basic plan is free, and Pro or Premium plans cost a monthly fee) and integrates with your calendar account to allow customers an easy scheduling option. Once you send them your unique, personalized Calendly URL, they can see which appointments are available and select a day and time that works for them. When they select one, that time slot fills up on the back end and isn’t available to others. Because Calendly can integrate with your other calendars, including Google, Outlook, and Office 365, it helps prevent
• Time zone intelligence
• Ability to imbed the scheduling service on any webpage
We’ve used Calendly for a little over a year now and have been pleased with the ease and efficiency of it. It seems to be pretty user-friendly for our clients and doesn’t require a lot of extra work on either end. For anyone who’s ever dreamed of streamlined calendars, Calendly may just be your new best friend.
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NO MORE EXCUSES: CREATE YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLAN NOW
TAKE THIS STEP TO SHATTERPROOF YOUR BUSINESS
3. CONNECT WITH AN INSURANCE AGENT. You’ll want to talk to an insurance agent to have life insurance written for all insurable people, as well as create a disability policy. 4. WALK THROUGH THE FINAL VERSION OF THE PLAN. Finally, we’ll walk through the plan again and make any final edits before we finalize it. As you and your team go through this process of creating your business succession plan, there will be a lot of little decisions to make, and it takes about two months to complete the whole process. Once you do complete it, you’ll never have to redo it. If new owners come on, you’ll have them sign off on it, and you can always make adjustments if there’s a big change in the valuation of your company. Once you’ve put this plan in place, you can have peace of mind knowing you’ve just taken a crucial step toward shatterproofing your business.
As Scott shared on the cover, a business succession plan is a crucial document you want to have in place if you own a business. While there are a few steps involved to create it, it’s not as complex a process as you might fear. Here’s an overview of the main steps involved. 1. MEET WITH YOUR ATTORNEY TO GO THROUGH THE SUCCESSION WORKSHEET. At REIBLAW, we use a detailed yet straightforward worksheet that outlines everything you’ll want to define in your business succession plan. Our attorneys will meet with you and your ownership team, and we’ll go through the worksheet page by page so you can make decisions about the succession plan for your business. From this meeting, we’ll create a draft agreement. 2. REVIEW THE DRAFT AGREEMENT. Next, we’ll meet again and review the draft agreement. You and your ownership team will have the chance to ask questions so you fully understand what’s in the plan. There are different valuation methods, and you may choose to get your CPA involved for some of this.
EASY SHRIMP SCAMPI
Inspired by The Blond Cook
• 4 tbsp butter • 4 tbsp olive oil • 1 tbsp minced garlic • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined • 1/2 tsp oregano
• 1/2 cup dry white wine • 1/4 cup lemon juice • 8 oz cooked linguine • 1/4 cup parsley
'5 PROVEN STRATEGIES TO SHATTERPROOF YOUR BUSINESS' Fact: 1 in 3 businesses has been hit with a lawsuit or threatened with a lawsuit over the past three years. This book lays out five proven strategies that, when implemented properly, will absolutely protect you and your hard-earned assets from any possible legal action. Visit ScottReib.com/books to order your copy today!
1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. 2. Add shrimp and oregano, stirring frequently until shrimp is pink. Remove shrimp from skillet. 3. Add wine and lemon juice to skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. 4. Stir in remaining butter and olive oil and cook until butter is melted. 5. Add cooked shrimp to skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. 6. In a serving bowl, top cooked linguine with shrimp mixture. Garnish with parsley and serve.
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The Biggest Mistakes Business Owners Make INSIDE THIS ISSUE 1 2 Important Tech Trends for Small Businesses to Keep Up With
2 3 3 4
Biz Tool of the Month
Business Succession Planning 101
Easy Shrimp Scampi
Yvon Chouinard’s Rise From Wannabe Fur Trapper to Billionaire Entrepreneur
‘LET MY PEOPLE GO SURFING: THE EDUCATION OF A RELUCTANT BUSINESSMAN’
HOW PATAGONIA’S FOUNDER SET A NEW STANDARD FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
the energy and water use of its facilities, works to eliminate pollution, focuses on recycled and recyclable materials, participates in environmental activism, funds environmental organizations worldwide, and even encourages shoppers to send in worn-out apparel for reuse and repair. In short, over the course of 272 pages, Chouinard proves he not only talks the talk but also walks the walk — and has made millions championing his cause. He encourages other entrepreneurs to do the same, laying out Patagonia’s footsteps and philosophies for readers to follow. Many already have. “Let My People Go Surfing” was updated and rereleased in 2016, but either version will make entrepreneurs think twice about their environmental impact and what they can do to reduce it. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, “Whether you're a manager or business owner looking to motivate your employees and create a sustainable business, or a fan of Patagonia, or someone curious about how to live a life you can feel good about, this book should work for you.”
From the very beginning of his 2006 memoir, “Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman,” it’s clear that Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, is not the typical entrepreneur. As a kid, Chouinard wanted to be a fur trapper, and rather than going into business with dreams of getting rich, he started making climbing gear to fund his passion for scaling cliffs and adventuring in the outdoors. “Let My People Go Surfing” follows Patagonia’s meteoric rise through its victories and rough patches — including the stalled growth that led to layoffs of 20% of the staff in the 1990s — but its main focus is on the company’s ideals. In plain, forthright, and sometimes irascible language, Chouinard lays out Patagonia’s growth goals, culture aims, and environmental stewardship efforts. The last of which is truly the core of the brand. Patagonia prioritizes minimalism, function, durability, and reparability in all of its products, from backpacks to jackets. It tracks
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