Leaving a Legacy: How Thoughtful Boomer Business Owners Are Retiring Without Burdening Their Employees or Their Communities

Leaving a Legacy: How Thoughtful Boomer Business Owners Are Retiring Without Burdening Their Employees or Their Communities

Source: http://seattlebusinessmag.com/business-operations/leaving-legacy-how-thoughtful-boomer-business-owners-are-retiring-without   SEATTLE, WA – At 65, Charlie Lanasa has long grappled with how best to retire from BestWorth Rommel Inc., the Arlington-based sheet metal fabricator he acquired nearly two decades ago. After putting in 70-hour weeks for the company, which makes gas station canopies and custom siding for clients such as Krispy Kreme and Porsche Bellevue, he wasn’t sure he could let go. And, a couple of years back, he began to have another concern: “I started thinking, ‘What happens if I get hit by a truck?’” LaNasa says. “It would violate all my principles.” LaNasa has always taken pride in operating the business by three principles: Act ethically, provide good stewardship of the firm’s assets, and take care of his employees, customers, vendors and subcontractors. How could he find a new owner who shared his values and who would keep the business in Arlington and provide security for his 100 employees in a community of 19,000? LaNasa’s dilemma is one shared by many among the nation’s growing population of aging business owners. Project Equity, a Bay Area nonprofit, estimates baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 own 2.34 million businesses across the country and have nearly 25 million workers on their payrolls. In 2017, owners 65 years or older accounted for 36 percent of all small businesses with annual revenue between $100,000 and $10 million, and 45 percent of midsize businesses with yearly revenue between $10 million and $100 million, according to Minneapolis-based Barlow Research Associates. In a 2015 U.S. Census Bureau survey of Washington state’s 183,000 employers, roughly half of the business owners who responded were...
Pricing strategy, liquidity, capacity are key components to business success

Pricing strategy, liquidity, capacity are key components to business success

Pricing strategy, liquidity, capacity are key components to business success (This story is written by Debra Christein, a partner with B2B CFO who serves on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Exchange of Washtenaw, as well as co-chair of its annual conference, WXW Forum12.) Have you ever made a paper airplane? Did it fly? If you’re like me, probably not. And you know that it didn’t matter how many times you launched it, how fast you threw it or the angle – it would not fly, right? Also, if you’re like me, every once in a while you made one that flew. What was the difference? What special blend of tail height, wing breadth and body length made this piece of paper aerodynamic? Could you reproduce it in the next version? Could you produce success in a paper airplane ten times larger with a bunch of new features? Debra Christein Paper airplanes are a lot like business models. If a business model is not sound, if it’s not built to create a successful business, you can’t work hard enough or long enough to create a successful, sustainable company. The components of a successful business model are pricing strategy, capacity, infrastructure, and liquidity. Pricing strategy refers to the relationship of what you charge for your product or service to the cost of providing that service. If the price you can charge in your market does not cover the direct costs involved and an adequate portion of the general company costs, well, as the old saying goes – you can’t make it up in volume. In the airplane analogy, this...
It’s Not Quite as Lonely at the Top

It’s Not Quite as Lonely at the Top

by: MP Mueller In my last post, I talked about joiningVistage, the business group for chief executives. At first, I wondered if I would find the monthly investment worth it, but after three months in the group, I’m feeling pretty good about the decision to join. In my one-on-one coaching sessions with our group’s chairman, Bill LaRosa, there have been a number of “aha!” moments. At the start of our one-and-a-half-hour monthly sessions (which always seem to last two hours or more), I identify my most pressing challenge and score how I’m doing in three categories: in business, in health and in my personal relationships. During one session, I told Bill about my frustrations trying to get our team to fill out time sheets regularly. It may sound like a minor issue, but time sheets are the foundation for estimating jobs accurately. We stand behind our fixed estimates for projects, so if we are off, we lose money. Now, our employees at Door Number 3 are dedicated, talented and committed to doing great work for our clients. But, historically, there’s been an aversion to the time-sheet thing. I attribute it to people not always embracing the importance of both art and business. In the aftermath of the recession, tracking hours has been essential. Are we giving away work? Or are we on target with our estimates? How well are we utilizing the staff? And at what point do we truly need to hire additional people to handle new work? But trying to fill out time sheets two and three weeks after the fact is like trying to judge a lip-syncing...
How to Outsource Your Finance Department

How to Outsource Your Finance Department

AllBusiness.com By: David Worrell Few positions in a company are as easily outsourced as those in the finance department. That’s great news for small companies looking to add strategic skills, and for larger companies looking to cut full-time staffing costs. Outsource the Right Positions You probably already outsource your tax preparation, either corporate or personal or both. Because taxes are generally a once-a-year event, having an expensive accountant on staff year round is usually not cost effective. The same might be true of a chief financial officer, an analyst, a controller, and even a bookkeeper. If you don’t need these people every day, you can easily outsource these positions.The extent to which you outsource your finance department depends on the volume of transactions, the complexity of your finances, and the amount of management information (decision support) you want. Find the Right Firm Firms offering outsourced finance personnel are quite common, from large national firms such as B2B CFO and Tatum to teams of just a few consultants working virtually. Search the terms “fractional CFO ” or “part-time CFO ” to get a good selection. Before bringing on a virtual finance team, be sure you have defined your needs. There is a huge difference between a good accountant and a strategic finance professional. If you have, or will have, a need for more than one role, consider hiring a firm that can provide more than one person on an as-needed basis. Splitting duties between unrelated contractors is likely to cause more confusion than it’s worth. Even a small firm with three to five professionals will be able to provide the skills...
Best Holiday Gifts for Your Clients

Best Holiday Gifts for Your Clients

SOURCE: KPHO-TV Channel 5 (Phoenix, AZ) AUDIENCE: 416,028 DATE: 12/08/2011 HEADLINE: The best holiday gifts for your clients The best holiday gifts for your clients Updated: Dec 5, 2011 04:01 PM EST You probably wouldn’t give everyone in your family the same gift, so why would you choose the same gift for each of your clients?  Here’s a trending story from Inc.com – featuring B2B CFO Partner Wendy Nelson. By: Marla Tabaka With the economy still in recovery, many small business owners are trying to decide whether they should give gifts to clients, what they should buy, and when they should send the gift so it stands out above the rest. Sometimes a simple, yet personalized, card is an appropriate solution to your budget woes. If you have a little more money to spend there is always the standard gift basket. But is “standard” really good enough for your best customers? “When choosing a holiday gift for clients, it is important to be thoughtful,” says Laurence Briggs, president and CEO of Republic of Texas Company Store. “When customers use our corporate gifting concierge service to add personalized touches to gifts, we always ask them to give us more information about their client. What holiday do they celebrate? What are their hobbies and interests? What is their industry?” Briggs reminds us that it is important to show your clients that you care by paying attention to the details. “You would be surprised to learn how many people who celebrate Hanukkah receive Christmas cards from their clients,” he says. That’s certainly not a good way to demonstrate your attention of detail...