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Changing Lanes Newsletter Archive


Volume 9

Why Formalize the Business?

In their latest study of family businesses, Laird Norton Tyee reported that 95% of respondents believe they manage their family-owned business just like they would any other business. Yet almost half had no formal plan for the business, a whopping 65% didn’t require family members to have any specific qualifications or experience to work in the business, and less than 29% had a plan for the inevitable change in leadership!

The survey concluded that, despite the respondents’ optimism about the future, “these enterprises face challenges both now and in the near future, that will determine their long-term viability.” The greatest of these challenges arise from the lack of formality within family businesses. Read more…


Volume 8

Not Interested in Retiring?

If you are like the majority of business owners, the last thing you want from your advisors is pressure to retire.

You have worked hard to build your business to what it is today and maybe you aren’t ready to hand it over to someone else – someone you perhaps feel hasn’t yet proven they can deliver the level of success you think is a worthy goal. Also, there are likely many things you still want to accomplish before you run out of time and energy.

As business transition specialists, we will certainly not try to persuade you to retire before both you and the business are ready. Instead we will help you plan for a transition to a bigger future, a future that can sustain and unite your family long after your lifetime. Read more...


Volume 7

changing-lanes-fall-2016

Go Beyond Dreams

Thom Penmaen can well remember the day he made his decision to start his own business. Sophie was a stay-at-home mom and their daughter Cathy was just a few months old the day the staff were all called into Mr. Makin’s office. Mr. Makin was very sorry, but he had decided it was time to shut down the plant. Orders had been dwindling steadily and Mr. Makin was getting on in years. He had made the decision to close up shop and retire.

Thom was nervous but excited on the way back home that night to tell Sophie. He had it all worked out by then. He could see what was wrong with Makin Tool and Die and had lots of ideas had anyone bothered to ask him. He would get a loan and buy some of Mr. Makin’s equipment and start up his own shop in the garage. Once the loan was paid off, he would get some bigger premises. Read more...


Volume 6

Changing Lanes Summer 2016

Ensure You Have a Choice

Thom Penmaen is 65 years old and under pressure from his family to retire. However, Thom has a great vision for the future of his tool and die business and there are many things he still wants to accomplish. He is certainly not ready to plan his exit!

Thom’s position is one all veteran entrepreneurs can relate to. So much to do, so little time left. The last thing on their minds is exiting the business before they are ready. How and when to transition their business is undoubtedly a choice every entrepreneur should have.  Read more...


Volume 5

Changing Lanes Spring 2016

Why Have a Compensation Policy?

Cathy Penmaen is the VP of Sales and Marketing for Penmaenship Tool and Die, a company founded by her father, Thom. At age 40 Cathy is the eldest child and the only one of three siblings directly involved in the business.

As the only son, albeit the youngest child, Derek is the favourite to eventually take over the company from Thom. However, Derek doesn’t seem interested in his father’s pride and joy. Much to Thom’s dismay, he has aspirations of a music career and wants to take his share of the business to fund his ventureRead more...


Volume 4

Changing Lanes Winter 2016

My Dad Can’t Let Go!

Cathy Penmaen has been involved in the 40 year-old family business for over twenty years and hopes to one day take over from her father. However she feels that Thom, who at 65 is under pressure from his family to retire, isn’t grooming her for that role. According to Cathy, Thom is a control freak who has to be in charge of every aspect of the business he has built.


“I have the title of VP of Marketing but I really don’t have any say in what goes on around here,” bemoans Cathy. 
Read more…


Volume 3

Transitioning the Intangible Assets

Transitioning the Intangible Assets

Transitioning a business is not an event but rather a long-term process. Behind the obvious transition of ownership and day-to-day management is the more subtle transition of authority and leadership.

Mechanically, handing over authority is relatively simple but in reality, it is very difficult for entrepreneurs to let go of the control of their business. It takes time to gain confidence in a prospective successor. Add to that the preparation required to ensure that leadership goes hand-in-hand with that authority and it’s easy to see why transitioning is a such long-term process. Read more…


Volume 2

Changing Lanes Summer 2015 So you love to drive in the fast lane!

Yet you know that you can’t stay there forever. At some point you will run out of gas!

Don’t wait too long. It’s dangerous to cross a three-lane highway in one swoop. You’ve seen others cause some serious collisions – some involving their own family members.

It’s much safer to gradually move over to the right-hand lane while allowing your junior driver to transition to the fast lane. Learn how to change lanes safely, while being aware of the traffic conditions and possible roadblocks. Remember you need to check your blind spot often and signal your intentions! Read more…


Volume 1

Changing Lanes Newsletter How long do you plan to travel the Business Highway?

The surveys of family businesses conducted recently across North America report that approximately 40% of entrepreneurs expect to exit their business in the next five years, and a whopping 70% within the next ten years.

These statistics are a direct result of the aging baby-boomer business owners nearing or reaching retirement age.

However, a significant number of these business owners indicate they will be relying on the ongoing success of their business to finance their future lifestyle – either through the proceeds of a sale of the business, or from collecting a salary or dividend after they exit the day-to-day management of the company. Read more…