The Business Transition Blog

Catching up!

It’s hard to believe it’s been so long since I posted here, but I’ve been busy on other fronts. For more articles from the past year you can go here where you will find hundreds of my articles on succession, transition and planning. We’re just finishing up our first 3 year program for Business Owners in our Business Transition Coach Forum and will be starting another this summer. The results have been very positive with hundreds of thousands of dollars going on the bottom line for participants. More importantly, they have more confidence in their future and a plan to transition their business. Anyone interested in learning more about the next peer to peer group can call me at 519-654-2368 or email me at



New Year’s Resolutions or Goals?

Happy New Year!

As we look to the New Year, there are lots of things to be thankful for. We can be thankful for the fact that we live in a land which is rarely plagued with natural disasters and have never experienced the kind of devastation that has happened in other weather or war-battered countries. Frigid temperatures and a few feet of snow look pretty good compared to what we’ve seen in photos from around the world. Regardless of any current discomfort we may be experiencing, when you put it into perspective, we are very fortunate.

Here’s a question for you to ponder as you consider your plans for 2016: Is your future smaller than or bigger than your past? When you look ahead, do you see bigger and better opportunities, or diminishing returns? Are you ramping up, or slowing down?

Regardless of your age or stage of life, it’s a sobering thought to consider. Even though I have the occasional grey hair, I’m confident that my future is bigger than my past. The opportunities are easier to recognize and take advantage of. The effort required to do what I did in the past is less so I can accomplish a lot more with the same amount of effort. If I put in 5% more effort this year compared to the last, the returns will be multiplied.

This is a great time to consider where you are, where you are going and how you’re going to get there. Forget about New Year’s Resolutions and go straight to setting some goals because goals expand your future. They expand your options and opportunities. When you are committed to them, they focus your energy into an unstoppable force.

Here are some questions to stimulate your thinking as you plan for the next 12 months:

  1. What are my business goals for the year? Remember to make them SMART goals.
  2. What do I have to do differently this year to reach those goals? Be specific. Remember that if you want different results, you have to have different inputs. If you want to make a chocolate cake rather than a vanilla one, you need different ingredients.
  3. What are the obstacles and what do I need to learn, practice and do to get around them?
  4. When I reach them, how will I reward myself?
  5. What personal victories do I want to achieve for the year?
  6. What are my goals for health and fitness?
  7. What are my family goals?
  8. What needs to happen in the next 12 months in order for me to be happy with my progress?
  9. What skills (sales, leadership, management etc.) do I need to focus on in order to make my goals easier to attain?
  10. What do I need to give up or abandon in order to have the mental energy and time to achieve the goals that are important to me?

If you haven’t already done so, you might also consider setting a Giving Goal to help those less fortunate than yourself. Sharing and altruistic acts have been proven to be one of the best ways to increase your own personal happiness.

2016 could well be your best year ever. Expect the best!

Happy New Year!


A Letter To The New Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Here’s my latest article in It’s a call for some recognition of the Business Transition Crisis that is looming – along with some helpful suggestions.

Ideas: Give One And Get Ten!

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

So when you have one idea and share it, but get ten in return, you’ve stretched your mind forever. Read more to learn how you can stretch your own and the minds of others for mutual benefit. When you are looking at transitioning or selling your business, you need all the ideas you can get!

Lucky? Don’t Bet the Farm On It

Here’s my last article in ProfitGuide. You might be lucky, but don’t count on it. You know you have to make your own luck.

Jackie Gallant admits she got lucky. About a year ago a large Germany company called IDT Biologika approached her out of the blue about buying her business. Read more.

Time To Transition Your Business? Get Innovative!

If you think you only have one option for what to do with your business, when it’s time to slow down, think again. There are many possibilities. Unfortunately, a recent survey found that 40% of business owners don’t think they can sell their business so they plan to just wind it down and close it. But, if they think ahead and get innovative they might find other options.

If you are considering a change, here are ten options you could choose for your business in the next few years. If you think of others, please share!

  1. Sell it to a relative; maybe a son, daughter, former spouse, cousin, nephew, sibling, or a combination of these. You might be surprised at who is interested in taking over your business – if they were given the chance.
  2. Sell it to an employee, a group of employees or all the employees. This can be done through a buy-sell agreement, an Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP) or by turning your company into a co-operative (Co-op) business.
  3. Recruit someone to start as an employee with the intent of him/her learning the business, becoming a partner, and ultimately buying you out. Think of a former employee who was ambitious and left you to work with another company at a higher level.
  4. You might choose any of the above ideas, retain a percentage of the shares and continue to work part time, just for fun or to continue receiving income from the business. Set a buy-sell agreement in place and fund the buy-out with life insurance when you die.
  5. Buy your competitor(s), grow the business, and sell at a much higher price than if you were just selling your existing firm.
  6. Wind down the business quickly or over time and focus on serving a small group of customers part time, until poor health or death makes it no longer possible.
  7. Break your business into two or more separate entities. Keep one to play with and sell the others.
  8. Sell to an investment group, a competitor or a supplier.
  9. Hire a consultant to help you improve your business, then sell it to him/her.
  10. Contract a business broker or an investment banker to sell it for you.

Set a target date for transitioning the business. Then, get innovative and think about your options beyond just selling or closing the doors.

The Most Important Question You Can Ask About Your Business

You can see my latest article in ProfitGuide here.

You already have processes in your business, whether you know it or not. Employees already follow certain steps to get through the day, much of the time without really thinking about it.

Are the processes that your employees habitually engage in the best, most efficient, most effective and most productive steps they could be taking? Are they, in fact, processes that still make sense? Check out the question that will drive continuous improvement and make your business more saleable.

How’d You Like to Sell Your Business – Twice!

Here’s my latest article published on ProfitGuide. A successful entrepreneur gives some great tips on selling your business. In his case, he sold the business twice and more than doubled his original price.

New Year’s Resolution #3

I will read at least 30 new books this year on subjects that I believe will be of benefit to my clients. They include the following:

The Power of Habit

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Psychology of Executive Retirement from Fear to Passion: Escape the Rat-Race & Save Your Life

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

The Complete CEO: The Executive’s Guide to Consistent Peak Performance

Linkage Inc.’s Best Practices in Succession Planning

Saving the Family Cottage: A Guide to Succession Planning for Your Cottage, Cabin, Camp or Vacation Home

Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity and Building Talent from Within

New Year’s Resolution #2

Have at least one day per week in which I can say I’m in “Flow” as described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his books and in this TED video. Here’s a summary of what he defines as Flow:


  1. Completely involved in what we are doing – focused, concentrated.
  2. A sense of ecstasy – of being outside everyday reality.
  3. Great inner clarity – knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.
  4. Knowing that the activity is doable – that our skills are adequate to the task.
  5. A sense of serenity – no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
  6. Timelessness – thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass by in minutes.
  7. Intrinsic motivation – whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.

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