From the monthly archives: "November 2012"

Why are we here in the first place? Oh yes, the book.
Since every company has its own idiosyncrasies, Changing Places helps the business owner figure out how to think about succession and transition planning in ways that fit their own specific situation. Moss and I used lively narrative examples from our practice to bring to life both the potential problems faced by business owners and the practical solutions they have adopted. These “war stories” are my favorite parts of the book.  They bring it to life and make it real. Every business owner can identify.
Here’s a good one from Chapter 3. Your Transition Advisory Team
Support Through Difficult Transitions

We know of one situation where the father, Jeffrey, started his company as a “family business” at age forty-six. Jeffrey didn’t need the money from the start. He enjoyed the risk and excitement that resulted from making big business decisions and relished the personal attention he attracted as a business leader. 
Jeffrey encouraged his eldest son Steven to take business and accounting classes in college, so he could be useful in the business as soon as he graduated. Jeffrey also brought his daughter Catherine and his other son Mark into the business, even though they had limited business skills. Jeffrey never worried about retirement because he never planned to retire (much to his wife Shirley’s chagrin). When he died at age sixty-nine, it was “with his boots on.”
During his lifetime, Jeffrey was the personification of the business, and wielded his business power ruthlessly within the family. His passing was followed by a six-year long, acrimonious period that included a legal battle over valuation of the business, culminating with Steven buying out his siblings.
During the process Steven learned to value the advice and encouragement of an excellent quasi-board of directors he had cultivated. Steven had to work very hard diversifying the business and increasing sales. He found that developing and maintaining strong banking relations was critical. Steven found that his business plans required him to invest more personal money in the business.
His advisors kept him on track during this difficult period. They critically assessed his expansion plans and helped him find ways to reduce both the required capital and the initial risks of the expansion. When he needed to hire a new sales manager, referrals from his advisory board brought him several top-notch candidates. These are only two of many examples where the advisory board helped Steven‘s business grow and prosper.
As a postscript to this story, Steven recently finished the buyout payments to Catherine and Mark and he now says that though he is very busy, he is happy as can be. (Steven’s wife, Linda, on the other hand, is not so thrilled, because he is not around much and won’t take vacations. Like father, like son…)

Now, just curl up in your blankee. I’ll have another story for you in the next post.
Check it out: “Changing Places: Making a Success of Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs and Family Business Owners” (published by AuthorHouse). Feedback please to: dfranzetta@gmail.com

Dave Franzetta and Moss Jackson pen new action planning guide, Changing Places,for small business owners facing the conflict of generational leadership change.

LAGUNA NIGUEL, CA – (DAVE FRANZETTA> BLOG > POSTED 11PM PST, 112912)
 


When did we publish Changing Places? Only a few weeks ago, right? So now it’s time to brace myself, sinister music goes here, for the book reviews. Many writers simply will not look at them. Some ego-tripping writer once said something like “Those who want to be writers of books read book reviews, the writers of books don’t.” What, grandly dismiss them all? Well, sorry, I find that level of arrogance appalling. That’s not who I am. I’m too short to look down my nose at anyone!
So I guess I’ll read the darn reviews. But I’ll have to be honest, the mere thought of reading the first one gives me the willies. So what am I afraid of? In our consulting practice, Designed Outcomes, we welcome any kind of feedback, good or bad, with open arms. Why can’t I be just as open-minded when it comes to the book? After all, a book review is nothing more than feedback. Negative or positive, I’ll face it head on. And yet, somewhere deep inside, I need that very first review to be a really good one. Sorry to say, that’s the only way I’ll get rid of the willies.
Hold on, I think I know exactly where to look to find that positive review. It’s so obvious. To like the book you must read the book. But first you have to buy it.  Hey, we printed it in paperback, it’s not expensive. I bet I can find someone who bought the book and then posted a Customer Review on my publisher’s website, www.AuthorHouse.com
And much to my relief, I found this little gem:

“This is the best book I didn’t know I needed.
Thank you for a wonderful look into what I need to do now to make the end result something I can call a success.”
            Loretta Martin

Short and sweet, I love it! And she gave it five stars.
Thank you, Loretta.
I’ll leave all of you with this. Book reviews are feedback. I thrive on feedback. So whenever you can, please give it!
Check it out: “Changing Places: Making a Success of Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs and Family Business Owners” (published by AuthorHouse). Feedback please to: dfranzetta@gmail.com
LAGUNA NIGUEL, CA – 230PM PST, 112712)


POST INTERVIEW – On Tuesday, October 23rd, Dave Franzetta, co-author of Changing Places, talked with radio host, Stu Taylor, on Money Maters Radio, broadcast out of WBNW in Boston. This is Dave’s recap of the radio interview after its conclusion.
DAVE: Actually I thought the interview went very well. Stu Taylor is really a great guy with an incredible wealth of business knowledge. I was flattered he had actually read our book, Changing Place. He was genuinely intrigued by it, which helped, because he asked me some really smart questions. So, good interview, let’s not belabor it. Except for one thing. We left something out! You see, the interview was on Tuesday, the morning after the last Obama/Romney presidential “great debate,” and of course we had to talk about it a little. However, for the sake of brevity, we edited those comments out for the blog. But now I’m thinking it was kind of cool how I weaseled out of taking any sides politically! So I’ll share it now:
STU: So I’ve got to ask, what if you had written Changing Places during more affluent economic times? This economy was sure the main issue last night…
DAVE: Well sure. We all listened to the debate last night I think and we heard Governor Romney and President Obama both talking about the importance of small businesses as the engine for job creation and economic growth. Well, this is the point when the moderator, Bob Schieffer, should have said, You’re both right!
Ok, that’s it with that. I’m off to plug the book at the next stop. They say going on “Book Tour” is a necessary evil. I don’t know. I rather enjoy it.
Check it out: “Changing Places: Making a Success of Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs and Family Business Owners”(published by AuthorHouse). Feedback please to: dfranzetta@gmail.com
LAGUNA NIGUEL, CA – (DAVE FRANZETTA >  830PM PDT, 112612)


PART 4 – Tuesday, October 23rd, Dave Franzetta, co-author of Changing Places, talked with radio host, Stu Taylor, on Money Maters Radio, broadcast out of WBNW in Boston. This is Part 4, the conclusion of an edited version of the radio interview.
STU: We continue with Dave Franzetta. It’s always a decision whether a business is valuable to continue or for whether, for whatever reasons, that only certain individuals are capable of running it. Or for personal or business reasons they don’t want the business to continue. Assuming there is a transition to a new, is there a formula as to whether the individual selling the business should stay on through the transition stage and remain in some capacity, in a position to make sure things are going well? Is there a formula for that?
DAVE: The only rule that would really apply in a situation like that is you’ve got to have strong leadership on the ground ready to take over whenever any kind of a change takes place. So if you’re a business owner and you have strong second tier leadership that you’ve developed over the years, you can sell your company and leave with confidence. And the buyer would also have confidence that management and leadership that stays behind will be successful.  What happens all too often when someone builds a company and wants to sell it with confidence. But the buyer comes along and looks at the situation and says, whoa, I have to put strong management in place and they will require the owner to stay on for a period of time, either in a senior consulting role or management to keep things alive until new leadership can be in place.
STU: I really like what you did in the book, at the end of every chapter you’ve got questions that allow the reader to utilize introspection and help get a thought process going as to the content of each chapter.  I think that is really important and thought it was worth mentioning.
DAVE: That’s interesting, Stu. That was the genesis of the book. We had prepared guides for our clients considering succession or exit planning and the guides were in the form of questions.  Then we started to sort and categorize questions, and it became obvious to us that they were clustered around really important topics.  So we tried to write our chapters with stories, little narratives from our practice that illustrate either particularly good or really bad cases of planning for succession.  We set each chapter as if it was a small meditation on the subject.  We really ask our readers to read a chapter and reflect on it.  Questions we ask are not generic. They are for you specifically.
STU: Thank you, Dave Franzetta. It’s a really important book. Published by AuthorHouse in paperback. Thanks so much for joining us, David.
DAVE: It’s been a real pleasure, Stu. Thank you very much.
Check it out: “Changing Places: Making a Success of Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs and Family Business Owners”(published by AuthorHouse). Feedback please to: dfranzetta@gmail.com
LAGUNA NIGUEL, CA – (DAVE FRANZETTA > 1030AM PDT, 112512)


PART 3 – Tuesday, October 23rd, Dave Franzetta, co-author of Changing Places, talked with radio host, Stu Taylor, on Money Maters Radio, broadcast out of WBNW in Boston. This is Part 3 of a 4-Part edited version of the radio interview.
STU: We’re back with Dave Franzetta, the co-author along with Moss Jackson, of Changing Places.  Dave, this is such a wide-ranging subject. Transitions, making the preparations on your own, thinking about a transition team, hiring…
DAVE: The book really covers everything.
STU: How would you define for me then the principle thesis of the book?
DAVE: Well the main theme of our book is that the work of succession planning, as it’s typically thought about, focuses almost entirely on providing for a continuity of leadership within an organization. Whether it’s a Fortune 500 company or a mom and pop. But that work is very, very different from the work that we call, Transition Planning. And that’s dealing with the personal transitions and upheaval that result from changes in leadership. And we think it’s a really critical distinction since most business leaders tend to overlook, or even ignore, the many and varied personal transitions that people experience while an organization is changing.
STU: Transition Planning for success.
DAVE: Exactly. And Dr. Jackson and I found that the failure to manage those transitions — the personal, internal, psychological changes — is often the root cause of failed change efforts in organizations of any size. But counter to that, when they carefully consider and manage well those transitions, the success rate is very, very high.
STU: And we’ll cover that successfully next…
To be continued…stay tuned for the next blog post
Check it out: “Changing Places: Making a Success of Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs and Family Business Owners”(published by AuthorHouse). Feedback please to: dfranzetta@gmail.com
LAGUNA NIGUEL, CA – (DAVE FRANZETTA >  4PM PDT, 112412)


PART 2 – Tuesday, October 23rd, Dave Franzetta, co-author of Changing Places, talked with radio host, Stu Taylor, on Money Maters Radio, broadcast out of WBNW in Boston. This is Part 2 of a 4-Part edited version of the radio interview.
STU: Well let’s take a look at today’s world and I think you have to apply it to that. Whether you look back 10 years, 20 years, or whatever. Today’s world? It’s different today. So what is the significance of your book now, today, in this economy?
DAVE:  Our timing was perfect. Changing Places  can help all of us in this country see that we had better focus on small businesses and the very importance of small business today as they are the engine for job creation and economic growth.
STU: Small businesses, big role.
DAVE: All the data supports that proposition. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 30 million small businesses today in the United States. They account for more than 10 trillion dollars of personal wealth. That’s not a small number. They employ 53% or more than half of all workers in this country. Those small businesses are responsible for 64% of all the net new job creation. That’s jobs after job loss. Just in the past decade, 70% of all jobs in the US were created by small businesses, businesses with less than 10 million dollars of revenue. But 60% of small business owners were born before 1964. The Baby Boomers! There are so many of them, one Baby Boomer, who is a small business owner, is turning 65 every 57 seconds. And that’s going to continue for the next 17 years.
STU: At rate of one per minute. Wow.
DAVE: Despite that fact, 90% of small business owners will tell you, hey, it’s really important to have an exit plan when leaving the business, less than 1 in 8 has actually committed any part of a leadership continuity plan to writing. There is so much at risk right now in the way of jobs and owner’s legacies and business assets to simply do nothing and hope for the best.  So we hope that our book will provide a path for business owners to develop and execute the roadmap and the plans they will need to secure the future. Not just for themselves but for their families. And as importantly, for their employees.
STU: While that sets in, we’ll take a break…
To be continued…stay tuned for the next blog post!
Check it out: “Changing Places: Making a Success of Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs and Family Business Owners”(published by AuthorHouse). Feedback please to: dfranzetta@gmail.com
LAGUNA NIGUEL, CA – (DAVE FRANZETTA > 9am PDT, 112312)


PART 1 – Tuesday, October 23rd, Dave Franzetta, co-author of Changing Places, talked with radio host, Stu Taylor, on Money Maters Radio, broadcast out of WBNW in Boston. This is Part 1 of a 4-Part edited version of the radio interview.
STU: I want to open up with a guest. In a sense this is about what to do with a business. You build it up and then you think, where does it go from here? I have seen a lot of circumstances turn out to be very unproductive. What do you, what does the company do? Here to talk about it is distinguished author, David Franzetta, with his new book, Changing Places: Making a Success of Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs and Family Business Owners. Welcome to the show, David.
DAVE: Good morning, Stu.
STU: It is an amazingly important subject. I want to give the book a plug. It’s in paperback. You can get it by going to Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, or AuthorHouse.com, or go to DesignedOutcomes.com, the author’s website.  It is nice to have you with us.
DAVE: Thanks for having me.
STU: I’ve been in business for several decades and have seen transfer of ownership and future plans completely derailed. You can get out of a business but you can get out the wrong way. What to do when you move on? Is this book a rarity? I haven’t seen anything like it.
DAVE: Well it really is a rarity in a sense. So little has been written on the subject, especially for entrepreneurs and family business owners. Dr. Jackson and I working in our consulting practice found that many of my clients were thinking about exiting the business but had no specific plans for making a successful transition from being that person who runs the business to being the retired former owner. And we prepared guides that we used when working with clients. But we discovered there was very little published material to help owners of small businesses work out a plan for both leadership continuity for the company and personal transition for themselves. So we wrote the book Changing Places to fill that gap.
STU: I just want to talk about my own experience having seen people who said boy things are great, I sold my business, and then later on they ended up taking that back because they structure the deal properly. This can turn out to be a catastrophe of monumental proportions, can’t it? If you don’t really figure out how to do it. Do you want to divorce yourself from it or stay on?
DAVE: Absolutely. What we find in all of our work is that so often the leader of the business, be it the founder or the second generation owner, whoever it is, is so personally identified with the business, so much of their psyche is tied up in being “The Man” or “The Woman,” The Head of the business, and it’s hard for them, sometimes extraordinarily difficult to for them to consider what their life might be in any role that’s different from that. So it’s extremely difficult for them not just to step down to some kind of a lesser role but to even consider handing off part of their ownership and leadership responsibilities to anyone else, even if it’s a first born son or daughter.
STU: Stay tuned. More about “Changing Places” after this break…
To be continued…stay tuned for the next blog! 
Check it out: “Changing Places: Making a Success of Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs and Family Business Owners”(published by AuthorHouse). Feedback please: dfranzetta@gmail.com
LAGUNA NIGUEL, CA – (DAVE FRANZETTA >  4pm PDT, 112212)


I think it was last month. I met this really nice guy, very knowledgeable, who was the star salesman for a family-owned printing company. He had some dire concerns about his job. The company had been founded and built by the family patriarch, the sole owner, who ran it with an iron fist. Then one day BOOM, the owner had a massive stroke and dropped dead. His family, unprepared for change and paralyzed with grief, made a snap decision they would soon regret. Without thinking it through, his only daughter, just 28, was chosen to fill the void. She was pretty, well educated and known to all as his pride and joy. But, excuse me, was that enough to make her heir apparent? Apparently so, the salesman said, “She was family.” Other candidates were not even considered. She became the new CEO. Her management style? Speak slowly and smile a lot.
Unfortunately, with no written plan for succession in place, the company nearly died right along with the owner.
Turns out this young lady knew more about spending money than making it. She also lacked any real working knowledge of the company or how to manage the staff. Whereas Dad was very “hands on,” she was completely “hands off.” She kept no schedule or regular hours. Worse yet, she often holed up in her office all day behind closed doors, completely unable to cope. I’d call that:
Filling A Void With A Void.
It was a bad move. An important decision made in haste. Now six months later the company was floundering, a ship without a rudder. Without a leader barking orders, all communications broke down. Chaos ensued. Loyal clients took a hike, sales fell off a cliff, and all the employees were terrified. The ship was sinking. So WTF is really going on?  There’s something I don’t know.
So I probed a little. And a little more. Finally it comes to light that the new CEO was addicted to prescription pain pills. And her usage was escalating. It was the elephant in the living room that nobody talked about. The Company Secret.
A leader with compromised judgment can send the whole company south in a flash.
So you have to start right there: Fix the CEO! Advise the family that it’s crucial they get her into Rehab…like, today! Then everybody sit down and FINALLY get some kind of transition plan drafted immediately. I thought why couldn’t this star salesman lead that effort? He cares about the company. He knows how to sell. He’s just the guy to rally the troops and sell them some hope for the future. Who knows, once the daughter is all cleaned up and clear-headed she might be able to actually do her job, even be good at it. In the meantime, almost anyone else in the company could run it better. Our salesman could do it. Put him in charge while she’s away.
I had to smile when I heard yesterday that our salesman had been made an Executive Vice President and Acting CEO. And business was picking up.
Perhaps you, too, are trying to solve a “pervasive and vexing business problem.” 
Sometimes you gotta dig deep. A successful succession plan must address potentially negative family issues HEAD ON. It can get gnarly. Toes will get stepped on. But it must be done. Blood may be thicker than water, but it can drown you just the same. Check it out: “Changing Places: Making a Success of Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs and Family Business Owners” (published by AuthorHouse).
Feedback please at dfranzetta@gmail.com
LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. – (DAVE FRANZETTA >  8pm PDT, 112112)


So here I am on a crowded plane and this brash young man sitting next to me asked me if my new book, Changing Places, “was relevant in today’s economy?” And as I am prone to do when asked a stupid question, I answered back by slowly repeating the question. “IS…MY BOOK…RELEVANT…IN TODAY’S ECONOMY?” My sarcasm did not go unnoticed. But you know, he deserved a better answer. And I had a captive audience.
And Now For Some Exciting Bureau of Labor Statistics!
I explained it like this: We’ve all been hearing 24/7 how small business is the engine for job creation and economic growth. Right? All the data supports that proposition. According to the Labor Stats, there are 30 million small businesses in the US, accounting for $10 trillion of personal wealth, largely belonging to the Middle Class. Small businesses employ 53% of all US workers, and are responsible for 70% of all jobs created in the last decade. 60% of small business owners were born before 1964. That means one Baby Boomer small business owner is turning 65 every 57 seconds. And continue for the next 17 years. See where I’m going?
OK, time for the clincher. Only 13% (WHAT?) of small businesses have a written plan for leadership continuity; and without it the chances are great that the business itself will disappear along with the current owner. Also down the tubes: his legacy, his business assets and his employees’ jobs. Gone. You do the math.
After listening intently, the fellow next to me said, “Hey, Dude, that was totally awesome. Literally. Seriously!” So I thanked him, gave him a copy of the book and bought him a drink. So…is the book relevant? Seems obvious. The lack of proper exit planning for small businesses has hurt our nation’s economic growth.
So check it out. “Changing Places: Making a Success of Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs and Family Business Owners” (published by AuthorHouse).
Please give me your feedback at dfranzetta@gmail.com
Dave Franzetta and Moss Jackson pen new guide and action plan, Changing Places, for business owners facing the conflict of change.
LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. – (DAVE FRANZETTA > 7am PDT, 112112)


Wow! So yes we officially published the book last MONTH and you know I’m not sure how I feel about me being an author.  I don’t feel like I’m any smarter or wiser or anything. I don’t look any different. I don’t feel too full of myself. I got my copy from the publisher a few weeks ago; and I do have to say…I’m riding on a cloud right now, excited/grateful/proud/relieved to finally get Changing Places published. I guess what I like best is the trickle [hoping it will grow to a flood] of “reviews” I’m getting from friends and colleagues around the country. I loved the headline for our publisher’s first Press Release:
Human Drama. Intrigue. Family Fortunes At Stake. All This In A Business Management Book?
Yes, so it’s great to provide much needed and previously unavailable content for entrepreneurs and family business owners facing transition. And given the economic environment, getting Changing Places out there is timely indeed. For sure it will be required reading for my consultancy clients. But the thing I am most stoked about is that people enjoy reading it! Many read it in one sitting. Are you kidding? See, that’s the big surprise for me, that all the narrative real-life examples we provided actually make our business book…a good read.
So check it out. “Changing Places: Making a Success of Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs and Family Business Owners” (published by AuthorHouse).
Please give me your feedback at dfranzetta@gmail.com
Dave Franzetta and Moss Jackson pen new action planning guide, Changing Places, for small business owners facing the conflict of generational leadership change.
LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. – (DAVE FRANZETTA > 10am PDT, 111912)

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