ARTICLES

Have a plan to motivate and keep key employees

The success of many closely held businesses is dependent on their key employees. These employees may not be family members and probably will never be owners of the business. Nevertheless, their efforts help increase the value of the business.
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FAMILY BUSINESS: Who will protect your family, business when you're gone?

No one is immortal, of course. When you are no longer able to do so, who will preserve your business and protect your family as you do today? There are two interrelated aspects to this simple question: Who will manage the business and who will be trustee of any trusts you may create for your family? A critical element of family businesssuccession planning is the selection and training of the next generation of managers. Can more than one child serve...
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FAMILY BUSINESS: Circumstances dictate different stock for different children

Most owners of a family business have one class of common, voting stock. One challenge faced by these owners is how to divide the stock among their children, who may have very different personal circumstances. It may not make sense to give each child the same stock. Suppose, for example, that you have three children: Your daughter is active in the business and is married with two young children. Unfortunately, her marriage is troubled and a divorce is not out...
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FAMILY BUSINESS: Warning: Inevitable conflicts ahead for siblings

If you have at least one child working with you in the family business, it is virtually inevitable that conflicts among your children will arise at your incapacity or death. You may have a "business child" and a "non-business child." So long as you are alive and well, you can resolve any conflicts between them. But what happens when you become incapacitated or die? Sibling rivalry can not only destroy what you have worked so hard to build, but it...
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FAMILY BUSINESS: Reorganize family business to treat all children fairly

Many family-business owners have children who work with them in the business as well as children who do not. The challenge they face is simply put: How can they treat fairly those children who will not inherit the business? There may not be enough non-business assets to give to the children who don't work in the business. Life insurance, payable to the non-business children, is sometimes suggested, if the business owner is insurable and the premiums are affordable. Some estate...
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FAMILY BUSINESS: Indiana Square damage offers lesson in disaster planning

The incident drove home the importance of disaster planning. When the storm struck at 10 p.m. that Sunday, who was prepared for the emergency? Employees were told not to come in the next morning, but how would they do their jobs? What files could be retrieved? Would computer systems work on Monday and later that week? What would happen to incoming and outgoing telephone and e-mail messages? The questions and potential problems were endless. Each owner of a family business...
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FAMILY BUSINESS: Are you protecting your business from potential disasters?

The recent news from New Orleans and Mississippi points out the need for family businesses to have disasterrecovery plans. Fortunately, we have little in Indiana to worry about from hurricanes, but other disasters are not uncommon. Consider the possi ble catastrophes that might strike your business. What have you done to protect the business against the consequences? Business-continuation and other insurance can mitigate the consequences of a wholesale destruction of your business facilities after a tornado or other natural disaster....
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FAMILY BUSINESS: Consider having lawyer audit your business Small doses of advice from all of the professionals you consult with can prevent serious problems in the future

Many family business owners view their lawyer as a necessary evil. It's almost as though we carry some deadly disease; call your lawyer only when the life of your business depends on it! But just as physicians have learned to control smallpox with small doses of vac cine, administered over time, the owners of a family business can also use regular doses of lawyers and other advisers to minimize the risks of the many problems that can put your business...
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