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How To Sleep Like a Leader

Posted By Chris Aird, With Purpose Business Consultants, Monday, April 2, 2018

As a leader within the company or as the top leadership executive, it can be accurately stated that you did not get to that position by only doing what was required of you or through minimal investment of your time.

It is also, safe to say, that through your dedication, determination, drive and sacrifice you have attained to this level of leadership success.

However, it is also important to remember that, as the leader within the organization, that many are dependent upon your continued success. Specifically, it would be your employees, your stakeholders, your family and above all, YOU!

Therefore, it is important to consistently invest in your well-being and one of the best ways to maintain your health, energy and drive is to Sleep Like a Leader.

It may surprise you that a recent survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review indicated that roughly 43% of business leadership surveyed said that they are sleep deprived 4 out of 7 nights a week

Consequently, a few important practical tips may be in order to ensure that you receive the adequate rest that you need to maintain your powerful leadership energy, vision and enthusiasm.

Some of those healthy sleeping tips would include:

  • Maintain a consistent bedtime hour.
  • Although keeping current on the events of the day may be necessary, the high-performing executive should detach from the world events at about an hour prior to retiring.
  • If experiencing difficulty going to sleep, check your diet and limit caffeine intake.
  • Indulge in consistent exercise through the course of the week.
  • As much as possible, detach yourself from communication devices at bed-time (cell phones, computers, tablets, etc.).
  • Instruct leadership staff to limit communication when you are “off the clock.”  Perhaps a separate number can be set up for extreme or emergency conversations.
  • Practical advice would include eating lightly at night as well as sleeping on a comfortable bed and in a sleep inducing environment.
  • Utilize homeopathic sounds such as running water or nature sounds available through inexpensive sound devices or listen to soothing music.
  • Take power naps during the course of the day at all possible.
  • Business travel is sometimes necessary – a few tips to manage jet lag may include staying hydrated, scheduling early arrivals, stay active, trying light therapy, etc.

Lead in your own life, take control, good night and sleep well!

Allow us to serve you and your business organizational needs as well as offering opportunities to mentoring your leadership staff.  You may contact us at (480) 280-6505.

Tags:  ASBA  business  business decision-making  business development  Business growth  business knowledge  Business Learning  Business Planning  business services  change  Employers  entrepreneur  finding your passion  getting unstuck  professional development  small business 

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How to Make Sure Your Small Business Outlives You

Posted By Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Contributor: @kerenzulli

Ensure your business's future with these estate planning tools.

If you pass away without a plan in place, you’ll leave heirs without clears instructions, potentially jeopardizing the business you’ve worked so hard to build.

“Small business owners need to plan for their estate even more than the average person does,” says CPA Kelley Long. “Not doing so can destroy your family and business. And a good estate plan can take years to put in place, so this is not a conversation you want to procrastinate on.”

Add in the fact that your business likely accounts for the largest component of your net worth, and it’s easy to see why you should take some time to work on the future of your business—by meeting with an estate planning attorney to talk about these six key components of a solid estate plan.


At the very least, your estate plan should include a will. This document allows you to specify how you want your assets to be transferred, and to whom, after you die. It also lets you identify an executor who will take charge of those assets and manage their disbursement according to your instructions.

You’ll also want to include a provision that gives your executor or another trusted individual access to a list of all online bank accounts, email accounts, file sharing sites, social networking sites, and their corresponding passwords. If you’re the only person running the business, important information will be inaccessible to heirs if you don’t provide this access. In some states, not even family members or appointed fiduciaries can get into these accounts if they don’t already have the information. Nor can they force companies to give them access, says estate planning attorney William Sanderson, co-chair of the American Bar Association’s real property, trust and estate law business planning committee.

This is why you’ll want to keep a document detailing all your accounts and passwords in a secure place that you can also easily access to update as needed.

“My most prepared client keeps a notebook filed with all his important papers locked away in a safe. He updates this list and his notebook regularly,” says Sanderson. “I recommend other small business owners try and implement the same strategy and let a spouse or trusted person know how to access them.”


Like a will, a trust allows you to control what happens to your assets after you die. But this legal entity has several advantages over a will. Any items you place under the ownership of the trust will bypass the probate process. Thus assets owned by the trust can be transferred to heirs much more quickly; your estate will remain private; and, depending on the kind of trust you set up, it could dramatically reduce the legal fees and estate taxes your estate or heirs will have to pay. And with a revocable or living trust, the terms and assets can be easily changed if your decisions change.

Power of Attorney

When you have payroll obligations, you should consider creating a durable general power of attorney document, which allows you to name an individual to carry out your business affairs should you become incapacitated, says Sanderson. If you don’t have this in place and something happens to you, the court will appoint a guardian to handle your affairs. “It can add a lot of stress to a business owner’s life at a time when they don’t need any added stress,” says Sanderson. “This little bit of extra work upfront could save a lot of headache should it ever be needed.”

Buy-Sell Agreement

If your business has multiple owners, a buy-sell agreement is a must. This contract establishes an agreed upon plan for the business’s future should one owner die or become incapacitated, says financial planner Paul Pagnato, who specializes in advising business owners. It defines a sale price for the business and your share, and allows you to document whether or not you want your partners to buy out your share, whether you want to block certain people from stepping into the business, or if you’d prefer family members to sell your portion. Since the price has already been determined, your family will have piece of mind that they are receiving a fair price.

Without one, your beneficiaries may be stuck running a business they have no interest in, don’t want, and can’t sell—and your partners may end up with a partner they never anticipated and don’t wish to work with.

Negotiate this agreement when the business is still young and all the owners—as well as the business itself—are healthy. “You want everyone to approach this decision with clear eyes and reasonable thoughts,” says Sanderson. Pagnato recommends drafting the agreement as soon as the business has value and cash flow is positive.


To raise the funds necessary to buy out a deceased partner’s share under a buy-sell agreement, the living partners often need life insurance. Each partner should purchase a term life insurance policy and name the other partners as beneficiaries. Or you could set up an irrevocable life insurance trust to avoid having the insurance proceeds count as part of your taxable estate. This will ensure that surviving owners receive tax-free capital to purchase the other’s portion of the business from the estate. “This does not have to come out of your pocket. It is a business expense and you should have the business pay those insurance premiums,” says Pagnato.

Whether you co-own the businesses or are the sole owner, you should also buy a separate term life insurance policy that names your spouse and children as beneficiaries. This will give your family time to adjust to life without your income and avoid financial hardship. Especially since a buy-sell agreement will take some time to complete and insurance can provide funds if there aren’t other sizable resources. For help determining how much life insurance coverage you should purchase, use this guide.

Succession Plan

If you’re a sole proprietor, you need a clear plan for what should happen to the businesses when you die. If you want to pass on the business, you need to begin delegating and preparing a successor. Be certain first that this person wants the role. If you’d prefer that the business be sold, help your heirs by doing research ahead of time that will make selling easy and inexpensive. Plus, your family won’t need to worry about whether they got a fair price for the businesses.

To prevent disagreements and ensure that things happen as you want them to, Sanderson recommends creating a document that outlines your wishes for the business’s future. You should clearly lay out important information about what the business owns and owes, and include a detailed list of of accounts and passwords. In addition to your family, Sanderson recommends involving professional advisers (like your financial planner or lawyer) as well as key employees and managers.


Contributor: @kerenzulli

Tags:  Business Planning  small business 

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Business Planning Tips For Marital Issues

Posted By Jason Trujillo, Woodbury Financial, Thursday, November 13, 2014

 Business Planning Tips For Marital Issues by Steve Parrish. Originally published on on 11/10/14. Read original article here.

I’ve reviewed a lot of buy-sell agreements over the years. The most common error I find is that they’re not agreements at all … meaning, they’ve never been signed.

When I ask why, I often get dismissive responses like, “We’re not worried about it,” or “We all agree on how it’s supposed to work.”

One way to counter this excuse, and get the buy-sell agreements executed, is to ask if any of the owners are married. Business owners quickly realize there are more interested parties in a buy-sell agreement than just the business partners.

There are also their domestic partners to consider.

Unintended business partners

A little disclaimer here. I don’t mean to disparage spouses or marriages. Did I mention I’ve been married 35 years? My point isn’t to question the institution or suggest that a business partner’s husband or wife means trouble.

It’s simply a matter of good business to address potential marital issues in business planning.

You may not know what, if any, marital issues your partners have. Still, you risk that your partner’s marriage-gone-bad can spill over into your business interests.

Ask yourself if you really want to become partners with your current partner’s divorced spouse? This exact scenario can play out if a judge awards some of your partner’s company stock as part of a divorce settlement.

Two high-profile examples

Consider two recent examples where Los Angeles-based sports teams were affected by their owner’s marital issues.

Frank and Jamie McCourt’s bitter divorce battle contributed to the takeover of the L.A. Dodgers by Major League Baseball.

When Donald Sterling, owner of the L.A. Clippers, was in serious trouble for his racist rant, a dispute quickly arose over who had the right to sell the team. Ultimately, a judge gave an extraordinary ruling to Sterling’s wife Shelly and the Sterling Family Trust to allow them to sell the team.

No business owner wants to anticipate marital problems, either personally or for one’s partners. But it is wise to do so, and to document how such issue will be handled. There are a number of best practices that are being used, some you may not have considered.

Obtain spousal acknowledgement

A recent practice has been to have spouses who not involved in the business acknowledge, in writing, their awareness of a buy-sell agreement.

Such a signed testament, usually signed at the time of the buy-sell agreement, can go a long way toward avoiding legal disputes in the future. The spouse is not necessarily disclaiming a financial interest in the equity of the business. He or she is simply declaring knowledge of the existence and terms of the buy-sell agreement.

Address competency

In a number of situations, an owner’s capacity to make legal decisions may become an issue.

For example, the judge’s declaration of Donald Sterling’s legal incapacity due to two doctors’ testimony that he suffered from dementia ultimately gave his wife the authority she needed to sell the team.

From a planning standpoint, it’s common to establish a durable power of attorney with one’s spouse to handle financial affairs if you become incompetent. These powers either become effective or continue if you are declared legally incompetent.

It can help the family function financially in trying times. All this is well and good from a personal financial planning perspective, but consider how this may affect your business interests. It would be smart to advise your business partners of any such legal arrangements you have with your spouse.

The reality is that if marital tensions develop, you and your business partner may want to review, and possibly change, these arrangements.

Legal capacity is a subjective determination, and a disgruntled spouse may be more apt to challenge competency. The risk is that a resentful spouse might, through the power of appointment, suddenly have the authority to vote shares in the business.

Define the spouse’s involvement in the business

In some situations, a spouse is involved in the business but not an actual owner. Because of the marital relationship, it can become fuzzy from a legal standpoint as to what his or her authority is to act on behalf of the business.

Is the spouse acting as an employee of the company or as a putative owner due to marriage?

To forestall this concern, document, in advance, the spouse’s scope of authority in the business. Does it include making contracts, signing checks, authorizing loans? If the marital relationship goes sour, a predetermined understanding may avoid overreaching by the spouse, and help escape additional legal disputes.

Include social media in the prenup

Traditionally, prenuptial agreements have addressed how property will be divided and distributed, and how spousal support will be determined in the event of divorce.

More recently, some couples have included social media clauses. These clauses are an attempt to avoid potentially embarrassing or defaming stories from surfacing on social media in the event of a divorce or separation.

Such clauses can be particularly useful if a closely held business interest is involved.

The business owner can use the prenup to head off humiliating or damaging aspersions that might damage the brand and reputation of the business. The agreement can be given legal teeth by providing for permission before posting or requiring a reduced settlement if the agreement is violated.

Marital relations issues are tricky and even embarrassing topics for business owners to discuss. They are, however, potentially crucial to the survival of the business. If addressed in the context of business planning, it may make it easier to manage and document. What’s love got to do with it? It’s just business.

Tags:  business owners  business planning  buy-sell agreement  company stock  divorce  Donald Sterling  Frank McCourt  Jamie McCourt  L.A. Clippers  L.A. Dodgers  legal competency  married  power of attorney  prenup  Principal Financial Group  Shelly Sterling  spousal acknowledgement  Steve Parrish 

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What's Not Keeping The Fastest Growing Companies Awake At Night

Posted By Jason Trujillo, Woodbury Financial, Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What's Not Keeping The Fastest Growing Companies Awake At Night by Steve Parrish. Article originally appeared on on October 17, 2014. Click here to read original article.

I’m in Arizona this week at a meeting where 1,500 business owners and key employees have gathered to:

  •  Share best practices
  • Learn from each other
  • Hear from nationally recognized experts

 These are businesses that have made the prestigious Inc. 500/5000list.

 And what have I learned?

 It’s my third time at the Inc. 500/5000 annual meeting, but there is always so much insight from this  impressive group.

 A colleague and I presented on the financial issues that are keeping business owners awake at night (taxes, retirement planning, employee benefits, etc.). My big takeaway from the discussion was the long list of business issues that are NOT keeping them awake at night.

 These are issues that are being addressed, neutralized or even leveraged.

 Optimism for the overall business environment

 As always, there is a lot of enthusiasm and confidence among Inc. 500/5000 attendees.

 These are entrepreneurs with fast-growing companies.

 Pessimism and insecurity would simply not work for this crowd. That being said, this is the most upbeat I’ve ever seen Inc. 5000 business owners. They are reporting a positive consumer market, good liquidity and a manageable economic environment.

 The elephant in the room

 In past years, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had been the proverbial elephant in the room. Some disguised their concerns through a political rant, some procrastinated by taking a “wait-and-see” approach, and many simply chose to ignore the law.

 Despite all the bravado, however, I sensed the ACA was keeping them awake at night.

 This year there seemed to be a refreshing turn. Companies have come to accept the reality of the ACA’s existence and have started learning and adapting. These businesses are almost universally building healthcare planning into their strategic and tactical business planning.

 Incorporating the new law has caused some growing pains. One retailer I met with can’t find anyone who wants to provide his successful company health insurance, and his business – by default – is relegated to the federal exchange market.

 But the owner is simply accepting the challenge as a normal part of doing business, and he’s doing what he can to mitigate its effect on the company’s plans.


 Business owners I talked with are receiving unsolicited sales offers with high multiples of earnings. The buyers appear to have available financing and liquidity.

 These are fast-growing companies, of course, and the multiples being offered are dependent on the industry they’re in. Still, compared with three years ago, the merger and acquisition market has heated up significantly.

 Interestingly, notwithstanding these high multiples, there doesn’t seem to be much of a mood among owners to take the money and run. Many want to grow their companies organically and eventually sell their business interests to their other partners or employees.


 Fast-growing companies always seem to have a unique marketing spin, but there are some themes I noticed that apply to a number of marketing strategies.

  •  Retailers who entered the market by selling online are often seeking to additionally sell their products through brick-and-mortar retailers. I talked with both a snack company and a skin care company that sell through the Internet but have started to also sell their products through name-brand retailers in malls. They report that this gives them some credibility to advertise on the Web. They promote that they also sell their products at, say, Bed Bath & Beyond, GNC, etc.
  • Retailers that traditionally sell through their own stores or dealerships are increasingly finding success in selling online. Imagine an RV company that reports excellent sales through Web purchases. A family researches the product online, even buys online, and then comes to the shop to pick up their camper as part of their vacation.
  • Similarly, manufactures and retailers of big-ticket items like specialty vehicles report success in selling used products through the Web. They buy back products they’ve manufactured or sold, post it on the Web and sell it to a new buyer. Consumers are accustomed to eBay-style purchases, and they find peace of mind in buying a used product through the website of the original manufacturer.

 Key employees

 It was particularly encouraging to see that employers want to address recruiting and retaining key employees.

 Business owners recognize that key people are mobile and attuned to pay and benefit issues. The “keep my head down and keep my job” mentality is history among employees.

 Even more encouraging is that many of these owners want to avoid the mistakes of the past, where the solution was to try to mollify the key employee with stock options or restricted stock. A number of business owners are interested in unique and exciting employee benefits (voluntary service days off, weight loss programs, flex time) and goal driven incentive plans.

 They’ve come to realize pay and bonuses work as rewards but not necessarily as retention tools. More than one owner I talked with plans on selling their business soon yet still wants to install long-term incentive plans for key employees.

 In the end, I can only guess what business issues do or don’t keep these successful business owners awake at night, but I did see a lot more willingness to recognize potential problems as opportunities for the future rather than impediments to growth. No wonder they’re among the fastest-growing companies in the country.


Tags:  Affordable Care Act  Business Best Practices  business concerns  Business Learning  business planning  business worries  employee benefits  fast growing companies  Forbes  Inc. 500/5000  National Business Experts  Principal Financial Group  retirement planning  Steve Parrish  taxes 

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Business Growth Mantra

Posted By Jason Trujillo, Woodbury Financial, Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Business Growth Mantra: Take Big Actions; Make Little Mistakes

by Steve Parrish

Originally posted at 10/06/2014. Click here for original article.

“My life expectancy is 24 years. My money expectancy is about 15 years.” This is the opening line a new retiree makes to a financial advisor. The discussion, and a number of other financial dialogues between consumers and advisors, is showcased in this series of videos designed to encourage people to take action on their financial goals.

This past summer in Chicago, people were offered free taxi cab rides with an advisor during which they could essentially lay out their financial concerns while being driven to their requested destination. These video vignettes remind me of the popular Discovery Channel program “Cash Cab,” but in this case the test is financial honesty and the reward is useful financial advice.

Take Action
The challenge is not so much finding good advice; it’s acting on the advice given. Think about the individual who said he has a longer life expectancy than money expectancy. If he had taken that cab ride 10, 15 or 20 years ago, would there be a better match up today with his money and life expectancy? I’m guessing that “back when,” whether the advisor recommended he invest in 60 percent equities and 40 percent fixed securities, or vice versa, the resulting difference wouldn’t be all that big of an issue. As long as the individual had actually saved the recommended amount of money, his portfolio would be in far better shape than it is today.

I refer to this as the financial law of “little mistake, big mistake.” A person should consider which financial strategies entail the potential for a little mistake and which have the risk of being a big mistake.

1. An advisor suggests that a parent buy a particular life insurance policy. It turns out that the suggested policy is more expensive than another product released a few months later. I suppose purchasing the policy qualifies as a little mistake. However, had the parent decided to wait to buy life insurance coverage at a later date—and in the meantime becomes uninsurable or passes away —now that’s a big mistake.
2. An individual has money available to invest in equities. She uses dollar cost averaging to spread her entry into the market over 12 monthly installments. If it turns out the stock market had huge growth during those months, it could be argued she made a mistake. Why? She would have received a higher return on her investment had she participated in the stock market all at once. In the scheme of things, however, that’s a minor error. In comparison, not investing at all during those months would be a bigger mistake.


Taking Action in Business
You might contend that the “little mistake, big mistake” approach won’t work in the context of growing one’s business. The very nature of growing a business involves taking risks. I would counter that yes, business involves taking risks, but it also involves minimizing mistakes. When a successful business owner assesses a business growth opportunity, there is a natural balancing of the investment risk and the reward potential. For example, when an entrepreneur considers which expenses in a project will be variable and which will be fixed, that entrepreneur is in effect asking, “How can I limit my downside exposure; if it doesn’t pan out, can I limit this venture to being a little mistake by making some costs variable instead of fixed?”
Similar assessments go into the process of deciding whether to grow a business organically or through acquisitions. There are pluses and minuses to all these decisions. The trick to the decision-making process, however, is to keep the mistakes little, and the growth big.

Tags:  business decision-making  business development  business exposure  Business growth  business mistakes  business planning  business risk  financial planning  financial strategies  Forbes  INC 5000  Principal Financial Group  Steve Parrish 

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