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Dallas Romanowski

Managing Partner, Cornerstone Business Advisors

Dallas Romanowski is the managing partner of Cornerstone Business Advisors, Inc.; a general partner at Seahawk Innovation Fund, LLC; and the executive fund director for the IMAF Cape Fear Angel Fund. He has played a critical ro  

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Feb 8, 2023

Building Value Outside the Business

Many business owners find the bulk of their wealth within their businesses. However, planning for a successful future often means wrangling financials outside the business too. This is especially impo ...

Jan 25, 2023

Is This Plan Right for You?

A question business owners often ask about planning for a successful future is, “How do I know the plan my advisors are building is right for me?” It’s a good question, and one that ...

Jan 6, 2023

Getting Good At What You’re Bad At

Knowing what you’re good at is the catalyst behind your business success. To sustain that success and grow to new heights, many business owners must confront the things that they’re not so ...

Dec 21, 2022

You’re Never Too Old to Succeed

Occasionally, successful business owners will say to themselves and their advisors, “I’m too old to start a multi-year plan for my future.” In many respects, this mindset is similar ...

Business Growth
Dec 8, 2022

How to Plan Like a Thoroughbred

Running a successful business is a lot like a thoroughbred horse running a race. Knowledge of the competition, track conditions, and your own skill play huge roles in how you finish the race. However, ...

Nov 16, 2022

How to Plan When You’re Too Busy to Plan

Your daily responsibilities as a successful business owner can make planning for a successful future seem impossible. But with the right process, you may find that this planning is both achievable and ...

Nov 3, 2022

You Will Die: Business Planning for Unexpected Death

Death is the one experience every business owner has in common. Few business owners like to talk about this fact, and even fewer like to plan for this inevitable outcome, especially if they don’ ...

Oct 20, 2022

Addressing Apathy Among Managers and Key Employees

Building a successful business is a labor of love. Whether it’s the love of creating something, profit, legacy, or otherwise, your business is most likely your passion. But what if your manageme ...

Sep 21, 2022

Don’t Eat the Bear in One Bite: Planning Your Future in Steps

Planning for a successful business future is like being confronted by a bear. If you run from it, it’ll catch up to you and eat you. If you attack it without a strategy, it’ll overwhelm yo ...

Sep 8, 2022

Becoming More Recession Resistant Through Planning

The last two-and-a-half years have been tumultuous, and owners of small to mid-sized businesses have borne the brunt of the pain. Though few people could have predicted the effects of the pandemic, bu ...

Aug 17, 2022

How to Remove “I Can’t Retire” From Your Planning Mindset

There’s a big difference between not wanting to retire and not being able to retire. Even business owners who intend to die at their desks can appreciate the safety net of financi ...

Aug 3, 2022

Love Can’t Be Blind: Preparing for a Business Transfer to Children or Insiders

Successful business owners do a lot of things well, and they make it look easy. This is often a sign of well-running processes and years of discipline. However, it can also be a trap for successful bu ...

Jul 20, 2022

3 Value Drivers You Can Start Installing Right Now

An important aspect of growing a successful business Is creating transferable value. Transferable value is what your business is worth to someone else without you at the helm. Whether you plan to ...

Business Growth
Jul 6, 2022

4 Reasons Why Planning for a Successful Future Isn’t DIY

At their core, successful business owners like you are builders. Whether you founded your business, or purchased one and took it to new heights, doing it yourself runs through your veins. Why, then, w ...

May 24, 2022

You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide

Successful business owners are proud people—and with good reason. Their businesses are the heartbeat of the economy, and have immense effects on the lives of people inside and outside the busine ...

Business Growth
May 4, 2022

Ready or Not: Why Planning Now Beats Planning Procrastination

All successful business owners must eventually face a stark reality: One day, they will no longer run their business! If this idea makes you uneasy, you aren’t alone. Today, we’ll show you ...

Business Growth
Apr 30, 2022

Getting Personal in Business Planning

It’s not uncommon to hear the phrase “Don’t take it personally” in terms of business decisions. But when you own a business, it’s difficult—if not impossible— ...

Business Growth
Apr 20, 2022

Getting Personal in Business Planning

It’s not uncommon to hear the phrase “Don’t take it personally” in terms of business decisions. But when you own a business, it’s difficult—if not impossible— ...

Business Growth
Apr 7, 2022

Business Continuity: Is Your Business Built on Sand or Stone?

The strongest businesses often have written plans for how to address unexpected events and mitigate risk, known as business continuity instructions. Their owners ask questions like, “What happen ...

Human Resources
Mar 17, 2022

Managing Important Employees Who Aren’t Key Employees

Successful businesses require many types of employees to succeed. But it’s vital to know which employees are key employees, which are important employees, and how to properly motivate the latter ...

Human Resources
Mar 2, 2022

Ex Uno, Multi: The Case for Replacing One Owner With Many

E pluribus unum—out of many, one—is a concept that runs deeply in the blood of many people, especially successful business owners. You likely expect that your co-owners, advisors, and empl ...

Business Growth
Feb 17, 2022

Why Specific Goals Should Also Be Fuzzy

A longstanding credo for successful business planning is make specific goals. However, there is such a thing as being overly specific in your goals to the detriment of other things that matter to you. ...

Human Resources
Feb 2, 2022

Keeping the Family Business Running and the Business Family Happy

Running a successful business is complex per se. Adding the element of “family” to a business often creates more complexities, especially as the business grows. Lifelong family bonds and e ...

Business Growth
Jan 19, 2022

The Common Element Among Unique and Successful Businesses

Successful business owners may face a conundrum as they pursue success. “Though my competitors do something similar, they don’t do it the way I do it. So, how do I know the right way to ac ...

Business Growth
Jan 6, 2022

The Virtuous Circle Of Improving Cash Flow

If cash is king, then cash flow is the kingmaker. Cash flow can have a multiplier effect in terms of achieving your planning goals for a successful future. Often, increasing cash flow requires stro ...

Business Growth
Jan 3, 2022

4 Improvements That Can Position Owners for Greater Success

Success is rarely linear. As a business owner, it’s important to both acknowledge that fact and create plans that can provide short-term results while having long-term impacts. Today, we’l ...

Human Resources
Dec 9, 2021

The Importance of Reviewing Your Performance

As the year winds down, it’s important for business owners to raise their awareness of last year’s performance. Knowing what you did well, along with where you struggled, is crucial to pla ...

Business Growth
Nov 17, 2021

Planning Is a Team Sport: Which Teammates Do You Need?

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships. –Michael Jordan You are a talented business owner. It’s why you win in your market. But when it comes to long-term pl ...

Business Growth
Oct 20, 2021

Protecting Yourself Against Employee Risk

Successful business owners constantly strive for growth. And when everything’s humming along, it can be easy to think the good times will last forever. However, it’s crucial to protect you ...

Business Growth
Oct 6, 2021

Why Communication Is Essential to Successful Planning

The one thing that makes humans unique (and the most dominant species on the planet) is our ability to communicate using language. Why, then, do so many business owners fail to communicate their busin ...

Business Growth
Sep 22, 2021

What’s the Point of Asset Protection?

As a successful business owner, you know how important asset protection is. However, many business owners look past an important question when protecting their assets: “Why am I doing this?&rdqu ...

Business Growth
Sep 13, 2021

How Your Employees’ Motivations Can Affect Your Business Planning

Business planning often revolves around the idea of “What’s in it for me?” Business owners usually want the kinds of planning that let them run, grow, and eventually leave their busi ...

Business Growth
Aug 19, 2021

Strength From Within: How Preparing Employees for Ownership Can Strengthen Your Business

No matter how you define business success, one thing is constant: When everyone is rowing in the same direction, it’s much easier to reach the destination. As you grow your business, you’l ...

Aug 4, 2021

Connecting Your Personal Financial Plan and Business Continuity Plan

Owning a successful business is a constant exercise in planning. Many successful business owners have already committed to personal financial planning, including investing and providing financial secu ...

Jul 21, 2021

Are You Protecting Your Most Valuable Assets?

As your successful business grows larger and matures, you should always be on the lookout for forces that can diminish its value. New companies and competitors constantly aim at the top dog by identif ...

Jul 12, 2021

How Agility Can Affect Your Company’s Future

One of the most important skill sets that successful business owners have is the ability to be ready for just about anything. The key to doing this is being agile. Let’s look at what an agile&nb ...

Business Growth
Jun 16, 2021

Retaining Key Employees: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Retaining your company’s key employees is one of the most important steps toward your business’ success. Key employees can reduce your workload, noticeably improve company performance and ...

Jun 3, 2021

Guiding Your Wealth To Where You Want It To Go

When you die, how much money do you want to have to pay lawyers to wrangle the complications of your estate? How about the IRS—how much of your life’s work would you like to hand over to t ...

May 19, 2021

5 Ways To Address Deal Killers Before They Kill Your Deal

When you set your business up for future success, you can set yourself, your family, and your personal interests up for similar success. But a common problem owners overlook is how to address Deal Kil ...

May 13, 2021

Deal Killers: Catch Them Before They Harm Your Future

Preparing your business for a successful future often goes hand in hand with preparing your business for a successful sale. No matter whom you sell to—and even if you believe you’ll never ...

Apr 22, 2021

5 Aspects Of Strong Goals And The Consequences Of Missing Them

Setting goals is a catalyst for success, especially if you’re planning for the future of your ownership and the success of your business. The strongest goals tend to have five aspects that help ...

Apr 8, 2021

There’s More To Business Than Money: Values-Based Goals

Successful business owners often want more than just the maximum amount of money they can get. These owners have deeply ingrained values-based goals that guide why and how they do business. But many o ...

Mar 19, 2021

The Magic Behind Writing Your Plans Down

For nearly 5,500 years, human beings have written things down. From Hammurabi’s Code and the U.S. Constitution to your personal business plans, writing things down helps people follow rules and ...

Mar 5, 2021

Walk Before You Run: Phased Planning

Planning for a successful future without your business is a smart strategy. One of the traps that business owners commonly fall into as they begin planning for their successful future without the busi ...

Feb 18, 2021

Poor Planning, Big Problems: The Tale Of Tom Poor

"All those years of work are thrown away. To ease your mind is that all you can say? But what about that grandson on your knee? Them railroad songs, Tom would sing to me." –Robert Plan ...

Feb 3, 2021

Change Is OK: How Planning Makes You Focused And Flexible

As a business owner, you manage all sorts of complexity in your work. Goals, expectations, and the people who help you meet them may change. But even though things constantly change, you can still ada ...

Jan 14, 2021

Is A Family Transfer Right For Your Business?

When planning for the future, you have a wealth of options related to who should continue to run your business. Many business owners’ plans fall short because they are unaware of the many option ...

Jan 4, 2021

What Have We Learned?

It is safe to say that this year was full of surprises. Some businesses thrived, while in other areas jobs were lost, companies were forced to go under, and we even lost loved ones along the way. Many ...

Dec 15, 2020

Keep Your Family Intact With Proper Estate Planning

It can be difficult to consider what will happen to your business and your family if you die unexpectedly. Without proper planning, you could be leaving your family and/or key stakeholders in a huge m ...

Dec 1, 2020

Don’t Let Your Key Employees Jump Ship

Next-level management teams are the drivers behind building business value. But how can you and your advisors attract and keep next-level management teams? The answer lies within incentive plans. W ...

Nov 16, 2020

If You Don’t Uncover The Skeletons In Your Closet, Your Buyer Will

Starting the preparations to sell your business is never easy. Selling or buying a business comes with mixed emotions and hard decisions. There are a lot of variables to consider. One action item to d ...

Nov 2, 2020

Ingredients To Jumpstart The Planning Process

Taking on any large project can be manageable when you have a reliable process in place. When deciding to exit your business, for example, you will need a proven process in place to ensure you have co ...

Oct 15, 2020

The Process Of Selling Your Business Has Already Begun

When you started your business, it was probably obvious that you needed a plan. It may be less obvious, though, that when you leave your business, no matter how you do it, you’ll also need a pla ...

Sep 30, 2020

Not All Strategies Are Created Equal

Succession planning, Exit Planning, and business planning may seem interchangeable in most people’s eyes. However, each type of planning plays a very different role in the process of designing, ...

Sep 16, 2020

Find Your Best Path To The Future

You can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going. It’s also obvious that once you know where you’re going, you need to lay out a path that will take you there. ...

Aug 31, 2020

Funding A Sale To “Insiders”

When imagining the future of their businesses, and possibly a future that involves different ownership at some point, owners may wonder if it’s really possible to consider “insiders” ...

Aug 13, 2020

Rethinking Cash Flow

While there are many uncertainties when planning for the future, one factor that is almost always essential to the success of your future plans is cash flow. Measuring your company’s cash flow a ...

Jul 28, 2020

Where To Start

When we start any important project, it is common to choose to plan in phases. Sometimes we choose to plan in phases because there is a certain aspect of the project that we consider to be more urgent ...

Jul 15, 2020

Planning When You’re Too Busy To Plan

As an owner of a successful business, it’s likely that you got where you are today through efficient planning. You may have planned out your business model, your competitive advantage, or your t ...

Jun 30, 2020

Where Transferable Value Comes From

One of the most important elements of a successful business transition is transferable value. No matter what an owner sees for the future of the business, transferable value can be the common denomina ...

Jun 15, 2020

Identifying “The Gap”

Business owners have a lot of information at their fingertips. There are calculators and assessments available for just about every aspect of your business and personal situation. As a result, many bu ...

Jun 1, 2020

Realistic Timelines

Global economic disruption uniquely affects each business. Whether you are being hit with a hammer or expect to suffer a slow burn, your reaction to changes and proactive planning will play a major ro ...

May 15, 2020

Growing Business Value When Times Are Tough

In times of great uncertainty or disruption, some business owners will panic and bury their heads in the sand. Some will sit tight and wait for things to settle down. But others will try to create opp ...

May 1, 2020

Does Your Spouse Feel Left Out Of Key Business Decisions?

Sometimes when planning the next chapter in your life, the most important people somehow feel left out. Deciding to transition out of ownership of your business is one of the most important decisions ...

Apr 1, 2020

How To Be Sure You Are Leaving Your Business In Good Hands

Most business owners are considering several options for the future of the ownership of their businesses. If you’re keeping your options open, that is typical. But business owners who end up sel ...

Mar 15, 2020

Which Planning Process Is The Best Fit For You?

Planning for a successful future isn’t homogenous. It simply can’t be. The needs that you and your business have are likely to be different from every other owner and business out there. S ...

Mar 5, 2020

Strategies For Reducing Risk And Improving Outcomes

As a business owner, you make decisions constantly that you believe will reduce your risk and/or improve your business outcomes. There are countless ways to do this. In this article, we’ll prese ...

Feb 13, 2020

The 7 Cs Of Planning Success

Success can be a nebulous concept. What one business owner considers success might only be a step on the path to success for you. What are some of the guidelines that you can use to foster t ...

Jan 9, 2020

3 Ways To Position Yourself And Your Family For Future Success

Many business owners support their families through their businesses. If something were to happen to you, such as a sudden death or permanent incapacitation, it may affect both your business and the l ...

Jan 3, 2020

Why Defining Goals Is Important And How To Do It

Planning for a successful business future is an exercise in foresight and commitment. Without foresight, it may be difficult for you to determine what success means to you. Without commitment, even th ...

Dec 4, 2019

If You Love What You Do, Why Should You Make Plans To Leave?

Many business owners love the companies they’ve founded, whether it’s because of the work they do, the changes they effect, the money their companies provide, or something else. When you c ...

Nov 20, 2019

Must You Fire Your Managers To Grow The Business?

Building business value is a common goal among business owners. Many successful small business owners find that after years of growth, the company can begin to plateau. It can be frustrating if you an ...

Nov 6, 2019

How Do Business Performance And Health Affect Your Planning?

Many successful business owners don’t feel any urgency to plan for the futures of their businesses. When owners are comfortable where they’re at, they may struggle to plan with a longer vi ...

Oct 21, 2019

How Long Does Planning for Your Business’ Future Take?

One of the first questions business owners ask about exiting their businesses is, “Just how long is all of this supposed to take?” The true answer is it depends. There are many things ...

Oct 2, 2019

What You May Get Wrong About Business Valuations

Business valuations are important to successful planning. They tell you what your business is worth to a potential buyer. Though business valuations seem simple on the surface, even the smartest and m ...

Sep 13, 2019

Shaping Your Plans for a Successful Future

When we talk about planning for the future, we often talk creating a plan. The idea of creating something as big as a plan for the future can imply a ton of from-scratch work (as i ...

Aug 23, 2019

Successful Planning Starts Much Earlier Than You Think

Many business owners believe they have plenty of time to create a successful plan for the future of their businesses. Most commonly, owners think that if they give themselves a few years, they can tra ...

Aug 7, 2019

Fairness and Equity Among Family Members

If you’re like many business owners, your business plays a large role in supporting your family’s lifestyle. As you plan for your business’ future, you may run into questions about h ...

Jul 17, 2019

Two Self-Made Problems That Can Harm Your Planning

Planning for your business’ future success is a long-term effort in problem solving. Usually, the problems you’ll try to solve result from the natural evolution of the business. For exampl ...

Jul 8, 2019

Turning a Lifestyle Business Into a Business Enterprise

Many business owners start their companies as lifestyle businesses to support a certain kind of lifestyle that they want. Some found businesses because they have an urge to create and build. ...

Jun 19, 2019

A Planning Process for Future Success

Do not act as if you had ten thousand years to throw away. Death stands at your elbow. Be good for something while you live and it is in your power. –Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Buildin ...

Business Growth
Jun 7, 2019

Protecting What You Care About: Business, Family, & Employees

As a business owner, you’re likely the most important person in your business. You’re probably the breadwinner for your family. Your employees rely on your leadership and success for their ...

Business Growth
Jun 1, 2019

Maintaining Control, Minimizing Risk, and Rewarding Your Best Employees

For many small-to-mid-market business owners, there are few things more important than maintaining control of the company, minimizing risks for the company, and rewarding the employees that make the c ...

Business Growth
May 15, 2019

Whether You Sell Your Business or Not, the Planning Is the Same

There are many things for you to consider as you think about the future of your business ownership: When is the right time to move on? How much money will I need? How do I even sell this business? The ...

Business Growth
Apr 30, 2019

3 Things That Can Build Future Business Value

Building business value is a core reason you wake up and run your business every day. As your business grows in value, it can position you to find new clients; keep current clients happy; support your ...

Business Growth
Apr 3, 2019

Why Make Your Business More Valuable Without You?

Businesses that rely on their owners as the primary source of success are common. They’re also the most dangerous kind of business to own when you want to plan for the future of your ownership i ...

Apr 1, 2019

Is Your Business Worth as Much as You Think?

As a successful business owner, you know that your business has value. It likely supports the lifestyle you and your family live. It provides a paycheck and perhaps benefits to the people you employ. ...

Mar 15, 2019

Working Backward: 3 Questions to Ask About Your Planning

Do you remember trying to solve a complex maze as a child? You’d start at the beginning, trace a line toward what you thought was the correct path to the end, only to run headlong into a wall ...

Mar 1, 2019

Incentivizing Your Best Employees to Stay

When thinking about business planning, one aspect you may be tempted to overlook is the contributions of your key employees. Key employees are the lifeblood of well-run businesses, and they play an ...

Feb 22, 2019

3 Things to Remember About Third-Party Sales

As a business owner, you’re likely used to having as much control over how the business functions as possible. You’re the go-to person for big decisions and you own the consequences of th ...

Feb 1, 2019

How Business Owners are Approaching Their Futures

As a business owner, you know that planning is crucial and that the new year is typically when you implement new strategies. As the new year begins, many business owners have begun to examine what the ...

Jan 15, 2019

How to Leverage Your Strengths in a Business Exit

When preparing for a large-scale event – such as an extended trip to a foreign country, sending the kids to college, or preparing your business for the future – the planning required can s ...

Jan 3, 2019

How to Overcome the Overwhelming Parts of Planning

One of the toughest things you’ll confront in your planning is focusing on the goals that matter most. You might find that the things you want to do conflict with the things you must do. For ...

Dec 14, 2018

Are You Being Your Own Worst Enemy?

Many business owners believe that they want to sell their businesses to a third party when they first start considering their business exits. Owners who want to start planning for a third-party sal ...

Nov 30, 2018

Why You'll Need an Advisor Team

Exit planning can be complex. Between setting your exit goals and transferring your business, you’ll attempt to build business value, find an appropriate successor or buyer, navigate perplexi ...

Nov 16, 2018

Reducing Risk Can Build Value

Building a successful business and minimizing risk may seem like opposite strategies but, typically, they go hand in hand. Once a business matures past the early, sometimes-chaotic stages of develo ...

Nov 1, 2018

What Business Owners Assume About Financial Planning Hurts Them

One of the most important goals of exit planning is to position business owners for post-exit financial security. To do that, business owners and their advisors must have several pieces of informat ...

Oct 15, 2018

Death Can Ruin Your Plans

Imagine building your business over several decades, beginning to plan your business exit, then dying unexpectedly before you can implement your plans. Business owners rarely think about how an une ...

Oct 5, 2018

What Exit Planning Can Do for You

As a business owner, you likely have plenty on your plate. You have a business to run, perhaps a family to care for, and many other responsibilities that require your time. So, why should you consi ...

Sep 26, 2018

Even If You Never Plan to Exit Your Business, Exit Planning Can Still Help

Many business owners take pride in the businesses they’ve built. Some of those owners are so proud and dedicated to their businesses that they’d be happy dying at their desks, doing wha ...

Aug 31, 2018

Getting the Results You Want

As you consider your business exit, you may find that approaching it alone is prohibitively challenging. You may also find that some of the advisors with whom you’ve worked don’t have all ...

Aug 15, 2018

Three Benefits of Written Exit Plans

Planning a business exit can seem like a lot of work at first. From building business value to developing capable successors to figuring out exactly what you want to do with your life after you lea ...

Aug 1, 2018

What’s So Important About Planning?

When business owners start their businesses, they often create a written business plan to guide them toward success. However, many successful owners don’t mimic that process when they begin to a ...

Jul 16, 2018

Balancing Goals in Family Transfers

If you’re considering transferring your business ownership to family, you might be tempted to put your family’s wants over your own goals. While this altruism may be admirable, it can a ...

Jul 2, 2018

The Dangers of Transferring to Children Without Planning

After building a successful business, many business owners decide they want to transfer their ownership to their children. Too often, those owners assume that a transfer to children will go smoothl ...

Jun 15, 2018

Unforeseen Challenges to Third-Party Sales

For many business owners, a sale to a third party is their assumed exit path. Some business owners even start their businesses with the goal of finding a larger, more deeply pocketed buyer, selling ...

Jun 1, 2018

Building Business Value Through Exit Planning

Business owners seldom seek to exit their businesses without attaining financial security. They understand that one requirement of financial security is to grow business value, but many struggle to ...

May 15, 2018

The Two-Pronged Approach to Exit Planning

When business owners begin to think about their business exits, they tend to focus on one specific goal they want to achieve. Some owners focus on when they want to exit, some focus on how much mon ...

May 1, 2018

How Emotion Affects Your Business Exit

Generally, business owners feel comfortable being owners. They enjoy what they do but, rationally, they know they need to change their roles in their businesses eventually. But most owners don&rsqu ...

Apr 16, 2018

The Importance of Setting an Exit Date

According to surveys, up to 79 percent of business owners plan to exit their businesses within the next 10 years, with more than half saying they want to exit within the next five years. Howev ...

Apr 2, 2018

Handling the Early Stages of Exit Planning

For business owners, the idea of exiting their businesses, which for many owners define their professional lives, can seem like a gigantic undertaking. They ask themselves, How can I possibly do al ...

Mar 15, 2018

Estate Planning: A Small Slice of a Bigger Pie

Business owners commonly associate exit planning with estate planning, and they aren’t too far off. Good exit plans and estate plans both aim to ensure that the owner’s family is provid ...

Mar 1, 2018

How Does Exit Planning Protect Business Value?

When you set about starting your business, you likely had big goals and expansive dreams about its success. Whether success meant having an impact on your community, making as much money as possibl ...

Feb 13, 2018

When Key Employees Stall Your Exit

An important part of a successful ownership transfer, regardless of exit path, is the presence of key employees. Key employees are those who have a direct and significant impact on business value, ...

Jan 22, 2018

Knowing What You Have to Get What You Need

For many business owners, building their successful businesses began by accurately determining what they had. Whether their businesses provide products, services or ideas, the success they experien ...

Jan 8, 2018

Setting Exit Goals for the New Year

With the new year upon us, many people have begun their journeys to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions. For business owners, it’s no different. Between creating goals for the busin ...

Dec 1, 2017

What Could Go Wrong When Transferring Ownership to Employees?

We often hear owners say they want to transfer their businesses to third-party buyers when they first encounter the concept of exit planning. However, we’ve observed that in many co ...

Nov 3, 2017

For Business Exits, Being Inconsequential Is Of Great Consequence

It’s likely that few people, if any, have ever told you, “You need to make yourself less important,” regarding your business. But sophisticated buyers look for businesses that can ...

Oct 16, 2017

Minimizing Threats To Business Value

Many owners and advisors talk about the importance of growing business value, and there are nearly unlimited options to help business owners do just that. But wouldn’t you agree that growing ...

Oct 2, 2017

How To Increase Your Business’ Value Using Value Drivers

A fundamental aspect of a successful business exit is assuring that your business has enough value to allow you to exit with financial security. This, coupled with wisely invested non-business asse ...

Sep 15, 2017

An Estimate Of Future Company Cash Flow

Cash flow is one of the most important factors in a business exit. Today, we look at why securing a professional estimate of your company’s cash flow is crucial to the success of your exit pl ...

Sep 1, 2017

Setting Goals Is Important, Even If They Change

Setting goals is critically important to owners who begin exit planning. Without goals, even the strongest processes fail, because they have no purpose to work toward. Your goals are what guide you ...

Aug 15, 2017

Protect Against The Pain Of Exiting Your Business

You know how things work in terms of starting and running a successful business. You’ve hired the right people, offered a useful product or service and developed high-quality relationships with ...

Aug 1, 2017

Which Comes First - Estate Planning Or Exit Planning?

A successful business exit plan achieves three important owner goals: Financial security. The business sale or transfer provides the amount of income the owner and owner’s family need a ...

Jul 14, 2017

Death And Taxes vs. Preserving Wealth

Full disclosure: Wealth preservation planning can’t help any of us cheat death, but it can help business owners avoid taxes and achieve financial security. The ideal exit plan (i.e., one that ...

Jun 30, 2017

Business Continuity Planning For Co-Owners

Imagine that on the eve of your wedding, you make a plan to divorce your spouse, on friendly terms, in about 15 years. During those 15 years, you agree to work diligently and successfully to build a b ...

Jun 15, 2017

Maintain Control, Save On Taxes And Set Fair Value With A Buy-Sell Agreement

There is a strong case for creating a buy-sell agreement for co-owned businesses. If owners agree about how to appraise business value and set the terms of payment in advance of any transfer event, th ...

Jun 1, 2017

Preparing For The Worst: Business-Continuity Planning For Sole Owners

Contemplating one’s own demise can be challenging but is paramount to sole owners and their businesses. Consider the fictional Harry Withers, the 54-year-old owner of Withering Hikes, a chain o ...

May 15, 2017

A Business-Continuity Agreement Among Owners Is A Must

If you co-own your business, the business-continuity agreement, or buy-sell agreement, is one of the most important documents you will sign. If you have a buy-sell agreement that is out-of-date, not r ...

May 1, 2017

Avoiding Disasters In Insider Transfers

Steve Smith was no different than millions of other baby boomer business owners in that the thought of leaving his business was never far from his mind, no matter how far away his exit might have ...

Apr 17, 2017

Elements Of An Insider-Sale Plan

In this article, we discuss the essential elements of a plan owners use to transfer a business to insiders that keeps the owner in control until he or she has paid the sale price. If you suspect th ...

Apr 3, 2017

Are You And Your Company Candidates For A Third-Party Sale?

If you think planning for the biggest financial event of your life is a good idea and prefer an approach other than wait-and-see, what can you do to make sure your company is ready to sell when you de ...

Mar 17, 2017

Sticking A Toe (Or Two) In The Exit Planning Pool

In this issue, we attempt to dismantle the most common objections owners have about undertaking the planning necessary to exit their companies successfully. Excuses to avoid exit planning include t ...

Mar 1, 2017

Building Value: The Win-Win-Win Of Exit Planning

In all likelihood, you are absolutely critical to the success of your business. Without you, there is no business. We want to fix that. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, we can help you ...

Feb 1, 2017

Top Excuses For Avoiding Exit Planning

Like every owner, you will one day exit your business, either voluntarily or involuntarily. On that day, you will want to attain certain business and personal objectives. The first - and usually prere ...

Jan 16, 2017

Selecting Your Exit Goals

When a man does not know which harbor he is heading for, no wind is the right wind. – Seneca The starting point for any type of plan is defining its goals. In the case of planning a business ...

Jan 2, 2017

Failure To Plan Has A Price

I never worry about action, but only about inaction.  – Winston Churchill “I haven’t decided what I ultimately want to do with my business, when I want to exit, how much mone ...

Dec 15, 2016

Exits Are Inevitable, Failure Is Not

We understand that business owners are so busy addressing today’s economic challenges, they can overlook the critical task of exit planning. We also understand that, at some point, all owners ...

Dec 1, 2016

The Impact Of Value Drivers On Sale Price

Business experts may mention "value drivers," as if everyone knows what they are, how they work and where their impact will be greatest. It can be difficult or frustrating to know that bu ...

Nov 15, 2016

Does Value-Building Equal Exit Planning?

Every day, we work with owners to build sustainable value in their companies. Some of these owners build value to make their companies more profitable. Others build value with an eye on growth, while ...

Nov 1, 2016

For A Successful Finish, First Find Your Starting Line

People don’t like spending money on things they don’t need. So why would you need an estimate of your company’s value if you don’t expect to leave for a few years or more? ...

Oct 17, 2016

First Things First: Prioritize Your Objectives

You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there. — Yogi Berra It is not always easy to interpret Yogi. In this case, perhaps he ...

Oct 4, 2016

Prepare For The Unexpected With Exit Planning

In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable. - Dwight D. Eisenhower Gen. Eisenhower’s point was that the process of creating a plan provi ...

Business Growth
Sep 9, 2016

Selling Out Without Regret

I can't play golf every day. My wife wants to see more of me — but not at every breakfast, lunch and dinner! What do other ex-owners do after they've sold out? Failing to answer ...

Business Growth
Aug 23, 2016

Is Exit Planning Worth The Time And Money?

When we talk to business owners about the value of exit planning, we are talking about orchestrating a business exit that fulfills their unique personal and financial goals. More often than not, the b ...

Aug 10, 2016

Navigating The Choppy Waters Of A Sale

If you have never sold a business before, who better to lead the sale process than the guy who knows far more about the business than anyone else? Who better to steer the ship than the gal who knows e ...

Business Growth
Jul 29, 2016

Exit Your Business Without Leaving It

As advisers, we often hear from business owners some variation of the following comments: “I think it is time to back away from my business." “I'd really like the freedom to ...

Business Growth
Jul 13, 2016

A Business Agreement Is Not A Plan

When co-owners are united in striving toward common business goals such as growing revenue, building business value and increasing cash flow, the business dynamics can be wonderfully positive and stro ...

Business Growth
Jun 22, 2016

Equality And Fairness In Transfers To Children

Stan Briggs was perplexed when he told his adviser, “My son, Patrick, has worked in the business for the last 12 years. In that time, the business has tripled its revenues and its profits. I&rsq ...

Jun 8, 2016

Value Doesn’t Grow On Trees … Or Does It?

We all know that “money doesn’t grow on trees.” And neither does business value. You can’t just wait until you are ready to leave your business to find out how much “valu ...

Business Growth
May 18, 2016

Death And Taxes Versus Preserving Wealth

Full disclosure: Wealth preservation planning can’t help any of us cheat death, but it can help business owners to avoid taxes and achieve financial security. Read on.   The ideal exit pl ...

Business Growth
May 10, 2016

What To Expect From A Buyer

Assuming that all business owners (except for those forced to liquidate) will eventually sell or transfer their companies, we often focus on what it takes to be a well-prepared seller. Setting exit ob ...

Business Growth
Apr 21, 2016

Characteristics Of Bonus Incentive Plans

Too often, owners discover that the compensation plans they've put in place for key employees are sadly inadequate when those key employees leave for greener pastures. The departure of one or more ...

Business Growth
Apr 8, 2016

Looking For Financial Clues To Your Exit Readiness

Where to start? Business owners who have not been through an exit planning process, and many of them have not, are often unsure about how we begin and what information is important. Whether you plan t ...

Business Growth
Mar 16, 2016

Creating Value In Your Business To Get Top Dollar When You Leave It

Did you ever wonder why one business has buyers lined up willing to pay top dollar while another sits on the market for months, or even years? What do buyers look for in a prospective business acquisi ...

Business Growth
Feb 17, 2016

What's The Point Of A Bonus Incentive Plan?

When we ask business owners about the possibility of installing an employee incentive plan, we often hear one of two responses: “I would like to do something to reward my key employees for t ...

Business Growth
Jan 26, 2016

What Does Your Business Value Tell You?

No one wants to spend money on something he or she doesn’t need. So why do you need an estimate of your company’s value when you don’t expect to leave for several or many years? &nb ...

Jan 12, 2016

A Race Against Time

Successful, active business owners seldom slow down. Many business owners are great at planning for their businesses and terrible at planning for themselves. There are so many business challenges to t ...

Business Growth
Dec 16, 2015

So You’re Never Leaving …Got A Plan For That?

We hear it all the time. Do any of these sound familiar? “I’m never leaving my business. I love what I do.” “I don’t intend to exit my business. I pl ...

Dec 4, 2015

Fraud: Do You Know It When You See It?

The subject of employee dishonesty is a delicate one. Owners generally want to trust their employees, and given all the other battles owners fight on a daily basis, they're often not as vigilant a ...

Business Growth
Nov 18, 2015

Either You Have It, Or You Don’t

Business owners who are planning for successful futures should always begin by identifying and understanding their primary objectives for themselves, their families, their ownership and their business ...

Nov 9, 2015

Is The Bank With You Or Against You?

Many business owners have mixed feelings about their banks and their banking representatives. They are unsure about whether they can be completely honest about their business without a negative impact ...

Business Growth
Oct 22, 2015

Unintended Consequences

Stephen Manicek sat quietly and stared out the window of his car as it sat parked in the parking lot of Mayfaire Business Park. Until a few minutes ago, he had been president of his distribution compa ...

Business Growth
Oct 15, 2015

Is Cash Flow Still Important?

In many client meetings we have suggested that cash flow is “king” for a closely held business. But with low interest rates, abundant private equity capital, and an improving economy, some ...

Human Resources
Jul 1, 2015

How To Have Candid Conversations With “Disengaged” Employees

A few years ago I was asked by a client to coach an employee who was not demonstrating his potential or supporting his company’s culture. The coaching engagement was a bit unusual because most o ...

Business Growth
Jun 15, 2015

Creative Exercises For Business Innovation

Does your company culture embrace creativity? When is the last time your company innovated a product, service or process (your way of delivering value to clients)? Growing a company, or in many ...

Human Resources
Jun 2, 2015

What Is Performance Management?

I'm often asked what performance management is, and why I'm such a strong advocate for it. Let's start the discussion with an example from Benton Toups, an attorney who specializes in e ...

Business Growth
May 15, 2015

HR Research Reveals Insightful Metrics That Leaders Must Overcome

Capturing data within the human resources (HR) management function offers insight about employees and managers that can help leaders improve performance and team engagement.   For example, rece ...

Human Resources
May 1, 2015

What Employees Want From Their Managers

Understanding what your employees want from you is usually no mystery, if you take the time to figure it out. And if you put in the effort, you’ll almost certainly improve employee engagement in ...

Human Resources
Apr 15, 2015

The Art Of Coaching Employees

Great coaches are made, not born. They spend years learning what works to create a motivated, highly engaged team. From sports to business, great coaches can bring together individuals with different ...

Business Growth
Apr 1, 2015

Employee Engagement Starts At The Top

I ran across a sobering statistic the other day for anyone who owns a business in the United States. In my opinion, it helps explain why many businesses struggle to get to the next level.   Acc ...

Business Growth
Mar 6, 2015

How Business Owners Can Clear A Mental Fog

Since 2008, Cornerstone Advisory Partners has run peer advisor boards, which gives business owners the opportunity to confidentially talk about opportunities, challenges and other issues with other bu ...

Business Growth
Feb 12, 2015

The Value Of Partner Marketing To Your Brand And Budget

This article was contributed by Robert Gosselin, marketing strategist at Cornerstone Business Advisors   In 1960s, E. Jerome McCarthy proposed a marketing concept called the “four Ps,&rdq ...

Business Growth
Dec 15, 2014

The Secret To 16% Annualized Growth

The following Insights is a case study of our work with the James E. Moore Insurance Agency, which used our Performance Culture System to achieve its growth goals. – Dallas Romanowski, Managing ...

Business Growth
Nov 17, 2014

Helping Raise Capital To Deliver A Much-Needed Technology to Homeowners

This article was contributed by Robert Gosselin, marketing strategist at Cornerstone Business Advisors Our role at Cornerstone Business Advisors is to provide clients with access to people who are ...

Business Growth
Nov 1, 2014

Aligning Marketing And Sales Development For State Technology Business – Part II Of II

Marketing, Business Development and Branding The marketing and business development relationship is a two-way street. Just as the business development team needs to respect the marketing department ...

Business Growth
Oct 15, 2014

Aligning Marketing And Sales Development For State Technology Business – Part I Of II

Information Technology in North Carolina accounts for approximately $1.3 billion of the state's budget. Government contractors have long believed that operations, business development, and capture ...

Business Growth
Oct 1, 2014

Define Your Way of Doing Business

As I’ve discussed in earlier Insights articles, the Performance Culture System™ is about producing results by giving your team an idea worth working for and a clear understanding of what n ...

Business Growth
Sep 15, 2014

A Simple Path To Process Excellence

Magic happens when an entrepreneur combines creativity with effective people management and process excellence. However, if you are like many entrepreneurs, you probably cringe at the thought of proce ...

Business Growth
Sep 1, 2014

Finding Value In Weekly Leadership Meetings

Weekly leadership meetings should provide a forum where department leaders collaborate with each other in an open, candid environment. Providing a weekly checkpoint enables the team to quickly identif ...

Business Growth
Aug 15, 2014

The Benefits Of A 90-Day Plan

A 90-day plan prioritizes the most important company initiatives and provides clear direction for your team to execute upon. Ninety-day plans break your annual goals into quarterly segments and make i ...

Business Growth
Aug 1, 2014

Create An Employee Evaluation System That Works

Over the last several months, I’ve written about the Performance Culture system we recommend to our clients at Cornerstone Business Advisors to help them increase business value, profitability a ...

Business Growth
Jul 15, 2014

How A Simple Chart Can Drive Accountability

Author Jim Collins best describes organizational effectiveness as having the right people in the right seats. To implement this principle, leaders should create an accountability chart that maps key f ...

Business Growth
Jul 1, 2014

How The Right Workplace Culture Can Lead To Success

Both business owners and employees desire a workplace culture that not only supports a rewarding work environment, but also encourages high performance. While this goal is ubiquitous, the management p ...

Business Growth
Jun 15, 2014

How to Create A Niche Strategy

If you don’t already have a winning niche strategy, it’s not that difficult to create one. The biggest roadblock is probably your mind-set because the best niche strategy may mean disrupti ...

Business Growth
Jun 1, 2014

Why Niche Strategy Is A Path To Greatness

“Focusing solely on what you can do better than any other organization is the only path to greatness.” Jim Collins, Good to Great Niche strategies create competitive advantages for smal ...

Business Growth
May 15, 2014

Lazy Bees And Bee Watchers - Management Lessons From Dr. Seuss

The best business leaders achieve results because they know how to get things done. Unfortunately many organizations have accepted mediocrity by allowing the organization to have too many “Bee W ...

Business Growth
May 1, 2014

Effective Leadership Means Holding Team Members Accountable

Sun Tzu, an ancient Chinese general and philosopher, stated that if a leader has earned the will of the team and has communicated clearly, then the leader must hold his direct report accountable for a ...

Business Growth
Apr 15, 2014

For Effective Leadership, Communicate Clearly And Wisely

While living the 7 Cs of success will earn the will of your team, a leader must still communicate clearly and wisely. This means establishing clear expectations and creating a workplace culture that e ...

Business Growth
Apr 1, 2014

Effective Leadership - Earning The "Will" Of Your Team

A leader leads by example, not by force, and must earn the will of his or her team. After all, a person’s will cannot be mandated. If you have your people’s will, they will support you thr ...

Business Growth
Mar 1, 2014

Understanding The Performance Culture Coaching Process

In my earlier Insights columns, I’ve described the benefits of what I call the Performance Culture System, which I created for Cornerstone Business Advisors. It has four core elements: Effective ...

Business Growth
Mar 1, 2014

Nine Lessons Learned From The Power Of Habit

In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an interesting argument: the key t ...

Business Growth
Feb 15, 2014

Hitting The Ceiling

“Hitting the ceiling” is a phenomenon that occurs in almost every business and is usually caused by one or two things: Increased management complexity driven by more employees, custo ...

Business Growth
Feb 1, 2014

How To Change Bad Habits In The Workplace

In most cases, when entrepreneurs first launch their businesses they have to do everything. Not because they want to, but because they HAVE to. There is simply not enough cash flow to hire all the peo ...

Business Growth
Jan 10, 2014

How Performance Culture Can Help You Build A Great Business

The Performance Culture System that we recommend to clients of Cornerstone Business Advisors provides a simplified approach to creating a company culture that increases business value, profitability a ...

Business Growth
Dec 17, 2013

The Cornerstone Story: The Importance of Personal Relationships in Business

I am excited to contribute to the Greater Wilmington Business Journal’s Insights and share our firm’s approach to maximizing leadership effectiveness and company performance. Our “In ...

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