Family Business Case Study #25: Taxation & Inflation Concerns

Uncategorized Oct 22, 2021


Taxation and Inflation:

The hot topics today were:

  • Inflation fears.
  • Taxation concerns.


Well, as the economic picture improves the news is full of commentary about hyperinflation, supply chain troubles, government money printing, and people saving their own money at a high rate because of all the free government money, etc.

For the small business owner the fear of inflation and tax increases in this kind of scenario is a big deal.

In the end, the cost of money (i.e. interest rate) is so low that investment decisions likely will not be strongly affected. Some acceleration of capital spending will occur.

And there will be a boost in consumer spending as the pent up demand for certain products and commodities picks up.

So, not surprising – either on the concern or on the reaction to the concern

It’s the typical small business thing – we worry about inflation and taxes and government policy. But then we thread the needle and navigate our way...

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Family Business Case Study #24: Estate Planning

Uncategorized Oct 20, 2021

Estate Planning was the key topic today – the kind of topic that eventually comes up in a family business. 


My comments will respect and guard the privacy of the client – but I will reflect on the kind of topics that must be discussed in a family business where an eventual transition from founder to successor will occur.


Estate Planning


  • The client rightly is interested in models for tax efficiency in passing on the business to his successors. Should they buy in? Should they receive a gift? Is there some good combination? How can you reduce the tax hit? Is there a standard way of doing this? How do you keep the successors from a sense of entitlement? How do they earn-in? How do you keep everyone aligned and motivated?
  • We discussed a family trust model in which the founder gives up or reduces control of the business in such a way that the next generation benefits gradually.
  • We reviewed an estate freeze – a concept in which the current value...
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Family Business Case Study #23: Building Sales Capacity

Uncategorized Oct 14, 2021

Today the main topic of this work session is about building sales capacity:

  • Route building software
  • Market research to support sales people
  • Finding great sales people
  • Anticipating how to find great sales people who can sell to the next generation of customers


With a couple of minor deviations to:

  • Avoiding staff turnover
  • Training program for the future leaders of the business


This business has very low turnover and that is interesting. Why, I asked? 


Well, it seems that the answer is rather complicated.

  • The pay scale is good but not that good. 
  • The conditions in the shop are good but not that good. 
  • The toleration of errors and mistakes is moderately low, but not harsh – nor is it slack.
  • The training is lengthy and relaxed (“ride-alongs”, mentoring, many other good techniques, etc.) but it’s not formulaic, nor does it follow the fashionable trends in sales training (no one walks on hot coals, no one sings along to...
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Family Business Case Study #22: Acquisition Integration

Uncategorized Oct 12, 2021

Today the main topics of the working session included:

  1. How to integrate the newly acquired business into company operations.
  2. How to position the deal as a merger to inspire and satisfy customers.
  3. How to brand/rebrand the acquisition and accelerate revenue growth as it transitions to the main business.


Integrating an acquisition into the main business.

This is particularly important in the small business sector – for reasons that differ from corporate acquisitions.


  • The founder should be visible in the new business.
  • The founder should attend on-site regularly – e.g. one day a week for several months.
  • The founder should quickly integrate operations, customer service (phone calls, route drivers, website, pricing policy, etc.) into the regular operation.
  • The founder should carefully and selectively re-brand in a smooth manner so as not to spook existing customers and to reassure them that it really is “business as usual”.




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Family Business Case Study #21: Taking Matters into Your Own Hands

Uncategorized Oct 07, 2021


Taking Matters into Your Own Hands:

In business the whole point is to develop your idea into something that customers want and then buy! 

What if your idea doesn’t work? What if the way your idea was to work is blocked?

Do you know when to pivot? How long do you keep pushing an idea? When is the right time to give up? And, if you give up, what do you really mean by that? Does giving up mean walking off the playing field? Does it mean putting the idea away forever? Or does it mean you figure out a way to do your own thing? 

The client made a huge decision to move on from the idea of becoming the national distributor of someone else’s product. He decided to do step #1 of a plan to manufacture and distribute his own line of blades!

I love this idea and here’s why!

After weeks and weeks of getting nowhere with the European manufacturer who seems unwilling to get rid of an underperforming national distributor, who himself says he wants to exit the...

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Family Business Case Study #20: New Manufacturing Line

Uncategorized Oct 05, 2021



  • In today’s work session we found that the legal paperwork on the service business acquisition is at the 99% level. The next step is to send it to the bank for final financing approval. 



  • We are also near to concluding that the Europe deal is probably dead, for two reasons. 
  • One is that the current distributor is simply too busy to respond. While my client is persistent and has done everything in his power to make contact there is no point in trying to have a serious business discussion if the other person is not interested.  
  • Second, the parent company seems not interested in pushing things too hard either – which is very frustrating because they must be aware that sales revenue is not what it could be. And they are definitely aware of my client’s interest.



  • We then did a full work session on the alternative to becoming a distributor for the...
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Family Business Case Study #19: Emotions in Family Businesses

Uncategorized Sep 30, 2021
The Catholic CEO
Family Business Case Study #19: Emotions in Family Businesses


Today’s work session was very short because of a client-scheduling situation and we only worked for a few minutes. 

We covered two points, each of which contained a valuable lesson for the business owner:


Offer to Purchase:

There is a little known legal point of which you should be aware. When you buy a business situated in a building (and you are buying the building and the business), the vendor will certainly not want you to close on one and not the other. The attorneys papering the deal will always link the commercial offer to the property offer so that one must proceed with the other, and never independently. You don’t want to end up buying the business and not the building or buying the building and not the business – unless of course that is your deliberate intention. But of course we are not talking about that. We are talking about buying an operating business with a building full of equipment and a staff that must work there. That point...

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Family Business Case Study #18: Strategy Session

Uncategorized Sep 27, 2021
The Catholic CEO
Family Business Case Study #18: Strategy Session


Thank you for joining me today. Read more about me here. Today’s work session focused on several topics:

Social Media

The owner’s brother is getting quite accomplished on social media. The website has been up and running for a while and the number of followers is increasing. Now the conversation is focused on driving more and more traffic to the website. The use of Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter is essential to this strategy. The effort is time consuming but the net effect is to draw “eyeballs” to the website. The conversation may seem esoteric at times for its choice of technical terms like: SEO (Search Engine Optimization), organic keywords, internal links, key word search, and so on.  This is all good and there really is no going back from social media.



Today we entered a serious strategic discussion – with questions focusing on competitors. In the search for incremental customers (that is, larger blocks or...

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Post-Pandemic Business Review- Nutshell Guide to the Health of Your Business Now

Uncategorized Aug 18, 2021



A NOTE FROM THE CATHOLIC CEO in “late pandemic times”……………..

Icon for bullet point list: The Catholic CEO, post-pandemic or late-pandemic business review


Review your business plan now with a fine tooth comb. Banks are being nice these days, comparatively speaking. Should you go now for a visit? Maybe that’s better than waiting till July when things may open up and people move increasingly towards some kind of normal. Banks will be tougher later this year.


Normalize your financial statements to take out all the free money — and see what it really looked like.


Prepare for a wave of consolidations, roll-ups, and buy-outs — in case you are in an industry where capital is going to grab individual players. This could be a good thing. Or not. But you still need to do the “scan”. 


Begin a 12 month trailing average analysis on your...
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15 Business Rules of Thumb

Uncategorized Jul 23, 2021
The Catholic CEO
15 Business Rules of Thumb

Business lessons are sometimes learned easily. Sometimes we learn the hard way! There are business rules of thumb.

Let our team know what you think about these lessons or lessons you’ve learned. Send your comments to [email protected]. Contact me to discuss how we can help you build these into your regular daily work. There is a Catholic approach to each one!

Business rules of thumb by the Catholic CEO

1. Don’t run out of cash!

An old friend from Florida used to tell me (in his unique southern accent)… “Cash ain't cash unless it’s cash!” Set up a weekly dashboard that signals your cash on hand every Friday night.


2. Valuation = EBITDA times 3 to 5.

Work into your financial statements a regular way of measuring your company’s valuation. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, sometimes called earnings or pre-tax revenues, multiplied by 3 to 5 is a useful multiplier and indicator of value – as are comparable sales, net present value of the...

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