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Planning for Succession in your Business

Planning for Succession in your Business

Family businesses comprise approximately 90% of the businesses in the United States. Yet only about one in three survive to the next generation and one in ten to the third generation. Why? The closely-held family business often fails for the same reason that it originally succeeded. It relies on its uniqueness – the compassion and loyalty among the family members not present in other companies – to generate a dynamic viability to the company. Yet this uniqueness may also lead to distrust within the family and disruption of the family business as an ongoing entity.

To prevent the demise of the business, the family should create and implement a strategic business succession plan. This plan should integrate business, tax and liquidity considerations with the emotional and financial needs of the family and the needs of the business to achieve continuity and growth for the future.

The goals of a business succession plan for each family are unique to that family, but center around several core determinations. The family must decide:

  • Who will be the future owners? Will they include key employees? Will they include only family members participating in the business? Who of the owners will retain control?
  • How and when will the owner transfer control? Will the business be transferred to the next generation? Are there capable leaders, whether or not family members, to own and manage the business in the future? Or will it have to be sold? Will the business survive the imposition of estate taxes at the death of the owner?
  • How will the family harmonize business and family needs? Does the family recognize that the needs of the business to grow, adapt to changes in the marketplace and aggressively face challenges are different from the needs of the family to remain compatible and unified? Will the family remain compatible if certain members receive greater rewards for their participation in the business and what can be implemented to equalize, to the extent possible, the rewards?
  • How will the family successfully integrate its personal values and relations into the business without disrupting the ongoing needs and growth of the business? Do the family members communicate among themselves regarding these values and business goals?
  • Who will manage the business in the future? Who will control the selection of management personnel and what rights will exist to change management? Will management have too much control? Will management be able to continue operating the business as a viable, successful entity without interruption or demands from family members not involved in the business?

With a general consensus on these core determinations, the family can begin to create its strategic business succession plan. It is often in this planning process that the family will flesh out the answers to some of these questions.


ShuffieldLowman Hits the Lanes for a Good Cause

ShuffieldLowman Hits the Lanes for a Good Cause

ShuffieldLowman employees and their family members of all ages laced-up bowling shoes and hit the lanes recently at the Aloma Bowling Center for the firm’s annual Junior Achievement Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser. This firm tradition, started in 2010 by attorney Bill Lowman, a longtime volunteer with JA and a current Junior Achievement of Central Florida Foundation Trustee, is more than just fun, it also raises funds to support the good work of the organization. This year, the firm raised more than $2,000 through the hard work of team captains, generous donations and a contribution by the firm. Last year the JA Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser raised enough funds to help provide practical economic programs to 77,000 students in local schools. As a thought leader and creator of innovative work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy programs, Junior Achievement inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy.

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ShuffieldLowman’s Heidi Isenhart Recognized For Top Community Service

ShuffieldLowman’s Heidi Isenhart Recognized For Top Community Service

ORLANDO, FLORIDA, June 2013 – Winter Park resident Heidi Isenhart was recognized for her outstanding level of pro bono work by the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar’s Young Lawyers Division and the Florida Pro Bono Coordinators Association. Along with other attorneys ranking at the top for numbers of hours contributed in cases closed in 2012, the attorneys were honored at the May 30 Orange County Bar Association Installation of Officers and Pro Bono Awards Dinner.

Isenhart is a Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated attorney who practices in elder law, Medicaid planning, guardianship, probate and trust administration, probate and guardianship litigation, estate planning and special-needs trusts.

Typically working with families at a difficult time due to death or illness, Heidi diligently works to find answers that comfort.  While emotions run high in those crises, she is a sincere, eager champion of the underdog.  Her work also includes protecting the rights of incapacitated elderly people as well as minors and the legally disabled.

In addition, Heidi is a community leader, speaking to local groups and mentoring law students as a professor at the Barry University of Law in Orlando. Her biggest message, “Caring, along with ethics and effort, equals success.”  Her philosophy is, “I’m not afraid to fight a good fight to do the right thing.”

The former president of the Rotary Club of Orlando and current Board President of Share the Care, Inc., Isenhart earned her law degree (J.D., Fall, 1995) from Regent University School of Law, Virginia Beach, Virginia, and her undergraduate degree from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (B.S., 1993.) She is a member of The Florida Bar (Elder Law Section and Real Property, Probate and Trust Section); Orange County Bar Association (Chairperson of the Estate, Guardianship and Trust Law Committee, 2004-2005; Co-Chairperson of the Estate, Guardianship and Trust Law Committee, 2003-2004; Member, Elder Law Committee); National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Florida State Guardianship Association.

Client Spotlight: .Com Marketing

Client Spotlight: .Com Marketing

Most people have no idea that one of the most successful digital marketing agencies in the country is located, not in New York or Los Angeles, but right here in Central Florida .Com Marketing is a powerhouse in the world of digital, mobile and social media marketing and the sixteen year old company, founded by Hillary Bressler is one of the oldest businesses of its kind in the industry.

Hillary and her team of experts have continued to ride the wave of Internet marketing, business development, search engine optimization and lead generation that has set industry standards. According to Hillary, “A strong interactive presence is paramount to success for many businesses, but they often struggle with trying to manage the complexities of things like social media, optimization and mobile technology. At .Com Marketing we see this in businesses of all shapes and sizes, even Fortune 500 companies.”

Luckily for Orlando business owners, .Com Marketing has recently launched “Internet 360,” a comprehensive program designed to evaluate a company’s entire digital marketing program, including their competition. After an analysis using proprietary software and techniques, a custom plan is developed to maximize time and budget to produce the best possible results.

As a client of ShuffieldLowman, .Com Marketing has used the firm for a variety of legal needs, including overall corporate matters, intellectual property work and strategic business planning services. Additionally, the firm has also been privileged to handle estate planning matters for senior leadership within the company.