Now What?

Family Business Perspective – By Kendall Rawls

Kendall Rawls

2016 was a challenging year.  Between proposed legislation impacting family gifting (IRS 2704), the DOL legislation impacting overtime, and the political uncertainty of the election, it is surprising that all our heads have not spun off our bodies.   One of the biggest pain points of 2016 that could leave a lasting burn into 2017 is all the speculation around proposed legislations. Many of you last year were likely either chewing on your fingers with panic or moving towards action to button up your estate plans and shoring up HR policies. Now, after all that work; we find ourselves with a new party in office which could mean that many of the proposed legislation could be reversed, may not go into effect, or may not go into effect to the extent you had planned.

So – Now What?

If you have proactively engaged in planning, take a sigh of relief. You are likely in a strong position to adjust to whatever 2017 may (and will) throw at you.   It is no secret that we are huge proponents of strategic planning, specifically the kind where you have integrated the plan into your culture, tied performance criteria to achieving the plan, and are actively reviewing your trajectory compared to available resources. We believe it keeps you agile and in the ‘ready’ position to tackle whatever may be thrown at you – economic, political, regulatory, recruitment and retention, process/procedure – you name it.

For those of you who have yet to do any sort of planning, we could say you are in a bit of denial. Good news though is, getting started is easy. The simplest place to start is with identifying your vision for the future. This includes understanding the motivating factor for you to take on the risk as a business owner. Whatever motivates you, tie it to your vision and mission.  Once you have done this, analyze where you would like your business to be in the next three to five years.

The next step is take what you have identified, document it and share your goals with your leadership team. Working with them, you want to determine which are realistic, which are a stretch, and which would require a substantial shift in culture or business practices to attain. Then, discuss the Strengths, Weaknesses (internal influences), Opportunities, and Threats (external influences) impacting your business today and your future vision.

Proactive planning prepares you for the ebbs, flows, and inevitable changes that impact your business, lifestyle and the lifestyles of those whom you employ. Importantly, strategic planning should not be a one-time exercise.  Rather, you and your leadership team should be reviewing on a revolving three to five-year schedule to ensure continued success and growth of your business.  This way, you aren’t blind-sided, but ready to take on what’s next.

Kendall Rawls knows and understands the challenges that impact the success of an entrepreneurial owned business. Her unique perspective comes not only from her educational background; but, more importantly, from her experience as a second-generation family member employee of The Rawls Group – Business Succession Planners. For more information, visit or email


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