Want younger board members: Consider a second board

| Business Briefs, Business Miscellaneous

By Chris Mennel & Natalie Hopkins     If you have been around nonprofits for very long, you have discovered that recruiting new board members is an ongoing challenge. Finding the best mix of talent to fill their needs (finance, development, etc) within the right age demographic can be a struggle. Add to this mix the search for younger board members so the nonprofits can effectively plan their futures, and the challenge grows. To overcome this obstacle, an increasing number of organizations Read more [...]

3 hot spots to look for your successor

| Business Briefs, News

Picking someone to lead your company after you step down is probably among the hardest aspects of retiring (or otherwise moving on). Sure, there are some business owners who have a ready-made successor waiting in the wings at a moment’s notice. But many have a few viable candidates to consider — others have too few. When looking for a successor, for best results, keep an open mind. Don’t assume you have to pick any one person — look everywhere. Here are three hot spots to consider. 1.    Read more [...]

Look at your employees with cybersecurity in mind

| Business Briefs

Today’s businesses operate in an era of hyper-connectedness and, unfortunately, a burgeoning global cybercrime industry. You can’t afford to hope you’ll luck out and avoid a cyberattack. It’s essential to establish policies and procedures to minimize risk. One specific area in which to focus is your employees. Know the threats There are a variety of cybercrimes you need to guard against. For instance, thieves may steal proprietary or sensitive business data with the intention of selling Read more [...]

Consider key person insurance as a succession plan safeguard

| Business Briefs

In business, and in life, among the most important ways to manage risk is through insurance. For certain types of companies — particularly start-ups and small businesses — one major threat is the sudden loss of an owner or hard-to-replace employee. To safeguard against this risk, insurers offer key person insurance. Under a key person policy, a business buys life insurance covering the owner or employee, pays the premiums and names itself beneficiary. Should the key person die while the policy Read more [...]

Offer plan loans? Be sure to set a reasonable interest rate

| Business Briefs

Like many businesses, yours may allow retirement plan participants to take out loans from their accounts. Such loans are governed by many IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) rules and regulations. So if your company offers plan loans, your plan document must comply with current laws — including setting a “reasonable” interest rate. Agency perspectives Neither the IRS nor DOL provides a set percentage for plan sponsors to use. Yet both require the rate to be “reasonable.” The IRS asks Read more [...]

Listen and trust: The power of collaborative management

| Business Briefs

Many business owners are accustomed to running the whole show. But as your company grows, you’ll likely be better off sharing responsibility for major decisions. Whether you’ve recruited experienced managers or developed “home grown” talent, you can empower these employees by taking a more collaborative approach to management. Not employees — team members Successful collaboration starts with a new mindset. Stop thinking of your managers as employees and instead regard them as team Read more [...]

What can a valuation expert do for your succession plan?

| Business Briefs, Business Miscellaneous

Most business owners spend a lifetime building their businesses. And when it comes to succession, they face the difficult decision of whether to sell, dissolve or transfer the business to family members (or a nonfamily successor). Many complicated issues are involved, including how to divvy up business interests, allocate value and tackle complex tax issues. Thus, as you put together your succession plan, include not only your financial and legal advisors, but also a qualified valuation professional. Various Read more [...]

Envision your advisory board before you form it

| Business Briefs

Many companies reach a point in their development where they could benefit from an advisory board. It’s all too easy in today’s complex business world to get caught up in an “echo chamber” of ideas and perspectives that only originate internally. For many business owners, an understandable first question about the concept is: What should my advisory board look like? To find an answer, start by envisioning the ideal size and composition of your company’s board in terms of skill sets and Read more [...]

Is your business committed to its cost-control regimen?

| Business Briefs

At the beginning of the year, many people decide they’re going to get in the best shape of their lives. Similarly, many business owners declare that they intend to cut costs and operate at peak efficiency going forward. But, like keeping up an exercise routine, controlling costs takes an ongoing effort. You need to not only review expenses now, but also commit yourself to doing so regularly. Here are some key points to keep in mind. Choosing where to slim down A good cost-control plan Read more [...]

Identify all of your company’s retirement plan fiduciaries

| Business Briefs

Your company probably offers its employees a retirement plan. If so, can you identify all of your plan fiduciaries? From a risk management perspective, it’s critical for business owners to know who has fiduciary status — and the associated liability. Here are some common, though in some cases overlooked, plan fiduciaries: Named fiduciaries. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires a plan to have named fiduciaries. The plan document identifies the corporate entity or individual Read more [...]