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Cultivating Multigenerational Success in the Agricultural Community

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Blog

Guard Against Emotional Decisions

February 22, 2016

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Comprehensive succession planning will give a voice to your operation. What is meant by this is that it forces a focus on the needs of your operation, which in turn causes you to think through all the variables involved in creating a multigenerational, successful business. If you imagine your business speaking to you and telling you what it needs to continue into the future, then one of the first things it will mention will be the need for a capable...

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Endow a Family for Generations

February 17, 2016

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP®  Succession planning is a unique experience, and the results of good planning may be the greatest accomplishment of a family business owner. Success is predicated on the chemistry of the family, the integrity of the operation, the forethought of the owner and the composition of tools and techniques used to satisfy the objectives. Succession planning is not an event; it’s a process. However, that process is comprised of a series of simu...

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Build Meaningful Accountabilities Into Your Plan

February 5, 2016

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® The final step in the succession planning process will involve constantly staying up to date with the countless variables that can influence your business. Tax laws, market conditions and family dynamics are just some of the variables that may impact your succession plan. You and your team of professionals should review your succession plan on an annual basis, at the very least.  It’s essential to ensure that your succession plan alwa...

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Having the Right Conversation

January 18, 2016

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® The success of planning is strongly influenced by the quality and the quantity of communication within the family. A family with good communication channels can overcome the seemingly impossible, whereas a family who can’t speak candidly will face nearly insurmountable challenges. Five keys to good communication include:   Clearly define your objectives or the intent of each interaction. Before you engage in a conversation, writ...

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The Intersection of Family and Business

December 22, 2015

LegacyConnection  Kevin Spafford, CFP® There are a number of conflicts and emotional issues that can exist in a family business. Most are the result of the overlapping concerns between business decisions and family matters. The succession planning process brings these problems to the surface and might fester to cause conflict and emotional upset. Parents should be aware of the following circumstances where concerns arise: Unqualified Children: Too many owners don't or won't ...

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It's That Time of Year!

December 10, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® For farmers, late fall is for harvest, for families it’s for holiday dinners, and for family agribusiness owners it’s for planning. Like planting in the spring, farmers should think of planning in autumn. A comprehensive succession plan is your opportunity for renewal. Fall is a time of optimism and rejuvenation. As autumn now wanes and winter begins, it's a good time to gather the family and review your succession plan. If you don&...

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Build Success through Mentor/Protege Relationships

November 10, 2015

My work brings me face to face with the very best agripreneurs in the nation. As a succession planning professional and a subject matter expert for the media, I’m paid to learn the hows, whats and whys of entrepreneurial success. Every encounter is a learning opportunity. Most stretch my rather conventional brain beyond normal dimensions and allow me to absorb some facet of business, succession or family that I’d hadn’t otherwise fully appreciated. Some visits take me by su...

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Getting Started On Your Own?

October 21, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Do you prefer to go it alone? For home improvements, maintenance around the store or routine automotive service, would you rather do it yourself? Like many of your farming neighbors, you may revel in showcasing your tendency for self-reliance and independence. For most entrepreneurs, knowing they can do it better is what gave them the confidence to start a business in the first place. For the confident do-it-yourselfer, succession planning may be ...

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Emotions in Business

October 6, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® We’ve all done it - lashed out at something or someone for no particular reason. Emotions are inconsistent and uncontrollable. Although they often direct our actions, emotions should not be used to determine the suitability of a business decision. One of the biggest blunders any business owner can make is allowing emotion to dictate business decisions. Non-emotional, objective decisions promote rational, consistent, and fair outcomes. Emo...

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The Value of People: Your Key Employees

September 30, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Too many business owners give too much credit to material asset value, plant, property, intellect, etc., and too little value to people and processes. The dollar value of a company is based on a whole bunch of variables most of which are easily measured in an appraisal, some of which are based on a gut-level feel and lots of experience. What if you could apply an appraised value to people? What value do your loyal employees bring? And, how much in...

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Mastering Generational Rivalry

September 21, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® By the sound of his voice, he was sincerely stressed, to the end of his rope, as parents often declare. In trying to explain the situation, he began with phrases like ‘difference of opinion,’ ‘personality conflict’ and ‘lack of respect.’ Those terms quickly gave way to ‘intolerant,’ ‘insubordinate’ and ‘defiant.’ But, from my point of view and in working with this family, it w...

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The Family Council: Clarifying Boundaries Between Family & Business

September 15, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Any month of the year is the perfect time to review and make plans for the seasons ahead. Compare achievements to intentions and devise plans to finish strong. In a family business, family members fill a variety of roles. Besides a place in the family hierarchy, parents, sons, daughters, siblings, and grandchildren may also be part of the ownership group. As a result, the lines separating family matters from business decisions may cause confusion....

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How Do They Do It?

September 9, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® “One Ontario Family’s Joint Path to Farm Succession” by Maggie Van Camp is loaded with good advice, communication hints, and planning tidbits to encourage succession planning. The story of McGregor's Produce and the proprietary family is probably not unlike yours. The McGregors had a successful multigenerational farm business. Their kids grew up and wanted to work in the family operation. They got married and thought their spous...

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Building it Stronger

August 18, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® What if succession planning didn’t get mired in emotion and tangled in a web of dissension? Experience shows families hesitate to engage in the succession process due to a ‘powder keg’ of explosive issues.   What if succession planning were simplified and measured against some quantifiable value?  Every element of a Comprehensive Succession Solution has the potential to save money, mitigate taxes, decrease unnecessary...

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Family Owned...

August 13, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Not that we didn’t already know… On March 17th the USDA released ‘Family Farms are the Focus of New Agriculture Census Data’ and declared that 97% of all U.S. farms are family-owned. The summary of the report goes on to say, “Family-owned farms remain the backbone of the agriculture industry,” and I might add, the soul of our rural communities. With these facts, the dissension and demagoguery should stop. An a...

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Who Benefits from a Succession Plan?

April 8, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® It’s hard to pinpoint the primary beneficiary of a well-implemented succession plan. But it’s easy to see that a successful business with a long term perspective, adequate financial resources, and a growing bench of capable leaders, is far more attractive than a business that may have to be liquidated at the death or retirement of the current owner[s]. Beyond that: The owner’s family will realize immediate results t...

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There's Only Two Kinds...

March 9, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® “…the quick and the dead,” is a commonly used refrain from Tom Peters. Though the comment probably originated as a reference to gunfighters of old, the sentiment rings true when referencing business leaders today---albeit with significantly less carnage. Leadership is the core of family business. Without a strong, agile, and insightful leader, a business is not likely to prosper and may well be on the path to extinction. Succes...

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Who Can Help?

March 5, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Given the complexity of planning for succession, you need an advisor who knows: Business Economics People development Marketing/sales Agriculture To do it correctly, you’ll need a facilitator who can lead a multidisciplinary team of professionals and guide the family. The process is never once and done. Though we make it appear doable, it’s neither simple nor easy. Selecting the right person to guide...

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A Model for Succession Planning

March 3, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Following a defined process for succession will improve efficiencies and promote desired outcomes. For the business owner, nothing is more precarious than transitioning the operation from one generation to the next. For most owners, the business represents a lifetime of work. It is a testament to effort and the result of a lot of angst. When you consider retirement, or the next venture in your vocational life, you can’t just walk away fro...

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Your Ultimate Harvest

December 16, 2014

LegacyConnection  Kevin Spafford, CFP®  Having just completed five succession planning workshops for American Soybean Association, I’m keenly aware of both your need to and your hesitation for initiating the succession planning process. Yet waiting doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, time is your ally as well as your nemesis. As the latter, time gives us false hope and causes us to think there’s always tomorrow… As the former, the more time we ...

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Succession Planning Goals

October 22, 2014

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, is noted as saying, ‘good is the enemy of great.’ In succession planning, good intentions are the enemy of real commitments.  Most farmers and agribusiness owners have a good idea of what they want to achieve in succession. In their minds they know the abstract who, when, and how of their transition. Unfortunately, most of those ideas are a bit fuzzy and undefined. In describing thei...

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Workshops: Get the Conversation Started!

October 20, 2014

Ready to begin the succession planning conversation? Plan to participate in one of the upcoming workshops in Moline, IL (December 04, 2014) or Columbus, OH (January 15, 2015). The events are presented by American Soybean Association, in partnership with eLegacyConnect. Online registration for both events is open now. For more, take a look at this brief video from RFD-TV:   Click to view; 3:47 min. The decision is yours; choose to make 2015 a year of commitment ...

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Harvest

October 17, 2014

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® As every farmer knows, harvest doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of months of work, planning, and preparation. We all reap what we sow, and while many consumers might not fully appreciate the cultivation and care that produces a crop, a farmer certainly does. It’s the same with succession. If long-term success, multigenerational wealth and growing opportunities are your goal, a comprehensive succession plan is a must. A w...

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Please join us at eLegacyConnect.com!

September 8, 2014

        eLegacyConnect, a division of Legacy by Design, is an online succession planning community designed to provide succession solutions for farm families.  The site provides many of the tools necessary to create long-term working relationships and plan for succession, including a community forum, resource center, action plan, and a roster of advisors/subject matter experts to help you navigate the succession planning process.  Also please note tha...

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