Do you have an “Inner Circle”?

In The Spirit of “Recommended Resources”…Do you have an “Inner Circle”?

What is Inner Circle?

There may be many ways to answer this question but for me it is my trusted group of advisers and friends of over 19 years; I found them by joining the peer group Inner Circle  when I was a fairly green entrepreneur and they have been invaluable to me on my entrepreneurial journey.

Inner Circle is a good fit for those business owners who realize they can learn from experience – and it doesn’t have to be their own. They realize they don’t have all the answers, and need the candor, insights and energy that our facilitated meeting format and process can provide.

At an Inner Circle meeting you will be challenged, and you will challenge others. Our Members hold each other accountable to their stated goals and cheer them on to becoming more and more prosperous.

The benefits that Members derive from their Inner Circle membership are as varied as the business owners themselves and the topics they bring each month to their peer group.

Based on the feedback we receive from our Members, we classify their benefits in to these three categories:

Clarity. “Conversing with people outside of the profession has helped me think differently about our organization… I have made changes and decisions within my business that I did not feel confident enough to do before joining Inner Circle.”

End to Isolation. “What appealed to me about Inner Circle was the perspective of businesses different from my own. I had hoped to possibly blend practices of other areas of businesses in to my own, and it worked… I truly enjoy the sharing amongst the Members, learning from them and watching the success of other Members as they grow.”

Success. “My business has improved because I have become a stronger leader and have learned how to better manage employees.”

Straight from the members themselves…

“The Inner Circle experience makes a LASTING IMPACT. I have friends, clients and trusted allies in my life today because I joined an Inner Circle in 1988.”

“It is truly LIKE HAVING YOUR OWN BOARD OF DIRECTORS, each of whom is interested in you being successful.”

” You have a peer executive group that will CHALLENGE YOU TO GROW & HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE.”

“Inner Circle provides PRACTICAL ADVICE TO REAL WORLD PROBLEMS from people who have tread the path before. It provides me a trustworthy, proven network of resources.”

Get There Faster.

Would an Inner Circle help your business?

Look into Inner Circle today!

Family Business Owners; How Do You Manage Your Transitions?

keysDid you know that 70% of all family businesses fail to successfully transition from the first generation to the second, and that 80% fail to successfully transition from the second generation to the third? This statistic is alarming.

I work with family businesses in transition. Transition is the active process of passing stock and leadership to the next generation.

I am often asked, “When should a family business get serious about transitioning?” I think there are three situations that call for beginning the transition work.

  1. When the entrepreneur wants to change his/her role. When this happens, the entrepreneur is in transition. And when the entrepreneur is in transition, the whole company and family are in transition. Planning is critical here.
  2. When the senior generation plans to pass stock to the next generation within 1-2 years. When stock transfers to the next generation, the next generation becomes owners. What does this actually mean? It means that they will have new ownership roles and responsibilities that need to be discussed and agreed on. Clarity is critical here.
  3. When owners and managers become different people. When some of the owners are not employees of the company or when the owners bring in professional non-family management, the roles of ownership and management separate. When this happens, owners and managers need to clarify their roles and agree how they will work together. Integration is critical here.

I am also asked, “What do owners do?” Besides electing directors, the main responsibility of owners is to agree on how they are going to own and run their business. They do this by developing an owners’ plan. Just like management should have a strategic plan which spells out their long-term strategy, owners should have an owners’ plan which spells out their vision.

An owners’ plan consists of three parts:

  1. The values, needs and goals of the owners. This includes things like revenue and profit expectations, distributions, debt and risk tolerance, compensation for owners who work in the business, the culture they want inside the company, etc.
  2. How the owners will work together. This includes things like what owners do, how they make decisions, perks, how family members who are not owners are involved, updating buy-sells, etc.
  3. What board arrangement, if any, they want. This includes things like what the board does and how it works with ownership and management.

When the owners speak with one voice, it gives clarity to management on where the owners want to go and what is important to them reduces ownership conflict and allows for a more effective transition.

For more detail on the roles and responsibilities of owners, managers and boards, check out my book The Balance Point by Cary Tutelman and Larry Hause, which is available at

The Balance Point

The Balance Point

by Cary Tutelman and Larry Hause

When 90% isn’t success: The Wedges Game



The Wedges Game: Leverage Multiple Strategies

…success in a complicated endeavor depends on playing The Wedges Game (combining a number of partial solutions).  After relying on and failing with the single strategy of being disciplined in exercising, I combined:

  • A great cross-trainer machine that doesn’t squeak (Octane 47)
  • A multichannel TiVo to record engaging TV programs
  • A DVD player to support action-adventure movies when there was nothing good (violent) on TV
  • A pretty good high-definition TV that was big enough to be cool (40″)
  • Wireless headphones so I could have it loud enough to hear while not bothering Wendy
  • Located where the location supported exercise (first the bedroom later a remodeled basement) without being depressing (the basement before being remodeled)



The green area represents seven wedges of partial solutions


Read more…