086 Your Socratic Friend

May 11, 2018

How friends differ from flatterers and how business coaches differ from friends. Includes a plug for my favorite podcast, Philosophise This, by Steven West. https://bit.ly/2I8HHaM


085 The One Silver Bullet

May 4, 2018

They say there is no silver bullet, but I think I may have stumbled upon an exception, when it comes to creating scalable businesses. Check out this week's episode.


084 Are You Weak on Sales or Attraction

April 25, 2018

In today's episode, I lament about the strategy of an IT resource placement company I recently met, which is selling itself to contractor candidates on the "strength" of its benefit packages.  Listen to the show to find out how successful this strategy has proved to be and what could help them, as well as you del listener, to reposition yourself in the eyes of future employees. (Hint: the Entrepreneurial Operating System is a good tool to leverage to this end too.)


083 - High Expectations Work

October 8, 2016

We had some fierce conversations about my daughter’s pondering whether to drop a class with which she may have overreached. My wife gave her a hard time about it, which I felt was perhaps unreasonable. However, it reminded me of Sam Walton, Walmart’s founder, who stated that “High Expectations are the Key to Everything”.

Remember Steve Jobs? he wasn’t exactly a nice guy, as he had unreasonable expectations all the time. It was super-hard to work for him, but he changed the world and built the greatest company on Earth. There are other examples, like Napoleon or Cezar, whose ambitions killed millions, but who says they were not great leaders?

Tune into today’s show to hear my musings about what great expectations led to in my own company and how to set (or why avoid setting) great expectations to yourself, your family and the people around you.

How do YOU set expectations? Please tweet #asksuccessionsteve or email me at steve@entrepcoaches.com.

Visit Us: entrepcoaches.com


082 - Three Ways to Exert Leadership

October 6, 2016

I received a question from Christos Nikolau the other day about the difference between Leadership and Coaching. Thanks for the questions Christos! 

Leadership is the action of influencing people to achieve goals. Coaching is one of the ways to exert this leadership.

In today’s episode, I am discussing the three ways to exert leadership. The first one is Modeling, where you are leading people by setting a personal example of the attitudes and performance that you expect them to emulate. This works well in the workplace or in your family, where people see you operating. It also works when you are visible through the media, and we emulate celebrities, artists, and politicians, for better or worse. This is why we need leaders that we can look up to and that are worth emulating. George Washington, Gandhi and Angela Merkel are good examples. 

Coaching is a tool to help individuals or groups to figure things out themselves the right way forward. It is the Socratic method of leadership that allows you to influence other’s thinking indirectly, without having to tell them what to do. It works in one-to—one and small group situations - like Vistage executive peer-groups - where direct interaction in possible.

The third tool of leadership is inspiration, when you create the desire in your listeners to want to follow your lead. Inspirational leadership is exerted through public speaking, writing, acting or through other media, like audio or video. inspirational leadership has the biggest potential impact, as you can reach millions of people with your message. The more the hesitance between you and your audience the more inspiring the message must be. Think of “Don’t ask what your country can do for you…”, or “I have a dream….”, or “Imagine….”.

How do YOU exert leadership? Please tweet to #asksuccessionsteve or email me at steve@entrepcoaches.com.

Visit Us: entrepcoaches.com


081 - Selling in a falling market

October 4, 2016

Tune in to the story of how we sold a communications business in late 2008, when the bottom fell out of the mergers and acquisitions market. Hint: it was not about strong-arm tactics and yes, speed was a HUGE factor.


080 - The Spouse Behind the Sale

August 18, 2016
When you are a buyer of a business or an investment banker, it is critical to figure out the motivation of the seller. In today's episode, I tell the story of the reluctant seller, whose spouse was driving the transaction that he wasn't committed to make happen.
Eventually, the deal worked out great for the seller and there are two lessons in this tale worth hearing and processing.
Your succession is success!

079 - A More Compelling Future

August 13, 2016
There are three main triggers for the succession of the business owner: (1) necessity, (2) an irresistible offer, and my favorite: (3) a more compelling future. In today’s episode, I tell the story of a former client of mine, Csaba Kovacs, a Hall of Fame hockey player (not in the NHL, but still a Big Deal) who initiated his exit to realize a much bigger dream, that was to benefit not just him, his family and his associates, but his country. He sold his business to devote his time and energy to becoming the deputy chairman of the Hungarian Hockey Association and help elevate Hungarian Ice Hockey from Division C to the Elite Division of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Check http://successionsecrets.podbean.com/ to listen to the show or read the transcripts and learn how having a compelling future can help you build a more valuable business, exit it at peek valuation and use it as a springboard to an audacious dream.

Your succession is success!

078 - Smart and Lazy People

August 11, 2016
One of my favorite books is “On War” from an early 19th century Prussian general, Claus von Clausewitz.  This is possibly the most famous book on military strategy after “Art of War”, that most of you have heard of.  In his book Clausewitz talks about grouping officers into four clusters in terms of their intelligence and diligence. There are the dumb and lazy officers, who should be left alone. The smart and diligent officers must be taken great care of, as they will get everything done and make you look good.  The dumb and diligent ones are dangerous and should be fired or pushed aside, as they screw everything up. However, the smart and lazy officers are destined for the highest positions in the army…

The smart and lazy ones - this is what today’s podcast show is about.

Tune in to hear my story about a smart and lazy colleague of mine and how he made a stellar career at KPMG London, where I started my career. Find out how to become a smart and lazy entrepreneur yourself and what it means to your succession.

Tune into the show at http://successionsecrets.com.

Your succession is success!

077 - Chief Enabling Officer

August 9, 2016
One of my clients, who runs a major advertising agency in Richmond, introduced himself to our Vistage CEO peer group as the “Chief Enabling Officer”. In today’s episode, I share with you a story about one of my early bosses, Hassan, who was a Chief Enabling Officer of the Structured Finance department of the bank where I worked 20 years ago. Hassan never seemed to be doing much work himself, other than coaching the twelve of us in the department... lobbying senior management for resources... negotiating with other departments we had to deal with... and generally removing any obstacles from our way... so that we could power ahead without the frustrations and frictions I experienced in my previous jobs

Tune into today’s Succession Secrets show to hear this story, or just scan the transcripts on http://successionsecrets.com.

Your Succession is Success!

076 - Pick One You Trust and Trust Them

August 6, 2016
In today’s episode, I am sharing two stories from my time as an investment banker. The first is about a large construction company, where the owners got greedy and second-guessed their advisor. The second is a company where the seller had complete confidence in us.  As you may have guessed it, these two deals turned out very differently.

Listen to my stories making the case that if you cannot trust your investment banker, you should not hire him or her. Do your due diligence up front and make a decision only when you have found the right candidate. It is a critical decision, as all things being equal, the quality of the negotiations on your behalf is directly correlated to the level of trust you are willing to invest into your advisor relationship.

Check out the show or the transcript at http://successionsecrets.com.

Your succession (and trust) is your success!

075 - Leave No Room for Excuses

August 4, 2016

Can you recall the life and death Hungary-Portugal soccer game at the Euro 2016 championships?  After Hungary snatched the lead the third time with a goal bouncing off a defender, Cristiano Ronaldo was caught on camera in a fit of frustration. This scene was circulated on the internet as “evidence” of Ronaldo being a “spoilt” star who cannot control himself. Check the video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4p0DG02urAupV3t164gT2A

I drew the opposite conclusion.


Listen to the show, or read the transcripts, to learn why it was a sign of Cristiano’s brilliance and how this attitude helps him be a champion, which he and the Portugal national side ultimately became.  http://successionsecrets.podbean.com/



Your succession is success!


074 - Become Your Own Client

August 2, 2016
A client of mine who owns a business development consulting firm has recently found his pipeline drying up. It looked like a case of the “cobbler’s son going barefoot”, as his employees were stretched thin servicing clients and claimed to have had no time left to drum up business.

We brainstormed different solutions until we arrived at the conclusion. He had to become his own client.

Listen to today’s show to learn the details of our finding and how that strategy can fix my client’s lagging sales effort.

Thank you for listening. If you have a question about succession (in the broad sense), please tweet it to #asksuccessionsteve or email it to steve@entrepcoaches.com.

Your succession is success!

073 - The Constructive Role of Procrastination

July 30, 2016
Procrastination, the action of postponing or delaying something that needs to be accomplished, is generally seen as a negative habit, that we should all try to kick. Psychologist attribute it to perfectionism, laziness, distraction and other negative factors. However, I have found procrastination to affect almost everyone to some extent, even diligent and disciplined people. In today’s episode, I am making the case that procrastination may be a useful activity that allows us to get things done. I have identified 5 things that procrastination allows us to have, all of which help performance.
Tune into the show or read the transcripts and let me know what you think of my theory.
Your succession is success!


072 - The Cost of Not Creating Succession

July 28, 2016
Many ask me why “succession” is such a big deal. You will take care of it when you want to retire or sell the business. And what if you just want to work into the sunset?

In today’s episode, I share with you the six most important reasons why it is a fatal mistake to neglect succession. Some of these reasons will surprise you, especially the last one.

071 - Three Ways to Value a Business

July 26, 2016
We used to make elaborate valuations to clients, sometimes using 6-8 different methods to value a business.  Some clients need this sophistication and are willing to pay for it. However, there are really three main ways to value a business.

The first one is the market-based valuation. Based on a multiple of a metric, which could be revenue, net profit, EBIT (Earnings before Interest and Tax) and most frequently EBITDA (EBIT plus Depreciation and Amortization). EBITDA is the best proxy for cash flow and banks and private equity groups love it.  

The second method is the discounted cash flow based valuation, which determines the value of the business as the sum of the present values of its projected future cash flows. This is relevant when higher than the market value.

The third way is replacement cost valuation, which works as a sanity check for the investor, to make sure they don’t overpay.

070 - Growth is Where the Discomfort is

July 23, 2016
Had a great session with one of my Vistage members this morning. We reflected on the last meeting, which she thought was one of the best… while I thought it was a disaster… (check out episode 053).  I came to realize that that for any of our meeting to be worthwhile, there must be some drama or conflict happening. We learn nothing if we are just nice and courteous and don’t bank heads or confront each other.  

Personal growth requires stretching ourselves, which is uncomfortable. Tune into the show or check out the transcripts at http://entrepcoaches.com. 

Your succession is success! 

069 - Ways to Pay a Purchase Price

July 20, 2016
There is an investment banking proverb which says: “You can name your price if I am allowed to name my terms.” The purchase price for a business can be paid in different forms allowing the buyer to save cash and share some of the risks of the business with the seller.

The most common is of course cash, but it's rare that 100% is paid up front. Typically 10-30% of a cash price is held in escrow to secure the indemnities the seller is willing to grant to support their representations and warranties in the sale and purchase agreement.

Next up is a seller note and IOU issued by the company or the buyer, promising to pay a fix, non-contingent purchase price amount to the seller upon repayment of other acquisition debt. Common is SBA financing deals.

Tune into the show to learn about the other 3 main forms purchase price takes in mergers and acquisition and business brokerage transactions.

Read the transcripts at http://entrepcoaches.com. 

Your succession is success.

068 - Explosive Family Transition

July 19, 2016
Last week at a Charlotte Vistage seminar a colleague of mine told us a story of a family business transition that was potentially explosive. The founder bequeathed a family business to his son and daughter, who became equal shareholders. The founder’s son took over running the business while his daughter stayed out of the company and continued her career. In a few years, the business was doubled in size and tripled its profits. When the founder got sick, my friend got into an uncomfortable position. He wanted to buy out his sister before their father would die.

Listen to today’s episode to find out what happened to this family and how certain entrepreneurs handle family transitions.

Read the transcripts at http://entrepcoaches.com/podcast.

Your succession is success.

067 - Let Your Cash Flow Build Your Business

July 18, 2016
I am surprised to see the number of loans and financing offers banks and lending companies issue to small business owners.  And when those businesses start to make a profit, venture capital companies jump into the fray.

It is not money these start-ups need but talent and time to create a differentiated service that is able to gain traction in the marketplace. Large successful companies like Google often spin off entrepreneurial talent supported by minimal resources to let them experiment at low cost and develop something marketable.  

In fact, it is often much easier for a small business to be profitable, as the low-paid founders wear multiple hats and work around the clock.

Tune into today’s show about starting a business and why it’s not about the money.

Your succession is success!

066 - Sell a Business to Start Another

July 17, 2016
I had coffee this morning with a successful entrepreneur, who recently went through a sales process with a private equity group, only to see the deal go up in smoke in the 11th hour. Perhaps surprisingly, my CEO friend decided to keep the business and make it even better and even embark on an acquisition spree that the private equity group wanted to lead.

Tune into today’s show about how entrepreneurs view their business, what they like and hate about it and how it influences their decision whether to sell or keep it.

Your succession is success!

065 - Travel Outside Your Industry

July 16, 2016
People tend to look to their peers for ideas. Especially their industry peers, as they assume that the best of them have become successful by having developed best practices.  In reality, there is an infinite potential for new ideas, however, advanced the industry.  And the easiest place to find good ideas that work is t look at other industries.  By travelling outside your industry, you can pick up well-tested ideas that no one is using in your market.  You have the chance to become an industry innovator and leader just by copying these ideas.

In today's Succession Secrets show, I explore this concept popularized by famed marketing guru, Jay Abraham.  Examples include cloud software companies that have copied utilities, multi-family apartment rental businesses that have adopted pricing practices from the airline industry and FEDEX, which emulated the hub-and-spoke system of the Federal Reserves to invent overnight shipping.

Listen to today’s episode to find out about the marketing techniques I imported into investment banking and how a CEO peer group is the most fertile ground for cross-industry “idea-pollenization”.  Listen to how an “old-economy”, dirty and unattractive business was repositioned by my Vistage group into a green, higher purpose business, ripe to attract millennial talent.

Listen to the show, or read the transcripts at http://entrepcoaches.com/podcast.  

Your succession is success!


064 - Riding 4 Horses with a Single A–

July 15, 2016
When I was a kid, my dad used to tell me “don’t try to ride two horses with one a*s”.  Recently I have noticed that I am trying to ride not just two, but four horses. (Not mentioning my personal life, which is probably is at least another horse or two).  

My horses are coaching groups and individuals, publishing my daily Succession Secrets podcast show, gearing up to become a public speaker and growing my coaching business.  I feel I should prioritize, but I have no heart to kick out any of the horses from under me.

I called my father to try to make sense of this conundrum, who further confused me with another proverb, he had heard from his boss as a young MD and researcher: “To be successful, you have to swallow it all”. I.e., he had to treat his patients, write his doctorate, carry out research and teach at the university, if he was to become a top heart specialist.

Was my dad talking from both side of his mouth?

Read the show transcripts on http://entrepcoaches.com.

Your succession is success!

063 - The Real Reason for the Sale

July 14, 2016
I recently bumped into a fund manager friend, whom I will call Bill. He told me that people don’t appreciate anymore the “buy-and-hold-forever” philosophy of his fund.

I inquired about an example when they did appreciate that in the past. He mentioned about the exiting owner of a contracting company, which chose his fund over a competing strategic buyer, as they offered a “long term future” for his employees. (On further inquiry, it turned out that the seller cheated key staff members out of their exit bonus, after closing – hardly a sign of concern for the welfare of these employees.)

So why is the GOOD reason for the sale, not necessary the REAL reason, and why is it important to find out? Furthermore, what will be Bill’s real differentiator, if “buy-and –hold-forever” has fizzled out?

Tune into the show to find out. Search for “Succession Secrets” on iTunes or the Podbean app.

Your succession is success!

062 - Variables Affecting The Succession Decision

July 13, 2016
I identified 5 major variables to the succession decision. Today’s episode is about discussing these.

The first variable is the trigger. There are three triggers to transition, including (1) a compelling alternative future for the business owner / leader (another career, post-entrepreneurial pursuits, etc.); (2) her potential inability to continue running the business (ill health, unsustainable/loss making business); and (3) a potential case of burnout (able to continue, but no more steam in the engine).

The next variable is whether the leader can afford to exit. Can he retire? Does he have an alternative income opportunity? Is the business sellable?

The third variable is whether the business is ready to be transitioned. It may not be able to carry the cost of new management. The successor(s) may or may not be ready to take over. Is know-how of the business institutionalized (“processized”, documented)?

The fourth variable is whether the business owner or leader can secure her net worth locked up in the business. 

The final variable is the businesses ability to innovate without the existing leader.

Tune into the show to learn the details of these variables driving succession!

Your succession is success!

061 - Inside vs Outside Successor

July 12, 2016
Today I am answering Mark’s question from Henrico, VA. Business owners often grapple with the dilemma whether to promote an existing employee or business partner or bring someone from outside to succeed them.

Surprise, surprise… it depends.

Some of the variables are the type of culture the business have, the sensitivity of staff members to a transition, the time needed to groom a successor, any skill gaps the company have and the potential for an outside successor to bring a book or business or open a new market and the plans of the owner to cash out of the company at the time of the succession transition or shortly thereafter.

One thing is certain. A successor is necessary in most cases for a reasonable chance of doing a liquidity transaction with a third party.

Tune into the show for the details. Thanks for listening to the show!

Your succession is success!

060 - Always Propose a Rational Deal

July 11, 2016
In my experience as an investment banker, business owners often did not understand how to negotiate the sale of their business. Many of them thought that negotiation is about pressuring people to give up most of their upside to make the transaction sweeter for them. This is the so called win-lose strategy. It can work in situations where one party holds all the cards and the other is forced to deal, such as in near-bankruptcy cases.

In most M&A deals however, the parties will not do a transaction at any price, unless it benefits them. In these cases a win-win strategy is more appropriate, where both parties needs and constraints are recognized.

In today’s episode I discuss the critical elements to negotiating an advantageous deal for your team, by understanding the needs of the other party and helping them get what they want. I also talk about why proposals must be based on logic and how to avoid making one that terminates discussions at the outset.

Tune into the Succession Secrets show and if you enjoy it, please review it on iTunes.

Your succession is success!

059 - Reverse Engineer and Execute like Crazy

July 10, 2016
I would like to share with you a simple recipe that I used to generate revenue and kick-start my business when times were bleak.  It is about setting a target, reverse engineering the input actions required to reach that target and to execute those actions.

It’s easier said than done, as an entrepreneur is faced with constant distractions from the outside as well as from her own curious and excitement seeking mind. It is all too easy to be seduced by the next shiny object of an idea. 

On today’s show I make the case against creativity and ideas. They are important, but at times of emergency, they can be counterproductive.

Tune in to listen to what happened to my investment banking business when we got closed out of our market overnight. How we scrambled to stay in business and rebuild our project portfolio, so that we could stay afloat and give ourselves a chance to return to profitability.

Thanks for listening and if you enjoy the show, please review and rate us on iTunes. It helps us get higher in the rankings and reach a bigger audience.

If you have an iPhone, search for “Succession Secrets” and click on the big icon and then on “review”. If you have already subscribed to the podcast, you will have to search for “Succession Secrets” for the podcast to come up.

On the desktop, link to: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/succession-secrets/id1115741201?mt=2 and click “View in iTunes”, and there click: “Ratings and Reviews” under the title.

Be sure to choose a nickname which is likely uncommon, otherwise, your review will get deleted and you will have to swear and start over.

Thanks a lot for supporting the show!

Succession Steve

058 - Successful with or without you

July 9, 2016
Did you ever waver whether to be “tough” with people when they did not perform to your expectations? Worrying that they would leave and you might have to pick up their tasks and look for new employees who might not end up any better?

In today’s show I make the case for setting boundaries and high expectation for people.  How to be tough on them, still keep them and turn them into high performers.  How to dangle the carrot too so that they have a reason to stay beyond the pay check.

I share the story of a former colleague and a good friend Peter, whom I was tough with early on his career and he ended up becoming a stellar performer and when we parted ways he became a venture-backed entrepreneur.

Thanks for listening and please review or rate us on iTunes.

Your succession is success.

057 - Biggest Mistakes when Pursuing Succession

July 8, 2016
What can go wrong with succession. Today, I am answering Jeremy’s (North Chesterfield, VA) question, from the perspective of business owners and leaders.

I believe there are four common reasons:
  1. Hoping that you get lucky
  2. Looking for your alter ego
  3. Trying to mentor successors on your own
  4. Relying on the successor for your pension

As you may surmise from the above bullets, succession is not a slam-dunk. The biggest mistake people make is that it is about finding the perfect successor who will run the business as well, or better than the founder. 

A better approach is to think about the organization first and the people second. Even if you found the perfect candidate, she or he will still be human and can be poached, get full of themselves and slack off in the comfort of a nice salary and the corner office.

Tune into the show to listen to the details. 

And please don’t forget to review the show on iTunes. It will help it reach more of us succession seekers.

Your succession is success.

056 - Be Your Own Investor

July 7, 2016
Many founders believe that bringing on an investor is a great idea. They see it as a “seal of approval” that they have a valuable business and they might also enjoy the security of a salary or making money from offloading a few shares.

Bringing on a VC or Private Equity investor can, of course be justified when the company needs to scale quickly to preempt the competition from catching up with the idea, or when there is only profitable room for a single player in a niche.

On the other hand too many founder give up too much for too little when they raise money from professional investors.

In today’s show, we discuss what investors bring, what they say they bring and what they definitely don’t bring. The answers might surprise you. Listen to the show to learn the pitfalls of having a professional investor and what alternatives are available to avoid bringing one on.

Tune in on iTunes and leave a review, if you like the show.

Your succession is success!

055 - Are you Driven Away, or pulled towards

July 6, 2016
We can be driven by different forces to get to the next level.  Some people are primarily driven from a situation, a job they can’t grow any more in, or a position that doesn’t fulfill them, or a boss who is a jerk.  Others are motivated by a desire to fulfill a specific ambition.

I believe the “away motivation” can be very powerful, as it is usually triggered by pain, while “towards motivation” requires desire.  In fact, “desire-pull” is less powerful for most people, while extremely strong for a select few.   In today’s show I discuss the differences in the two sentiments, explain why “driven away” is much more frequent than  “pull towards” and I make the case for why DESIRE is the biggest talent one can possibly have.

Tune into the show and – if you like it – please rate us on iTunes. It will help us get the word out.

Your succession is success!

054 - You Must Like Them if you Want to Help Them

July 5, 2016
Listen to my story of working on selling an old-fashioned metal fabrication business, representing an obnoxious business owner. I resented that man, as he appeared to be undermining the negotiations at every turn, with his distrusting and apparently poisonous attitude. He sensed that I disagreed with him and started to suspect me of having ulterior motives in this deal, out of alignment with the ownership group. 

He was not leading it but was an influential player of a group of engineer-owners and I realized that I had to return into his confidence if I wanted to salvage the deal.  

Tune into the show to find out how I managed this feat, while maintaining my integrity and how it can help you serve and sell to difficult people.

Your succession is success!

053 - Why my Friends Ripped Me to Pieces

July 4, 2016

Today’s show is about a recent experience of speaking to a group of CEOs on the topic of succession.  One of the ideas I presented turned out to be polarizing the group and generated a heated discussion.  

In today’s show, I dissect this experience with the benefit of a few days of reflection and analyze the three things I have concluded to have upset some members of my audience. I also reflect about what vulnerability meant to me in that situation and how I could have reacted differently.


I have not revealed too much here, but you can find out the details by tuning into the show.

Your succession is success!


052 - How to Build Your Leadership Muscles

July 3, 2016
In today’s show, we discuss how leaders can build up their power to persuade and influence others.

Leadership is essentially selling your message and to sell anything you first have to believe in your own message with conviction. The first sale is to yourself.

Listen to the show to learn how you can build credibility with your own eyes. Self-confidence and belief that will allow you to persuade and influence others with your message. I am sharing my story of how as a young fencer I admired and tried to emulate an audacious peer who competed without a shiver of self-doubt against national athletes, 10 years his seniors.   

Find out how I tried to reverse engineer the secret behind Zoltan’s self-confidence to give myself an edge in my career as a banker and the limits to this strategy as a leader. I am also sharing the strategy that leaders can successfully employ to become unstoppable.

See you on the show, and remember:  Your succession is success!

051 - Overpowering Negative Energy

July 2, 2016
In a recent Vistage meeting, my members were fuming about having to deal with complaining and negative employees. How it drains their energy and focus and pulls them into a space where they hate to be. As a result of some of them sometimes hide in their office to not have to deal with this toxicity.

Sounds familiar?

Tune into today’s show to find out how to turn the table on the complainers. How by refusing to play on their terms you can go from reactive to proactive mode by overpowering their negativity.

You don’t have to go as far as Steve Jobs, who created a “reality distortion field” to neutralize a negative atmosphere and re-energize people around you.

050 - Personality Traits of Future Leaders

July 1, 2016
Today’s question came from Mike in Richmond, VA.

Mike, leadership is eternal, and the traits of future leaders will be identical to that of the past. The only thing that is changing is the media, but even there we can count on public speaking remaining relevant. Just witness the presidential race.

In today’s episode, I share with you the seven most critical traits of a leader. The number one is “inspiring”, as we want our leaders to fire us up to get the work done. The second trait is “visionary”, as we must keep a tangible goal in front of us to progress. The third trait is being “articulate”. No one will listen to a message, which is not articulated clearly and compellingly.

Tune into the show to find out the remaining four leadership traits and why they are important.

If you would like me to answer your question, tweet it to #asksuccessionsteve, or email it to steve@entrepcoaches.com.

Your Succession is Success!

049 - How to Transition a Decorated, but Toothless Employee

June 30, 2016
This is a question from Landon, who lives in Ashland, VA.

Landon, what do you mean by “transition”? Is it about firing that person, or moving him sideways or to another organization? Would he accept a lower position and lower pay or that would just make him more bitter?

Why is he no longer contributing? Is it lack of skill, energy, or poor attitude? If skill, is he coachable? Can he learn new skills?

If it is the energy, is it a temporary situation or an old-dog-new-tricks problem?

How about the attitude problem? Is he toxic, or just down and out?

In today’s episode, we discuss the three risks of firing such an employee and how to mitigate them.  We also analyze how to handle a toxic employee.

Tune into the show and let me know what you think.

Your Succession is Success!

048 - What Triggers the Succession Decision

June 29, 2016
In today’s episode, I answer Mark’s question from Henrico, VA.

The bigger question is whether to do it or not. Then you must decide on your timing.

The do or not decision depends on three things: (1) Do you have something more compelling to do, (2) Are you bored and must force yourself with an exit or succession process to move on to a new life-phase, or (3) You can’t do it anymore – ill health, burn out or diminished business prospects are in your way to carrying on.

In terms of timing, on today’s show, we discuss 5 drivers that influence your decision as to when to pull the trigger. One of them if your magic number – if you have one. The cash you need to make it worth your while to hand over your baby to a buyer or successor. It may be your retirement nest egg, or the cash you need for your philanthropic endeavors or the number you think you are good for. Either way, it is helpful to have a target to work towards.

Listen to today’s episode of the Succession Secrets show to find out about the other 4 drivers. Tune into iTunes or your favorite podcast app to listen to the show, or read the transcripts on http://entrepcoaches.com/podcast.    

If you enjoy the show, please rate us on iTunes. It helps.

Your Succession is Success!

047 - How do I know that my Successor is Qualified?

June 28, 2016
This question came from Shane who lives in Chesterfield, VA.

The first thing to establish is how we define “qualified”.  Does qualified mean “as good as you”, or that he is “good enough to handle the role, and has the potential to succeed in it”?  The latter question is more relevant, as if he is already as good then maybe he should be promoted over your head. (Just kidding. Sort of.)

The second question is whether ¬you are ready to move on so that it’s worth replacing you at that stage?  Is there a compelling opportunity that warrants your replacement?  -- If not, then this is probably not the time… yet.

In today's show, we discuss how to evaluate if your successor is good enough to handle your responsibilities.  We also contrast succession in the case of an “entrepreneurial” vs. and “operating”-type role… and three techniques for accelerating succession of your “heir apparent”, if you have urgently to promote yourself to a bigger opportunity.

Finally, I describe three criteria that should be considered when making the go-no go succession decision.

Tune in to listen to the show, or read the transcripts on http://successionsecrets.podbean.com/.  If you have a succession-related question, tweet it to #asksuccessionsteve or email me at steve@entrepcoaches.com.  

If you enjoy the show, please rate us on iTunes.  It helps.

Your Succession is Success!

046 - How to Retain Key Staff Without Equity

June 27, 2016
Today’s question came from Roger in Amelia, VA.

The first issue I address on today’s show is whether people have other reasons to stay with your firm than obtaining equity and how these drivers can be mobilized to negate the need for employees to own shares in the business.

If the main reason for people to stay is maximizing their income, several equity-alternatives are available, including performance-based compensation and regular salary increases.

If your employees “need” equity, we explore what their needs are and how owning equity would satisfy such needs, or how granting shares could help the business owner.  

I identify seven such reasons on the show, including alignment between owner and employee, prestige, influence, tax treatment, etc. and suggest alternative solutions to granting equity. Even if equity is the ultimate solution, there are options that allow business owners maintain flexibility and protect themselves should the partnership ever sour.

If you like the show, please subscribe to “Succession Secrets” on the iPhone’s Podcast app or on your favorite podcasting platform. 

You may also read the transcripts at www.entrepcoaches.com/podcast. Thanks for following the show.

Your Succession is Success!

045 - If There is No One to Succeed You

June 26, 2016
What do you do when there is no one inside or outside the business that could succeed you? This was the question I received from Paul, who lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Listen to today’s episode to find out my six strategies to solve that problem.

Strategy no. 1 is to find somebody further down in the organization, with the potential to be groomed into the job. Let this person shadow you, perhaps as a personal assistant/secretary or PR person. Later on, you could assign them important roles in senior management of the business. A future CEO is best off to have had exposure to sales, operations as a minimum and possibly finance.

Strategy no. 2 is to poach a number two or three person from a competitor, where they have no prospect of an early promotion. Maybe they have been passed over or the top dog is too young to move on anytime soon.

For strategies 3 to 6, tune into the show. 

If you like the show, please subscribe for “Succession Secrets” on the Podcast app on the iPhone, which is installed on all iPhones by default.  If you are an Android user, you can find Succession Secrets on most podcasting apps. 

You may also read the show transcripts at www.entrepcoaches.com/podcast. Thanks for following the show.

Your Succession is Success!

044 - Transitioning a High Relationship Business

June 25, 2016
A High-Relationship business is one where clients have a relationship with a specific individual, often the founder or the CEO, and it is primarily this relationship that keeps them coming back to the business. Contrast this situation with dominant market players, such as KPMG in accounting, where the brand awareness dominates client-retention.

Examples to high-touch businesses include: money management, legal services, medical services, insurance sales, etc.

The goal of a succession process is to transfer all client relationship to succession management or a new owner, without losing any business.

In today’ episode, I describe six ways that transition can be affected by high-touch businesses to avoid losing clients. In fact, I believe the firm will gain clients by following this process.

You can listen to the show on your iPhone or Android phone, by downloading any podcast app and searching for “Succession Secrets”. If you like the show, please “subscribe” for Succession Secrets on the Podcast app on the iPhone, which is installed on all phones by default.

You may also read the show transcripts below. Thanks for following the show!

Your Succession is Success!

043 - From Entrepreneur to Venture Capitalist

June 24, 2016
In this episode, I am answering Darnell’s (Hampton, VA) question:  How do I Transition from an Entrepreneur to Venture Capitalist?

There are several examples of successful entrepreneurs becoming serial entrepreneurs and eventually venture capitalists.  Motivations could include, high non-executive earnings potential, curiosity, and desire to be involved in state of the art technologies with smart, driven entrepreneurs, a stimulating lifestyle, and the ability to mentor smart and successful people.  

These are all possible reasons. The most valid business reason, however, is to use venture capital to leverage your skills and network.

In this episode, I describe how to acquire the knowledge to play in the VC world and six different tactics that an entrepreneur might use to get exposure and even immersion in venture capital.

Thank you for listening.  If you enjoy the show, please go to iTunes and rate us, so that it can get in front of a bigger audience. 

If you would like me to answer your question in an upcoming episode, email me at steve@entrepcoaches.com, or better yet, tweet your question to #asksuccessionsteve.

Listen or download episodes at http://entrepcoaching.com/podcast or you can search for "Succession Secrets" on any of the Podcast broadcasters below:

Apple Podcast App search: "Succession Secrets"
Your Succession is Success!

042 - How to Get Proprietary Deals

June 23, 2016
In today’s episode, I answer Marian’s question which he emailed from Slovakia.

Proprietary deals are those, to which you get to first. It is the opposite of a non-proprietary deal, which is being shopped by an intermediary who wants to turn you into a commodity so that you have to compete with price.  

Marian works at a buy-and-hold private investment company and wants to get deals where he can build a bilateral relationship with business owners. Bilateral is good. Relationship is better still. How can he do it?

This is a big topic, but in today’s episode, I describe my 8-step process to build a proprietary deal flow. 

  1. Articulate the types of deal (Size, Situation, Sector)
  2. Buy and research a list
  3. Craft your story and message
  4. Get your story out
  5. Become a thought leader and serve your target market
  6. Network with intermediaries serving your market
  7. Reverse engineer the desired results
  8. Turn reaching out into a habit

Yes, it involves planning, process and persistence. But it works. It is the exact process (plus social media) that allowed me to build a market-leading investment bank.

Question of the Day: How do you generate dealflow?

Your Succession is Success!

041 - Are You Thriving on Adrenaline

June 22, 2016
Adrenaline is Addictive.

The excitement of deadlines, running late, and courting danger is a source of joy for business owners and executives. It gives us a boost of energy that we use to get projects done and put out fires.

The problem is, that adrenaline was designed for survival, not for living. In fact, your addiction to adrenaline can prevent you from building a great company. It is the single biggest obstacle to succession.

In today’s episode, I discuss why business owners succumb to adrenaline addiction and how they stay stuck in reactive mode as a result. You will learn how to wean yourself off adrenaline, by replacing it with another, more productive addiction.

Question of the Day: What is super-important for your business that you can’t get to?

Your Succession is Success!

040 - Wanting to Prepare to Win

June 21, 2016

Hall of Fame basketball coach, Bobby Knight said that: “The key is not the will to win, everybody has that. The key is the will to prepare to win.”

This quote is relevant to a discussion I had today with a client about the commitment of employees to the company’s and their personal growth. I argued that it depended on whether the employee had sufficient desire to achieve, which he disagreed with. As it turned out, we interpreted the subject of the desire differently, but we agreed that the motivation has to be there. Without the tension of unfulfilled desire, exceptional performance is unlikely to occur.

Listen to today’s episode to learn the reasons why desire is essential to success and the various triggers that can catalyze desire to achieve. Learn how leadership can generate “mass desire” in the workforce, while inherently only a small percentage of the staff would self-drive for results.

Feel free to tweet me your succession-related questions to: #asksuccessionsteve.

Your Succession is Success!


039 - Do You Lead With Logic or Emotion

June 20, 2016

It is a widely accepted tenet in sales that customers decide with emotion and justify with logic. The same thing may be happening in leadership. Let me explain.

I met with a CEO today a very successful operator, who has been successfully growing and developing her business.  She has installed and redesigned processes replaced her leadership team, managed out poor performers and created detailed mid-term strategic and operating plans. 

Results have improved dramatically, but to her consternation, the place is still not buzzing with energy. On the contrary, people are generally not excited to work for the company and a recent survey even showed a growing percentage of disengaged employees.

We were discussing what she could do to inspire her troops. What could help the business attract ambitious associates that could propel the business to new heights going forward.

Listen to this episode of Succession Secrets to learn what my hunch was about the situation, about the Logic-and-Emotion-Meter and how it can be used to assess and potentially fine-tune your leadership style.

Please tweet me your succession-related question to #asksuccessionsteve, or send me a direct message through Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Your Succession is Success!

Visit Us: https://entrepcoaches.com/what-is-eos/


038 - Let Your Prospects Qualify

June 19, 2016

Jeffrey Gitomer, renowned sales trainer said that “People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy”.

So how can you turn your selling process into a buying process?

  1. Make sure the product fits the customer
  2. Make sure the customer is right for your business

Listen to this episode to learn how you can find out the answers to the above questions. 

If you offer value to the customer, don’t be afraid to qualify them.  Let them prove it to you that they are good enough to benefit from your offer.  This strategy works especially well when you can create scarcity in your service.

Question of the Day: What question would best qualify your customer?

Your Succession is Success


037 - How Can You Get Grittier

June 18, 2016

Grit is one of the strongest indicator of success, for entrepreneurs and other leaders. A Gritty person is tireless, strives to always do a good job and gets things done.

I have found that there excelling in four distinct areas makes for a gritty individual.  These are: Resilience, Comfort with Discomfort, Embracing the Fear of Failure and three specific Beliefs.

Listen to this episode of the Succession Secrets show to learn what the underlying skills are that help you become grittier and more successful.

Question of the Day: What is Your Goal That Scare You?

Don’t forget to tweet your question to #asksuccessionsteve or message it through Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

Your Succession is Success!