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Sept/Oct 2013

goals ____________________________________________________________ Keep It or Toss It?

Letter from Partner

Celebrations: Planned Spontaneity


Contents September/October 2013

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2 C e l e br at io n s - P l a n n e d Sp o n ta n e i t y Most entrepreneurs are so focused on their businesses that they forget to stop and take a minute to review what they have accomplished, celebrate the significance and use that positive energy as a springboard for the future. As with most things in life, planning is crucial to get the most benefit.

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4 K e e p I t or T o s s I t ? What documents to keep and for how long is a legitimate concern. Creating and implementing a formal document retention policy can help ensure a company is maintaining documents long enough to satisfy legal, regulatory and operational required, while also having an organized and controlled manner to remove and destroy obsolete and unnecessary documents.

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September/October 2013


Celebrations - Planned Spontaneity By david krajanowski | Partner

dkrajanowski@singerlewak.com | 949.261.8600

Most entrepreneurs are so focused on their businesses that they forget to stop and take a minute to review what they have accomplished, celebrate the significance and use that positive energy as a springboard for the future. As with most things in life, planning is crucial to get the most benefit. When is the best time to celebrate? Celebration can be done anytime over anything—landing a big contract, reaching a higher revenue target, attaining a milestone event, etc. For our firm, and with many businesses, our milestone was an anniversary of being in business; in our case for 50 YEARS. Major milestones (like major anniversaries) allow for good retrospective looks, great celebrations and future springboards. When did you start planning the major milestone and how did you do it? You need to start early (a year) and create a process, complete with a timeline, to maximize your celebration. Your process could include:

• Leveraging your brand with an effective communication plan, thought leadership, web page content, productive team members, social media strategy, etc. • Working the numbers to decide what investments you want to make. • Reviewing your brand and its promise. Is it still valid? Does it need updating? • Asking the right questions to the right people and actively listening to the answers. The right people include owners of your company, your clients/customers, prospects, employees, etc. The right questions include: Why do you do business with us? What is most important to you (in your words)? What differentiates us from our competition? • Verifying your findings with focus groups consisting of customers, prospects, suppliers and employees. • Making subtle or not so subtle changes to your brand and its promise based on the above results.

As with most things in life, planning is crucial to get the most benefit How did you roll out your celebration? Many companies have “spontaneous” events that were laid out well in advance, planned, and orchestrated to create the image of spontaneity. Like any party that is well planned, each event takes on a life of its own putting each event over the top. Each event can roll out your vision, your brand, etc. to a specific audience, unveiling your past, present and future. People love to: • Party – whether it be customers, suppliers or your employees

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• Be part of a winning team and want to help drive that team forward • See how their input was incorporated What are the initial results? • Recognition: People like working in an organization they feel part of and are proud to work for. Review the past highlights, key events, employees, customers, innovations, etc. that we often forget to memorialize. • Promotion: Celebrations can be used effectively in promoting your company’s products/ser-

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vices, community involvement, employees, etc. • A Springboard for the Future: Set a vision that is well communicated throughout the organization with specific targets that unites everyone toward a shared goal. Reaching these targets allows for minicelebrations along the way. Use this springboard to tighten up or modernize your company, whether it be your brand, processes, focus, customer relations, etc. As the economy continues to improve, look at what major mile-

September/October 2013

stones you can use as a vehicle to conduct a “planned” spontaneous event. It may just be a new fresh way to approach strategic planning.

david krajanowski can be reached at dkrajanowski@singerlewak.com or 949.261.8600


BUSINESS GOALS

Keep It or Toss It?

FAMILY GOALS

OWNER GOALS

By AMANDA SCHLANK | MANAGER

ASchlank@SingerLewak.com | 310.477.3924

What documents to keep and for how long is a legitimate concern. Creating and implementing a formal document retention policy can help ensure a company is maintaining documents long enough to satisfy legal, regulatory and operational required, while also having an organized and controlled manner to remove and destroy obsolete and unnecessary documents. The information below will discuss the benefits of a document retention policy, what a document retention policy should address and communication and adherence to the policy, including destruction of documents. In today’s digital age, just because the capability exists to save endless data electronically does not mean that a company should. Maintaining excessive documents can be expensive, inefficient and can provide potential future exposure to risk. The cost of storing unneeded documents and the administrative time required to organize and later retrieve desired documents among the many undesired documents can be costly both monetarily and with time spent. In addition, during a legal

of the policy; procedures for the storage, organization, retrieval and final destruction of the documents, as well as exceptions to the policy for litigation or audit purposes.

dispute, a company may be mandated to gather and provide all potentially relevant documents to the litigation. If a company has both maintained and destroyed documents in accordance with its record retention policy, the inability to deliver documents during the discovery period of the potential litigation will be more reasonably justifiable. If a company only follows an informal policy or has no policy at all, document destruction may be viewed as selective and potentially done to destroy detrimental evidence. There is no one-size-fits all record retention policy, but a complete retention policy should contain the purpose of the policy; detailed guidelines for retention timeframe of documents; the individuals who are responsible for the oversight and execution

When determining the appropriate length of time to maintain documents, it is helpful to group documents into categories and then assign each category a retention timeframe. Below is a ruleof-thumb guideline for document retention by common significant categories: • Corporate Records - Permanent • Financial Records - 7 years to permanent • Tax Records - 7 years to permanent • Personnel Records - 3 years after termination to permanent • Insurance Records - Permanent • Contracts - 7 years to permanent In general, documents should be retained, at a minimum, as long as required by federal and/or local regulations. If documents do not fall into one of the above categories or into another clear category, the documents most likely

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should not be retained. Effective retention policies are not just about retention of documents, but also include policies related to the periodic destruction of documents after the designated retention period has lapsed. Individuals who are tasked with compliance of the designed document retention policy should ensure that the policy is communicated clearly throughout the company. Dissemination methods may include providing new employees with the written policy during orientation, posting of the policy on the company’s intranet,

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Individuals who are tasked with compliance of the designed document retention policy should ensure that the policy is communicated clearly throughout the company and periodic training to remind employees of the policy and inform them of any changes. Remember there are no universal rules and regulations that govern document retention and

September/October 2013

the above is merely a guideline for record retention. As requirements may vary state to state and industry to industry, ensure to check applicable regulations and sources before implementing a document retention policy to help customize a policy that meets your unique needs and potential legal and compliance requirements. amanda schlank can be reached at aschlank@singerlewak.com or 310.477.3924


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