How To Be Successful At Business Succession

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Only a certain type of person has the particular set of skills, and is willing to take calculated risks and work tirelessly to build a successful business from scratch. One risk you should never take is leaving the future of your business to chance.

As you grow your company, consider how you will structure ownership so that it can be transferred over smoothly when you retire, pass away, or if you should become disabled.  Or consider the possibility that passing on your business while you are living may be the best succession strategy you can employ.

Whether you have a large company with a complex structure, a simple internet business, or a small brick and mortar operation, competent legal advice is necessary. One of the reasons for creating a succession plan is to give you the peace of mind you desire to ensure that your business is transferred into the right hands or that loved ones will be taken care of out of the money produced from the ongoing operations or the sale of the company.

To ensure the succession of your business beyond you (and that your legacy is fulfilled), you will have several options, including selling your business outright, creating an agreement to sell after a certain triggering event like your retirement, or transferring through a living trust.

Each one of these options comes with its own set of considerations such as tax liability for the successor, and who will make ownership and operational decisions at what time.

No matter which route you choose, planning early is a must because it will allow you the time you need to implement a phased transition plan. Even if retirement seems far off and you are more focused on revenue and profitability than trusts and buyout agreements, consider your succession plan along with your business goals. Do you want family to be involved in the company leadership or just benefit financially from the transfer?

Very few people feel comfortable simply handing over the keys to a kingdom that they have put so much time, effort and money into over the years. A gradual transition will allow you to share your vision with the succeeding leader, transfer necessary knowledge, and provide you with time to see if they are indeed up for the task.

An experienced lawyer can be a valuable advisor not just regarding the law, but also by advising you based on what they have learned has worked for other companies like yours. Owners can often get emotional about their businesses, having invested so much of themselves over the years. While skilled counsel will take your entire experience into account (emotional, financial, etc…), they will also provide valuable objective legal advice from an outside perspective.

Of course, your business is not just about your financial life and that of your loved ones. Planning your exit strategy involves the employees, customers and merchants with whom you have built relationships over the years. You will want to explore all options to determine the best path for all of the stakeholders in any given circumstance, be it retirement, death, dissolution or divorce.

Start creating your succession plan today by sitting down with a Business Lawyer, who can guide you in making these difficult decisions. They can look out for your business’s future leadership, so you have time and energy to focus on current growth and expansion.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, insurance, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

Culture: How a Practice of Karma Can Improve Your Business

Good business practices like transparency and corporate responsibility can be leveraged to build valuable relationships. But throwing around these buzzwords will only get you so far.

If you really want to see results, what you may want to consider is a practice of karma: the idea that helping others become successful—suppliers, customers, even competitors—is the real key to your success in life as well as in business. It may seem to go against everything you’ve learned about business, such as that it’s necessary to be cutthroat, take out your competitors and get as much as you can while giving as little as possible. The times are changing.

Now, smart business owners know that the key to long-lasting success is turning competitors into collaborators and giving as much as you can to create win/win situations always.

It’s one of the things we are best at, helping you identify the win/win, even when you can’t see it. And, also helping you see where you may be engaging in win/lose tactics without even knowing it because it can be so deeply conditioned.

If you’d like to begin to gather your own evidence for a practice of Karmic business, read the books The Diamond Cutter and Karmic Business, both by Geshe Michael Roach.

Don’t be afraid to take your eyes off the bottom line and focus on how your company can be a force for good, even by helping your competitors. Building a culture that develops healthy karma can be as simple as providing over and above outstanding customer service, taking the time to make your vendor’s lives easier by paying more quickly than required, or even sending referrals to a competitor without an expectation of any return.

Building karma is an important investment of time and energy, and it does pay off. Too many business owners neglect their business relationships and miss out on countless rewards. Operations and growth are always top priorities for entrepreneurs, but make sure your company culture focuses on building strong relationships, too.

If you want to free up your time and energy to work on your business relationships, begin by sitting down with us. As your Business Lawyer, we can help you structure your business, so you can focus on growth, potential and all the reasons why you love doing business and show you the opportunities for karmic business that you may be overlooking.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, insurance, financial and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

New Business Owner? Avoid These Common Startup Mistakes

The startup life can be exciting and for many the learning curve is huge. In the midst of growth and opportunity, many entrepreneurs make costly legal mistakes which can be easily avoided with the proper preparation. Here are some of the most common legal missteps made by businesses in the startup phase:

Not Drafting a Clear Founder Agreement

A crystal-clear agreement between co-founders before you start making a profit (or losses, as the case may be) will prevent financial misunderstandings about who gets what and when. Decide early on how profits will be distributed and losses made up to avoid much bigger conflict down the road. Use the “Agreement Process” (part of our LIFT Foundation System) to determine how you handle the hard issues, right up front, before you make big investments.

 Starting as a Sole Proprietorship

Sole proprietorships are easy to set up but expose you to personal risk and potentially higher taxes. Consider an LLC or S-Corporation to protect your personal assets and possibly even reduce your tax burden.

Ignoring Securities Laws When Issuing Stock

They say it takes a village to raise a child. The same adage applies to startups. If you want to issue stock to those who’ve helped you along the way, heed all state and federal securities laws. Contact us before you issue any stock, so we can get you set up right.

Not Having Enough Employment Documentation

Every startup should have a set of comprehensive employment (or independent contractor) agreements in its arsenal. Avoid the high cost of resolving employee conflicts in court by making sure your policies and agreements are absolutely clear, and that you’ve properly categorized team members as either employees, or independent contractors. If you aren’t sure, contact us.

Neglecting IP Protections

Your intellectual property is an asset, and should be protected from day one. That means trademarks registered, and copyrights filed. If you aren’t sure what needs protecting, contact us to get an audit scheduled.

Failing to Develop a Tax Strategy

If you’re not making a lot of money, why worry about taxes, right? Think again. Work with a tax advisor to develop a tax strategy, and don’t wait until tax season to do so! We meet with our clients’ and their tax advisor at least annually in the Fall to begin identifying the tax opportunities that must be planned for well before year end.

Negligent Naming

Before you register your name or your domain, make sure there aren’t any trademarks or similarly named companies already using your name.

Not Having Clear User Agreements

Don’t launch your website without getting terms of use agreement and privacy policy in place and on your site. We can help with that too.

Perhaps the biggest legal mistake a startup can make is not having good legal counsel. Don’t wait until it’s too late to hire an attorney to help you avoid sticky situations. Having a trustworthy and experienced attorney in your ring from day one will help you start-up with the solid foundation you need for success.

Startups can be risky ventures, but with sound planning, you can beat the odds. If you want to avoid the costly legal mistakes many startups make, begin by sitting down with a Business Lawyer. As your Business Lawyer, we can establish a sound legal, insurance, financial, and tax system for your business so you can focus on running your growing startup.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

Avoid Business Litigation With These Six Steps

Business litigation is an expensive use of both time and money and should be avoided whenever possible. Even the most favorable of settlements can cost a business months—if not years—of productivity and focus.

To avoid the high costs of litigation, follow these six preventive steps:

  1. Don’t skimp on contracts. Instead of spending a fortune on legal fees when facing a lawsuit in the future, make a smaller, smarter investment in solid contracts and getting clear on agreements up front, in the present.
  2. Audit your insurance policies. Ensure that you have the breadth and depth of coverage your business needs to be protected. Consult with us to help you  decipher how to protect your business best using the right kinds and types of insurance, so that if a lawsuit does happen, you aren’t footing the legal bill.
  3. Keep good records. Simply producing key documents can easily thwart expensive, time consuming lawsuits. Keeping excellent records now can help save money on future litigation. Ask about our LIFT records binder to support you in keeping the right records, and letting go of the rest.
  4. Hire, train, and manage your staff with processes and procedures that mitigate the risk of future lawsuits.
  5. Be proactive. Small disputes can quickly turn into full-blown suits. Deal with minor disputes early to avoid a trip to court. Contact us at the first rumblings of a disgruntled client, vendor or partner.
  6. Only enter into win/win agreements. Commit to caring as much about the outcome with the person you are contracting with as you do about the outcome for yourself. We can help you with that when we are working with you to strategize the documentation of your agreements.

With careful preventative planning, you can safeguard your business against unnecessary and costly litigation.

Protecting your business and your time is a strategic and valuable practice. If you’re ready to take the next step toward preventative planning, start by sitting down with us. As your Business Lawyer, we can guide you in making the difficult decisions you face every day as a leader in business, including how to safeguard your business against legal risks. We look out for your business’s future, so you have time and energy to focus on growth and expansion.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, insurance, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

Small Business Financing at the End of the Brick and Mortar Era

As more banks close local branches and eschew brick and mortar growth, small businesses face uncertain times. With fewer branches in which to form trusted financial relationships, business owners often must rely on online banking for everyday needs.

This poses a problem for small business owners who previously benefited from personal relationships with bankers when seeking financing. Although a computer algorithm might not recognize the potential of a small business from an online loan application, personal bankers often can, making local banking branches an important source of funds for small businesses.

So, what can small businesses do to secure vital financing in a world where brick and mortar branches are closing their doors? Where can they turn for personalized financing? Can online banking be trusted?

Entrusting a banking app with the financial livelihood of your business might make small business owners uneasy, especially when facing rejection from online loan applications that only take into consideration hard numbers like credit scores and revenues.

You can offset this disadvantage by working with a skilled advisor—such as a Business Lawyer—who can help you plan for the future and secure financing for growth on your own terms. A Business Lawyer can do two things: help you prepare to secure financing from a bank and help keep you in excellent financial shape allowing you to rely less on financing and more on growth.

A Business Lawyer knows what big banks want to see in an applicant and can help you represent your business as an  attractive candidate for financing. By coordinating your business formation, tax strategy, insurance policies, and financial operations, a Business Lawyer can ensure your business is a sound investment for any financier.

But securing a small business loan is just the start. To focus on growth, you’ll want to put financial systems in place that minimize your reliance on financing while maximizing the performance of the funding you do obtain.

Securing financial backing for small businesses is harder than ever, but with sound planning, you can beat the odds. If you want to put systems in place to boost your financial fortitude, begin by sitting down with a Business Lawyer. As your Business Lawyer, we can establish a sound legal, insurance, financial, and tax system for your business so you can focus on growth and reach your full potential.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

How to Increase Well-Being While Running a Successful Business That Seems to Require All Your Time and Energy

Think business is all work and no play? It’s that mindset that will hold you back from reaching your potential. Your happiness matters. The problem is, the pressure of running a business can make it seem that prioritizing self care and your overall well-being is next to impossible, or even irresponsible. But, in fact, the opposite is true.

If you don’t prioritize self-care, your business will never succeed to the level you want. It’s a tricky balance that you will only be able to master if you see through the belief patterns that are holding you back.

Here’s something to look at that can have a big impact on your achievement of true success, going forward.

Let Your Discomfort Guide You, Appropriately

Quite often, traditional success is driven by fear of failure, a need to prove something, or a mind that tells you that when you [insert your favorite achievement oriented goal], then you will be able to be happy.
Unfortunately, what most often happens with success driven from this place, is you’ll hit the goal, but still not be happy.

Or you’ll be happy for a few minutes, and then it’s on to the next goal. Always chasing, never satisfied.

Typically, that’s happening because your relationship to discomfort is out of whack.

You are trying to solve for your discomfort with achievement, when really what your discomfort is asking for is self-care.

And, if you don’t listen to the request properly because you were never taught what self-care looks like, or because you don’t know how to listen to the part of you that’s uncomfortable, you will keep feeding the discomfort the wrong kind of nourishment.

Recognize What Your Mind is Telling You

In order to get into right relationship with your discomfort, you first need to notice that your mind is driving all of this.

It is using discomfort to speak to you.

But only because it’s the only way it knows to get your attention. Like a small child that keeps trying to get your attention, until it needs to use the most atrocious negative behaviors to do so, your mind will keep trying to tell you what it wants.

And, it’s way of doing so will get louder and louder, and uglier and uglier, until one day, it may make you very sick, just so you finally hear it.

Ideally, you can see it far before that point (like right now) and make the life changes it’s asking for, not by achieving more, but by caring for yourself more.

Embrace Discomfort

Entrepreneurs make tough decisions every day. They also have tough conversations. Whether it’s discussing an employee’s performance or a recent hiccup in operations, approach uncomfortable situations with a well-thought out plan, specific suggestions for improvement, and confidence.

Along those same lines, put preventative measures in place—like drafting better legal contracts—to mitigate uncomfortable situations.

Set Boundaries

Driven entrepreneurs often hire like-minded people who are passionate about work and motivated to do whatever it takes to succeed. They work hard and get results! But it’s just as important to set healthy boundaries, especially with a team of dedicated professionals. It’s vital that you model excellent self care by taking good care of yourself and encouraging your team to do the same.  Work hard and don’t lose sight of the importance of your own mental health and well-being.

Take Care of Yourself

As a business owner, your bandwidth is not unlimited. Running a business is a mentally draining endeavor. When you suffer, your business suffers.

Put systems in place to ensure legal and financial issues are taken care of before they stress you out. This can include proper tax planning and auditing your insurance policies to ensure your business is well protected. Minimizing problems can free up your mental energy so you can actually enjoy the excitement and freedom of entrepreneurship.

Train with the Experts

Looking after your mental health and well-being is no easy task. Seek out the help of experts in  developing excellent techniques for relaxation and reducing anxiety, such as meditation and mindfulness training.

Don’t let self care take a back seat while building a successful business.  If you’re ready to expand the value of your business by implementing systems that ensure your mental health is at the top of the list, start by sitting down with a Business Lawyer. As your Business Lawyer, we can guide you in making the difficult decisions you face every day as a leader in business, including how to preserve your well-being as an entrepreneur. We can look out for your business’s future, so you have time and energy to focus on growth and expansion.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

Promoting Your Business on Social Media? Here’s How to Protect Your Reputation Online

Social media as a marketing tool can be a blessing and a curse when it comes to building your business reputation. Friends, followers, and likes on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram can help your business gain raving fans with a tap or a click. Not only can you easily gauge the public’s response to your company (for better or worse), the immediate nature of these digital tools allow you to instantly make reparative efforts if a customer’s complaint paints you in a bad light.

Along with the benefits of social media come considerable drawbacks. A few vocal, unhappy customers can start trends you’d rather avoid. And as Warren Buffet has so wisely declared, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” The best way to protect your business reputation is to put systems in place to prevent major mishaps and allow you to quickly and authentically respond to and mitigate any social media crisis.

Listen

Social media is the perfect venue to listen to your customers so you can better respond to their needs. Listen to what people are saying, and be proactive in your responses. Encourage satisfied customers to post reviews and submit testimonials so that you have proof of a positive track record to weigh out any negative reviews that come in. And they will come in! One or two bad reviews won’t bother prospects when there are 75 glowing ones to balance them out. Be sure to read and respond to feedback in any form – positive or negative – so that your customers know you are listening.

Respond Appropriately

Not every company has the resources to respond on social media in real time. Just make sure you set reasonable expectations for responses (e.g. 24-48 hours), and make sure you post that promised response time.

Also, be thoughtful when responding. Showing your customers you care by responding thoughtfully to complaints can prevent crises from occurring. Better yet, leverage the impact of a negative review by using it as a means for demonstrating your ability to take in feedback and apply appropriate solutions. If you don’t feel the feedback accurately reflects the “true story,” use it as an opportunity to clarify details and explain your side of the story. You may not win one unhappy customer back, but you can use your responses to negative reviews as an opportunity to show prospects your ability to reason things out and find solutions.

 Be Transparent

Transparency isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a necessity. Be honest, upfront, and don’t try to hide legitimate customer concerns. Honestly truly is the best policy and will help you win loyal customers over the long haul.

Be Social Media Savvy

This entails more than just crafting the perfect tweet. Have a crisis plan in place for sticky situations. Set clear moderation guidelines so taking down violating posts doesn’t look suspicious. Consider hiring an experienced social media manager to handle your accounts, and restrict access to those accounts.

Keep Your Cool

You can’t please everyone all the time. The best thing you can do is to be prepared to handle sticky social media situations with grace, honesty, and transparency anytime they arise.

If you’re ready to take that step toward protecting the online reputation of your business, begin by sitting down with a Business Lawyer. We’re here to help you implement legal, insurance, financial, and tax systems that will prevent major mishaps so you can focus on the positive aspects of business ownership.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

Ten Common Money Pits Even Brilliant Entrepreneurs Fall Into

If you’re relying on your top line to grow your wealth, you could be missing out on easy opportunities to save money and improve profits, independent of your revenue.

Many entrepreneurs waste precious time and money by falling prey to these common mistakes. However, there is no need to sacrifice, work harder, or take on new financial risks when they can be easily avoided.

  1. Not Monitoring Your Credit Score

Discrepancies in your credit score can cost you thousands in interest rates and premiums. Monitor your credit report every six months for accuracy.

  1. Scrimping on Productive Expenses

Differentiate between wasteful consumption expenses and rainmaking expenses that can pay big returns—you can’t afford to scrimp on those.

  1. Relying on Investment Advisors

Commissioned advisors want to keep your assets under their control. Stay conscious of this bias. And, consider having us, as your objective trusted advisor who is not paid a commission, review all investments before you make them.

  1. Reactive Tax Planning

During tax season, your accountant’s focus is on filing returns, not strategizing. Meet off-season at least once to prepare a proactive—not reactive—tax strategy. And always get projections before the end of the year so you can strategize end of year tax decisions.

  1. Using the Wrong Business Structure

Review your business structure with an attorney every three years to ensure your structure is still advantageous.

  1. Monthly Payments on Multiple Loans

Refinancing or restructuring your loans could save interest and potentially even taxes. Pay off your least efficient loan first, and you could qualify for lower interest rates on the rest.

  1. Blind Investing

Invest in what you know. You—not a commissioned advisor—know what’s best for your business. And that requires you to be tracking your financials at least monthly, and likely weekly, to be making wise choices consistently.

  1. Sharing Profits

Profit sharing with employees solely for tax purposes is like giving the IRS control of your money. Don’t spend money to save money. But, do invest money to create more of what you want. So consider profit sharing to motivate long-term growth and legacy of your business.

  1. Funding 401(k)s

Your contributions are tax-deferred, but you have to pay those taxes at some point. Because taxes are expected to go up, you’ll end up paying more to the IRS.

  1. Losing Passion

Losing the passion you have for your business means lost productivity—easy to do when you’re bogged down with daily details and decisions. Take the time to be proactive about your legal, insurance, financial, and tax planning so you can fuel the passion that brought you to this business in the first place.

If you’re ready to be proactive about the financial success of your business, begin by sitting down with us. As your Business Lawyer, we are here to help you implement legal, insurance, financial, and tax systems that will free up your time and money, so you can focus on what matters.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Estate and Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, insurance, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today at 832.408.0505 to schedule.

Writing Off Start-Up Costs

One of the biggest benefits of owning your own business is being able to write off certain expenses to lower your annual income tax liability. When done right, writing off business expenses, especially when they are investments in things or experiences you would invest in even if you did not have your business, is a lot like having the government subsidize the things you want to do in the world.

If you are starting a business, the good news is you can typically write off costs for starting, launching, and organizing your business. But you may face certain restrictions, and you need to know how to write off those expenses in a way that will benefit your business. To learn more, let’s take a look at the most common startup expenses businesses may write off for tax purposes.

Starting Expenses

You can write off many research expenses incurred when starting a business. Surveys, feasibility studies, market research, and similar costs are valid startup write-offs.

Launch Expenses

Many costs incurred while executing your business launch—like recruitment and training costs—can be deducted. Conversely, equipment purchases cannot be deducted because they’re subject to rules for deducting depreciation.

Organization Expenses

You can also write off the costs for creating your business entity. These typically include legal fees, accounting fees, and expenses for organizational meetings.

Now that you have a better idea of the type of startup expenses you can write off let’s go over how those expenses should be deducted.

The IRS puts a cap on first-year startup deductions at $5,000 and an additional $5,000 for organizational costs. But, if your startup expenses exceed $50,000, that first-year deduction cap will be reduced by the costs that exceed $50,000. Thus, if your startup expenses equal $54,000, your first-year deduction is reduced to $1,000. You would then lose the deduction entirely once your startup expenses exceed $55,000. In your second year, the rest of your expenses can be amortized and deducted in equal installments over 15 years.

If your business never gets off the ground and running, your startup costs could be considered personal costs and therefore non-deductible. In certain cases, however, these costs could be regarded as capital losses, so always consult with a tax advisor to ensure you are taking advantage of every tax break available to you.

As you can see, there are some big risks when it comes to identifying and allocating your expenses properly to maximize your deductions and minimize your tax liability. The decisions you need to make are important and shouldn’t be executed without first consulting with a trusted advisor, such as a Creative Business lawyer®. If you need tax help for your startup, start by sitting down with us. As your Creative Business Lawyer® we are experienced in helping startups achieve success through careful financial and legal planning. We will guide you to  establish sound legal, insurance, financial, and tax systems for your business so you can focus on increasing revenue and enjoy the benefits entrepreneurship.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today to schedule.

Mentorship Matters: How to Learn From Leadership

Mentoring can play a significant role in the success of any entrepreneur. Mentoring takes vision, dedication, and respect, all vital attributes for a mentor to attain in order to contribute positively to the growth of a mentee.  Let’s look at a few things you can do to mentor up and coming entrepreneurs and how these traits can help both parties climb to the top.

Envision a Positive Future

Everyone has to start somewhere. Today’s server could be tomorrow’s CEO. This familiar narrative is just as applicable to today’s CEO. To encourage the next generation of business leaders, it helps to know how to achieve your own career goals. Mentees benefit when people with experience encourage them to keep their eyes on the prize, and mentors benefit by reaffirming the principle that envisioning a positive future—and working toward that future—is the key to success.

Seek Experiential Learning

Envisioning a more successful future isn’t enough to bring that vision into reality, which is why job shadowing is so important. Experiencing that future in the present is the very best way to plan for it. And this is precisely what mentees need: to experience the future career they want now.

Some may have a change of heart after job shadowing a mentor, but it’s all part of working toward a future in real time that is right for them. Mentors can learn from this experience, too. By dedicating your time to giving mentees positive experiences, you’ll learn a great deal about the experience needed to achieve your own goals.

Successful business leaders seek out opportunities to learn and advance in their careers. Even if you are quite far down the path in your own career, consider using mentorship as a way to consciously get in touch with your own ambitions and take positive steps toward attaining them. Find those who have experienced the success you desire. Take some classes to refresh or sharpen your skills. No matter where you are in your career, gaining experience should always be a top priority.

Lead with Respect

Helping mentees envision and experience successful futures can help them decide where they want their career to go and how to get there. As a mentor, consider taking it one step further and treat your mentees like the future business leaders they are. Having someone in your chosen career field encourage you and believe in your future is indispensable in achieving your goals.

Having respect for young businessmen and women—and ourselves—is instrumental in professional advancement. When you have respect for others, you tend to give yourself more respect, and for a good cause, too. This is not just sound business advice, but this is a life lesson! A business leader who dedicates time to mentoring those early in their careers makes a positive impact on their industry. That, in turn, makes them a more valuable member of the business community, a necessary component to career advancement.

The key to achieving your career goals is always to keep growing and striving. But part of that process is knowing how to protect your interests to safeguard your future. If you are ready to take that step toward protecting the future you are working so hard for, begin by sitting down with us.

As your Business Attorney we are here to help you face the many challenges of owning and growing a business. We are experienced in helping entrepreneurs put protective measures in place to ensure their time can be spent on growth and giving back to the business community instead of putting out fires and fixing problems. If you want to safeguard your future, we can help you implement a robust legal, insurance, financial and tax system that protect your interests while you help others—and yourself—envision and work toward a more positive future.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Business Attorney. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today to schedule.