Press & Articles

Platinum Group’s Press & Articles section features articles written by Platinum's partners and members, as well as others we have found to be particularly resourceful. Many of the articles by team members have been featured in such reputable publications as Upsize Minnesota and various business journals. Please be sure to for our newsletter to receive these resources straight to your inbox on a monthly basis.

It's not an uncommon event for family members in family businesses to sue each other. Yet the outcome will test each person’s choice between justice and forgiveness, and the family and its business will, most likely, never be the same. Forgiveness...
How does a first-generation owner step back in when the business transition to the next generation is negatively impacting the entire family? After 35 years of growing his business from $0 to $80 million, a first-generation owner-founder (we’ll call...
Some families have highly enmeshed relationships between their family and their business: membership and status in the family is connected to how well one works and supports the family business. Gaining status in the family means gaining status in...
“Did Joe record the last inventory shipment right?” asked Tim, one of the two owners of a $2 million business, along with his wife, Diane. He continued, “You know, sometimes, he misses entering all the inventory items correctly...
“Old school” is how Jeff, the consultant, described Mike’s values — hard work, thrift, persistence and so forth. Greg, Mike’s son, would beg to differ. Mike can be ruthless with his words. While his staff of 40 respects...
In a 2007 article published in the New York Times, author Nora Klaver of May Day! Asking for Help in Times of Need says that asking for help “makes business sense.” Yet, it is rare that small-business owners — especially family...
In a multi-generational family business, outside board members can bring tremendous value and help relatives shape their business strategy. As a consultant to business families, I’m often asked, “Do you really need a board of directors?...
“Sure” is the simple, quick answer. “It’s time. I’ve earned a break. I want to retire. There are good times ahead.” Then reality often emerges — not yet. As a business owner or leader, you are wired to get...
Owner beware: When your successor — who is also a family member — is currently working in the business, it is critical to set boundaries around line authority, information sharing and decision making. Without proper governance, confusion...
“Contrary to what Hollywood often presents in reality shows, anger is not a leadership skill,” wrote Platinum’s Bill English in a recent Business Journal article.  “Yelling at people, demeaning them, using nasty language...
Solve Day-to-Day Business Challenges by Gaining New Best Practice Insights Click here to find session details, speakers and registration Who: Business owners, executives and managers of small- to medium-sized Minnesota businesses What: A “one-...
It is inevitable that leaders who are internally conflicted about a situation in which they have some control and influence will give conflicting messages and directives to those around them. For example, a business owner might want to sell off a...
Stress and conflict may be the only way to get to the truth about what another person really values. This is a universal truth that is highly applicable when a small, family-owned business finds itself in a crisis. Here’s a common red flag: When...
Want to feel better about the transition you’re making? To move on to the next stage of life, it’s critical for owners to gain a strong sense of closing one door and opening another, writes Platinum’s Jim Gambone in a recent online article for...
There’s a lot to think about as you consider your options for a new career. Here are six possible paths you could take. The best adventures hold a challenge with a reward in the future. So it is with a successful business owner crossing the...
Men and women can learn from each other in business transitions, making the process less scary and more productive. According to the Bank of America’s 2014 Small Business Owner Report, there were some interesting differences reported between female...
The earlier that owners start down the path toward change, the smarter they can be in making the transition for themselves and others. Unexpected business transition realities may be unavoidable, even for the most controlling entrepreneurs and...
It's essential for owners to "re-fire " their lives, rather than planning to retire them, and consider meaningful purposes outside of work long before thinking about business transition. As a business owner begins thinking about transition, it's...
When you're transitioning out of the business, undoing your exit plan with a boomerang return can have major consequences for the company. Here's a New Year's resolution that is sound advice all year long: Once you begin an important task, keep...
Many boomers are ready to transition to the next phase of their personal and professional lives. Here are three questions that can jumpstart the process. As the owner of a business in transition, you usually don't think first about the values you...

Upsize Magazine

Imagine you are a 62-year-old successful business owner — the busy entrepreneur who just doesn't pay much time or attention to eventually transitioning out of the business. Things are going well. There's no urgency to think about what to do next....
Even before a business owner is actively thinking about transition issues like success and retirement, fatigue and uncertainty can creep in when considering what to do next in life. That's when it can be helpful for the owner to take a sabbatical...
Business owners beware: The do-it-yourself approach to business transition has only a 30 percent probability of success, according to research presented in the book, "Preparing Heirs: Five Steps for a Successful Transition of Family Wealth and...
The reason people blame things on previous generations is that there's only one other choice!—Doug Larson. For millions of older business owners, the next major event in their lives will be selling or passing on the companies they have founded and...

SWNewsMedia.com

There has been a lot of talk in the past several years about what to do regarding Baby Boomers. Will Social Security be sound, in order to help provide for their retirement? Will health care delivery systems be able to meet the growing demand for...
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (August 19, 2014) — Baby boomer owners pondering how to exit their businesses can learn from other owners' transition stories in a new book authored by Steve Coleman and Jim Gambone, members of Platinum Group, a Minneapolis-based...

Upsize Magazine

Owners often struggle when it comes to accountability with their sales staff. They watch their reps leave the office for a meeting and, eventually, a purchase order comes in. What happens in between are sales activities that owners may never see—...
And it's more vigorous than outsiders might think. For a while, it looked as though Duluth IT company 50 Below might end up 6 feet under. One of the Northland's largest information technology firms, with around 240 employees, filed for bankruptcy...

Family Business

Our succession process began without a formal plan. I eventually realized that the do-it-yourself approach had lost traction on both the business and family fronts. Was it too late to create a proactive succession plan? I often refer to myself as...
HAVING FLASHBACKS about your son, daughter or other family members that are impairing your ability to move forward with a succession plan? "Junior" may be 40 years old but "Senior" remembers the dopey thing he did at age 14; he’s been working in the...
“How is my company performing and what, if anything, should I be doing to keep on track? That’s a common question owners should ask themselves daily, writes Pat Brennan at Platinum Group, a Twin Cities turnaround management firm. Just like going on...
Capitalism is getting a bad rap these days. The likes of Bernie Madoff, Tom Petters and many others have given it a bad name. People have legitimate gripes about it. Many have been taken advantage of — abused of their home values, stock...
What does a son, daughter, cousin or in-law think about the business owned by a family member? Platinum Partner Steve Coleman answers this question and more in the February/March issue of Upsize Minnesota. As Steve wrote, “Whether or not they are...
Platinum Group was honored as a recipient of the 12th annual Minnesota Business Ethics Award (MBEA) on May 18, 2011. The MBEA recognizes Minnesota businesses that have exemplified and promoted ethical conduct for the benefit of the workplace,...
The time between getting notice of losing accounts and their impact on your profit and loss statement can vary. Corporate edicts could take months and even years to implement. Other scenarios may be more brutal when a major customer makes an...
In three examples, Hehre presents the case for simplifying financial information. Over time some traditional accounting systems have become more complicated in well-intentioned attempts to improve the accuracy and clarity of information. At best,...
Many business owners are singing the blues right now because they didn’t sell their businesses a couple years ago for a high valuation. Now that times are tougher, owners can’t get their price — and many Baby Boomers are unable to retire as planned...
There’s more clarity and freedom when a person can look at the future phase of life by planning ahead. What business owners need now more than ever is a vision for the future of the best paths for both themselves and their businesses.
Tom presents three pricing-management strategies that "need to be managed every single day in today's economy. The world of stable prices has come to an end, at least for now, which may require new skills and greater vigilance on the part of both...
"Getting stuck" happens to the best of entrepreneurs. Whether they are the biggest employer in a small town or a family business in a big city, they often find themselves in critical transitions such as losing customers, market share, money or the...
Enhanced forecasting can help firms take action before exhausting their cash Ever feel on the brink of cash flow exhaustion? You know the signs: an abrupt change in the marketplace, a failed ownership transition, mismanagement or simply the failure...
Changes in ownership can ignite trouble when lenders shift from having a reasonable debt coverage ratio to financing the same company that is highly leveraged. That was the case of a 15-year-old industrial coatings firm where the senior secured...
Five “red flags” to watch to keep cycle times fast With the threat of foreign competition, many senior factory managers are wondering “Is it possible to stay competitive and still offer a product at a fair price in the United States?” The ability to...
Here’s how to implement informal plans of reorganization and avoid Chapter 11 or liquidation. Four years ago, a $23 million manufacturer of electronic circuit boards was seriously considering selling the company at a discounted price after its...

Star Tribune

At a time when U.S. business tends to focus no further than the next quarterly returns, some executives are trying something new to plan further ahead. They've decided to disappear for a while. Business leaders are taking sabbaticals ranging from...
After 30 years of working in the family business, Jack MacBean felt it might be time to let his son run the company.
“No two journeys are the same,” said Steve Coleman, a consultant with the Platinum Group of Eden Prairie, which hosted a breakfast meeting on “Transition Options for Business Owners.”
A true tale of a company owner who took a sabbatical from his small business—and came back to an improved business.
When a company is floundering or succession is an issue, tough decisions are multiplied if there's more than one owner. Challenges are compounded in family-owned businesses. There are no "one size fits all" solutions for overcoming ownership...
NO ACCOUNTABILITY. No time schedules. No decision overloads. No multitasking. Everything was turned off when I took a four-month sabbatical from my job as president and one of four owners of a financial services firm, Askar Corp. The stress of...

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