282) BEI Annual Conference – Bob Zarlengo and Zarlengo Raub

Bob Zarlengo and Zarlengo Raub

Bob: “Well, basically the conference is for exit planners. And what I talked about was how to cement yourself into exit planning for the family-owned business. Okay, so we talked about that. I started off and I spent a little bit of time telling them what a big segment that was in our economy. When I started doing the research on it, it even surprised me. 35% of the Fortune 500 companies are family-owned businesses. And I think the numbers are actually higher than that because I think there’s family-owned businesses out there that say, “I’m not telling you anything about my shop.” And so, there’s some of those out there – it might even be closer to 40%. Family-owned businesses have been responsible for over 70% of the increase in jobs over the last two years. So it’s just a real big segment.

I told them that when they start to do – first of all, I challenged them, I said, “Are you sure you want to do this?” Putting my family on top of the list, I haven’t met a family yet that’s not dysfunctional. And so when you get into it, you’re going to be dealing with as much emotional and psychological issues as your economic and business issues.

And so, if you want to get into it, this is one of the things you should do is start telling people what you do. Start getting testimonials from those family businesses that you are working with. Why did they hire you? Why did you choose me to do your exit planning? What are you getting out of it? What benefits and stuff. What do I bring to the table?

I told them that they have to be cautious to make sure that they don’t come into the equation being on one side or the other. They have to tow the rows so that the second generation is just as anxious to talk to them as the founding generation.

So those are some of the things I did, I said talk to whoever you can about it and tell them you’re doing that. I told them to check with their local university to see if they had any family business institute, as a lot of them do. And go to those and just tell them who you are. You have to be a kind of a passive salesman at those because normally you’d get a slap in the flesh, but for the most part, no, I thought it was pretty good. I’ve had a lot of comments from people coming up and thanking me.

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