Voted #6 on Top 100 Family Business Influencers, most influential expert on Wealth, Legacy, Finance and Investments: Jacoline Loewen LinkedIn Profile

June 22, 2018

The next gen of technology is here - Blockchain and Transportation

Transcore Conference with Jacoline Loewen, Blockchain
I am honoured to speak about Blockchain at the Transcore Conference - a great event designed for Carrier, Loaders and users of LoadLink.

Join us on July 16th.

Plus prizes to win!

4 steps for business owners to minimize personal financial risk

"My riskeist investment was into my business," says John Rothschild, CARA Operations Ltd. Read the full article here:
The following article is a summary of a conversation with Mr. Rothschild, CARA Operations, Ltd., speaking with David Simpson, Ivey Business School, at the UBS Speakers Series, 2018. We were honoured to have John share his journey from entrepreneur to managing wealth. 
Phaby Utomo, John Rothschild, David Simpson, Jacoline Loewen,

First published in The Globe and Mail, written by Jacoline Loewen.

Business owners are challenged to make decisions every day, and it is essential for them to know their risk tolerance.
“My riskiest investment was the ownership in my business,” says John Rothschild, senior vice-president of CARA Operations  and former Chairman and CEO of Prime Restaurants.
Mr. Rothschild knows about risk. When the opportunity emerged to buy Prime, a family owned business in which he served as an investment manager, he decided to take on the challenge despite the unhealthy balance sheet. His friends were aghast. He had a very comfortable life and he was in a strong financial position and they questioned his decision to risk buying a questionable business. Mr. Rothschild personally guaranteed all the loans required to make the acquisition.
He offered these four ideas on how business owners can minimize their personal financial risk:

1. Plan succession early.

You’ve seen the statistics: more than two-thirds of business owners over 60 years of age don’t have an exit plan. They want to sell their businesses, but fewer than 15 per cent are able to pass them along to a family member.
After Mr. Rothschild made the transition to business owner, he had to figure out how to take money out of the company.
“I knew that passing the family business to the next generation was not in the plans and that I had to monetize the business in a different way,” he says. “We did an income trust in 2002, where shares are held by outsiders. I had bought my business with borrowed money and personal guarantees. The income trust allowed me to pay off loans and personal guarantees, and there was some money left over. Also, I still got to keep my role.”

2. When opportunities come along, be ready to take them.

Mr. Rothschild says income trusts “were a great opportunity and only came by once.” Then he was faced with another opportunity when Fairfax Financial came shopping for restaurant companies. Fairfax is a blue-chip Canadian investment firm modelled after Berkshire Hathaway, founded by Warren Buffett, where the investment company buys businesses and holds them for a long time. Fairfax offered to buy the public part of Prime Restaurants and Mr. Rothschild was invited to stay on and grow the business.
“It was a defining moment when Fairfax then invested in Cara and merged Prime into it. Prime could have stayed an independent business, but the opportunity to scale up and turn something around was tremendous. You can’t pick your exit, or the moments when these opportunities come along, necessarily. You can just say yes or no. I saw this as the opportunity to make restaurant history. We are now the third largest in Canada.”
A business owner needs to plan for the company to be ready for monetizing at any stage, Mr. Rothschild explains. He pointed out that being ready is critical. For example, tax planning in advance is essential. When the opportunity arrives, that is a bad time to be starting your tax planning.

3. Know yourself and plug the gaps.

Mr. Rothschild recognized his strengths and he was honest about his gaps. “I don’t cook, but at Prime, I get to do what I love to do every day. I would tell people not to be afraid to go into an industry where you are not the core expert. It’s about running a business.”
Going from investor to business owner and operator meant that he needed to understand how to build customer loyalty.
When asked the key to success, Mr. Rothschild says: “It’s about the people surrounding me. My team is wonderful. I also had a five-person board for Prime Restaurants and the majority were outsiders who would challenge me, otherwise I would just be talking to myself. I can't make great deals by myself. I’m a numbers guy so I plug the gaps with people who have talents beyond my own.”

4. Take money off the table.

Keeping all your eggs in the one basket is risky. Business owners have the majority of their wealth invested in their own business.
The idea of having more wealth invested in what the business owners know best leads them to concentrate their wealth back into their company. This leads to concentration risk. This specific risk is the type of uncertainty that comes with the company or industry they are invested in. In the case of business owners, this is quite high.
The risk can be reduced through diversification, such as taking exposures across other industries. That is where a wealth manager becomes important.
It’s possible to diversify the long-term wealth preservation for your family by taking some money out of the business in a disciplined, mechanical way. By keeping money aside, Mr. Rothschild could handle the risks in the business, but have peace of mind by setting aside a nest egg for the family.
“I recognized that my highest risk was the business,” Mr. Rothschild says. “You do need to reinvest in the business. You do have to put money in the business or it will die. You have to manage that business on a daily basis.
"But it’s also essential to take money for your personal portfolio. I don’t have the time to manage my personal money. I choose people who I trust and they do it well. I made the effort to balance personal wealth and operating company investment. I stayed within my lifestyle, and shared the gains with those around me.”
During the conversation, Mr. Rothschild’s humble, quiet style of leadership stands out, as well as his deep concern and interest in his employees. But as an accountant, he also understands the financial factors driving the restaurant business. 
“My friends thought I was crazy, as I did take on personal debt at a time when I was set up with my home and family and my career was stable."
"Buying a business was seen as financially risky but it has been an adventure worth living.”

Published in "The Globe and Mail," August 12, 2014. 

Jacoline Loewen is the director of business development of UBS Bank (Canada). She has over 25 years of experience in finance for high-achieving entrepreneurs and family businesses. She specializes in the transition from business to sudden wealth from sale of a business and the impact on the Founder, their family, inter-generational wealth transfer and philanthropy. Prior to joining UBS Bank, Ms. Loewen specialized in finance, specifically sales and acquisitions, successions and private equity financing.

Ms. Loewen has authored numerous best-seller books such as, Money Magnet: How to Attract Investors to Your Business, Business e-Volution and The Power of Strategy. She is a guest columnist to the Globe & Mail and contributor to the National Post, Thomson Reuter, Profit and was a regular panellist on BNN: The Pitch. In 2018, Ms. Loewen was awarded #1 Forecast for Markets and Stocks by The Ticker Club Annual Forecast. She is ranked # 6 in the Top 100 Family Business Influencers on social media and awarded Top 50 Board Diversity.  She is on a director on the Toronto Atmospheric Fund board and investment committee, Chair of the OCAD University business catalyst advisory board, as well as  former  director  on  the  Private  Capital  Market  Association   board.
You can follow her on Twitter @jacolineloewen Contact: 416-662-1930 or

June 8, 2018

Financial performance of family-owned companies is superior

Usually family and business blends are developed in countries where there is low trust. As Western countries have law and order to ensure corporations work well, family businesses are less in demand. Those that do work and get passed to the next generation properly, tend to do exceptionally well.

The de Gaspe Beaubien family is a great example where the next Gen. were able to influence the sale of the original business that made the wealth. Now the next Gen. is re-inventing the family business to the next level.

Here are a few excerpts from a Globe article talking about some of the questions to ask to achieve a strong and positive family business:

While there’s an old adage that says never go into business with family (or friends), experts say the corporate pairing of relatives can be powerful, if properly handled. A recent report of 1,000 family-owned firms worldwide​​, including some in Canada, showed the financial performance of family-owned companies is superior to that of non-family-owned businesses. Family-owned companies generated a cumulative return of 126 per cent since the start of 2006. Revenue and earning growth (measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA) was stronger, EBITDA margins were higher and cash flow returns are better, the report said, adding that family-owned businesses have a “longer-term and conservative focus.”
A well-known example many experts point to is consumer products conglomerate SC Johnson, now being run by the fifth-generation of the Johnson family. It even uses the slogan “A Family Company,” to help boost its brand.
“When an entrepreneurial family gets together to work on something, they care so much more than someone who doesn’t have their name on the building or doesn’t have a stake in the community. To me, that’s a recipe for building a great business,” says David Simpson, head of the Business Families Centre at Western University’s Ivey School of Business. “However, when it goes poorly, it goes poorly doubled down because you’re losing your brother or sister or cousin.”
“There’s an intrinsic conflict that comes with family businesses,” says Mark Barnicutt, co-founder and CEO of HighView Financial Group, which works with high-net-worth families, many of whom are entrepreneurs with their own companies.
“Emotional issues easily come to the surface,” he says. The most successful family businesses recognize that could happen and put in place the proper governance, including family roles and responsibilities, to cover what happens when conflicts arise. “A business isn’t a family and a family isn’t a business. You really need to separate the two,” Mr. Barnicutt says.
Family members in business together should also outline what happens if one person wants out, or there’s a disagreement in direction, Mr. Simpson says.
“It’s unromantic … but a business is an organism that lives, dies and changes,” he says. “Businesses aren’t worth blowing up a family for. A business is just an instrument of economic gain … If you go the nuclear option of suing each other, you’ve hurt both the family and the business.”
Mr. Simpson once ran a business with his younger brother, Craig Simpson, a former National Hockey League player who is now a broadcaster with Hockey Night in Canada. The business relationship ended after his brother retired from hockey and focused more on the company. “We found out that our formerly passive, equal partnership didn’t work as active partners,” Mr. Simpson says. “We didn’t share the same vision, risk tolerance and personal objectives and our general assumption that siblings are of course similar, was surprisingly inaccurate. We were better brothers than business partners.”
Most often, it’s money and corporate strategy – including how various family members are compensated and disagreement over the direction of the company – that lead to family business feuds, says Jane-Michèle Clark, an instructor who teaches the family enterprise course in the entrepreneurship program at York University’s Schulich School of Business.
Ms. Clark recommends business families hold strategy sessions that cover topics such as their family values, how they want the business to work for them and vision for the company.
“When you start by reaffirming the family values and relationship, then get clear about each person’s expectations about what they want the family business to do for them, and then move on to the vision, the conversation takes on a whole different tone,” she says. And while she recommends family businesses bring in a family council or an advisory board “to act as both a resource and a buffer,” few do, believing it’s not necessary or conflict won’t happen in their case.

June 3, 2018

3 Questions to ask to check your portfolio

The only limit to making impact is your imagination and your commitment. This is why I am proud to being part of a team dedicated to adding more value to investors and their families.

This past month has been interesting, in my role as business development for my team of financial advisers. I have heard the same three questions from prospective clients.

To see if you also share these, I thought I would give a quick answer to these important questions to ask in regards to managing your money:

1. How will you react in a coming correction? 

Most people will tell you they are cool under pressure, yet during a correction in the market, the truth is that many will panic and do the worst thing – sell at the wrong time. Selling is exactly what you should not do and this fear over common market occurrences is probably the number one reason you should partner with an expert to manage your wealth. They protect you from your own psychology.  The past years have been smooth sailing where most could have made money but what about when the correction arrives - and it will arrive. Talk to your adviser about an upcoming correction and how are you protected from the downside.

2.Are you overpaying for performance? 

It is no longer about the fees. In fact, it is about the economics. Do you understand the business model of a broker versus the Financial Adviser being rewarded to advise you to achieve your goals? What would you do if you had your doctor prescribing treatments where he got a kick back from the drug company? That is the broker model, which I believe is flawed, and people are realizing the economics are set up to reward the house, not the client. Ask your adviser for the economics of your portfolio. Are they able to source investments outside of their institution? How are they paid? Ask if they earn an additional fee when you accept their recommendation.

Does your adviser have conflicts of interest? 

Again, the broker model is set up to reward the broker, not you, the investor. If your financial adviser is pressuring you to trade often and to buy their own products, rather than offer an open-house architecture, your long term financial outcome will be compromised. Is your broker stuck selling you their in-house products or do they have a global diversification and product diversification capability at minimal cost?

Visit Amazon Author page for Jacoline Loewen. Click here.

Money Magnet, by Jacoline Loewen

May 27, 2018

Is it better for company boards to have at least one director educated in board governance?

It is an honour to be part of the Rotman graduating class for the Directors Education Program, 2018.
The experience was top quality and I come away from the intense experience knowing a great deal more than when I started, despite having served on many boards.

The Rotman DEP assembled a great class of individuals and I valued the group work done with each of these terrific people. Rotman puts together a professional post in the newspaper to celebrate all the hard work, along with the message below.

ICD - D Rotman Graduating Class - Jacoline Loewen
"Congratulations, You have completed the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program (DEP), and are a part of the 72nd DEP, Toronto. "

"To recognize your achievement, the ICD ran a full page graduation advertisement in The Globe & Mail today. For your convenience, the ad has also been posted on the ICD website, available here"

The time invested in this program run by top academics and practitioners does yield much worth. I believe it will benefit the Canadian economy as the expertise flows through to publicly traded corporations, in particular.

Too many of these boards are appointed by the CEO or Founder which makes them far too docile. Many directors believe their prime role is governance and do not contribute towards the strategy.

Also, many directors believe their allegiance is to the person who hired them to the board, too often the CEO or Founder. Hopefully, Canadian companies will benefit from all this terrific business acumen.

May 20, 2018

Two steps to reduce complexity in performing a valuation

I was listening to Tom Deans, writer or Every Families Business and a good friend of mine, talk about how Founders of businesses transition from business owner to sale of business - to an outside buyer or to their family. One of the best practices recommended by Tom is to get a realistic valuation of the business. Tom recommends to do this years before any form of sale or succession.

To get a realistic understanding of the value of the business, here is an overview of how to get a rough estimate that you can do yourself:

While firstly, revenue and secondly, profit are obviously two key factors in determining your company’s worth, assessing them in a vacuum simply won’t result in an accurate valuation. Even the additional details you provide regarding the number of customers you served during the previous two years simply don’t amount to sufficient data to perform a reliable valuation.
What you have to remember is that any investor, regardless of the reason for the interest in your company, will not be satisfied with a “ballpark” estimate of your value. They will delve deep into every aspect of your business when performing their due diligence in this regard and so should you.
To give you an idea of the complexity involved in performing a valuation, allow me to describe the process:.
Firstly, we will establish the company’s Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) or Seller Discretionary Earnings (SDE).
EBITDA is used mostly for companies valued at over $5M and is calculated by adding interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization back to your net income.
For companies valued at under $5M, Seller Discretionary Earnings (SDE) is typically used. SDE is the profit left to the business owner after the costs of all goods sold as well as critical operating expenses have been subtracted from gross income. Importantly, the owner’s salary can also be added back to the profit to reflect the true earnings power of the business.
SDE can be calculated using the following formula:
2) The Multiple Applied
The second step of the valuation process is to calculate the multiple that is applied to the EBITDA or SDE figure.
There can be between 80 and 100 data points into consideration when conducting this comprehensive investigation. Here is a small extract from the checklist of factors that we delve into:
  • What level of threat does established competitors pose?
  • Are there any expansion options available within the company’s niche?
  • Is the niche evergreen?
  • What level of technical know-how is required to manage the business?
  • How are current staff members and contractors managed?
  • What standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place?
  • How has the gross and net income been trending for the past 1 - 3 years?
  • How stable is the company’s earning power?
  • Are there any anomalies in the business’ financial history and can they be explained?
Customer base
  • What is the customer churn rate and lifetime value?
  • How much does it cost to acquire a new customer?
  • Why is the business losing customers?
  • Are current referral programs effective and sustainable?
  • How effective and secure are current search engine rankings?
  • Has the site been affected by any Google algorithm changes or manual penalties?
  • Are there any specific locational responsibilities or physical assets with the business?
  • Are there any licensing requirements in order to run the business?
  • Is the company’s intellectual property (IP) protected?
This investigation and research process leads us to an eventual multiple figure that we apply to the EBITDA or SDE value to establish your company’s value.
Typically, this falls between the 2.5x to 4.0x range, although there are exceptions to both sides of this spectrum.
Investigating these factors is dependent not only on a significant amount of experience in the M&A industry, but also on having the time and capacity to perform all the necessary research.
You can get more information on the valuation process by reading the full article at the website of FI International  - this article.

Jacoline Loewen on Twitter @jacolineloewen 

May 9, 2018

Investing and saving yourself from your emotions

As the stock market bumps along, there is a rising noise of worried analysts saying it is time to liquidate. 

One of the wealthiest, self made men is Ray Dalio, a leading Hedge Fund expert and author of Principles. Ray says one of the top three objectives of investing is to save yourself from your own psychological impulses. When the market goes down it is called a falling knife and many try to catch it by selling out. They forget their long term goals and give in to their fear.

"While we all tend to be emotional about money, we're far better off when we approach long-term investment strategy from a cool and rational perspective," Ray says. "Letting emotions influence our investing decisions can often lead us to lose opportunities and result in decisions we'll regret in the long term," he added.

Getting Caught Up in the Excitement

With stock markets continuing one of their longest bull runs in history, despite some recent whipsaw movements, it's hard to avoid getting caught up in the excitement. There's no shortage of tales of overnight success as certain hot investments skyrocket, which for some makes it seem like a great idea to jump on the bandwagon. Same goes for getting caught in panic mode and maybe selling prematurely when markets turn. Investing can be a roller coaster of emotions.
Goal-based investing helps to keep you going down that river and to survive the big waterfalls. Ray Dalio should know. He is the 13th richest person in the world (recorded).

Twitter:@ jacolineloewen

April 13, 2018

What’s driving “gray” divorce?

What’s driving “grey” divorce? More women are risking leaving the safe harbor of their long term marriages and launching out into the unknown waters of being single again after the age of 50.

Newly single women in the "grey" demographic are discovering that the new challenges can bring a wonderful time of renewal. The challenge is to shift their old mindsets and patterns. Once they get going in the new direction and stop looking backwards, their new lives are surprisingly positive.

What is driving this "grey" divorce trend?
  1. Women are more financially independent. More than half of women ages 55 to 64 currently work. Women would rather be single or seek a new partner than remain unhappily married.
  2. Staying together “for the kids” is less of an issue when children are grown adults.
  3. Online dating creates hope for new and better relationships.
  4. Gray divorce no longer means being alone forever.
  5. With increased longevity, the prospect of another 20 or 30 years in an unhappy marriage is no longer acceptable.

April 7, 2018

What do golf and investing have in common?

What do golf and investing have to do with each other? To start, a good golfer needs to be patient, make solid strategic decisions and be able to focus on long-term goals. Seems pretty in line with what it takes to be a successful investor. When it comes to actually playing a good game of golf, there are a number of other similarities. I "tee up" five of them here:

1. There's more than one way to succeed

Brooke Henderson chokes up a few centimeters or two on an extra-long driver to rank in the top 20 in driving distance on the LPGA tour. Jim Furyk has won nearly $68 million in his career using a swing that golf analyst David Feherty famously described as resembling "an octopus falling out of a tree." Good golfers come in all sizes and shapes.
With investing, you can go heavy on stocks, bonds or foreign exchange, or have a portfolio that consists of several asset classes. While a mix of assets can offer some level of protection compared to an all-or-nothing-type strategy, there is no single right way to invest your money — it's all about knowing your own style and comfort zones.

2. Keeping your cool

It's easy to get upset and frustrated with a double or triple bogey. And responding by taking unnecessary risks will almost certainly compound your problems. The best way to deal with any golfing setback is to try to make a solid shot, followed by another solid shot. Before you know it, you're back on track.
Investing will definitely have its ups and downs. Think about the most recent market decline. Did you panic and sell off many of your investments? Or did you double down on previous investments because you were sure that the decline created bargains? Either response could be considered an overreaction. A calm and reasoned approach to your investments, always keeping an eye on your long game, is generally considered the best way to proceed.

3. Past performance doesn't predict future performance

You'd be hard-pressed to find a golfer who doesn't agree with this one. One good round doesn't make you a golf pro and one bad round doesn't mean you should give up the game.
Same with investing. It's best not to become too confident just because of some winning investments, but don't become gun-shy if you have a couple of losers. Research is the key to understanding your investment choices.

4. Process is crucial

When you're facing a crucial situation in golf, one of the worst things you can do is tell yourself "I have to make a good shot now." That extra pressure can cause you to become tense, which can lead to a poor result. Focusing calmly on following your shot-making process can increase your chances of success greatly.
Likewise, when making an investment, it's not productive to say "I have to make money on this one." That is piling on the pressure! Instead, a disciplined process – careful research and thoughtful analysis — can help with reasoned investment decisions. If your process is sound, there's a better chance your investments will be sound as well.

5. Learn from the experts

Charity Golf and Jacoline Loewen
How many times have people in your foursome offered advice on your golf game? People are generally well-intentioned, but just because something works for someone else doesn't mean it's right for you.
The same goes for those dinner parties where friendly stock tips pile up from people who just happen to know someone who knows someone. Investment advice that seems too good to be true often is. I often hear clients say I got this tip from this wealthy person and I want to invest into that stock. Do a bit more of a deep dive before getting off track from your investment strategy.
Follow me on Twitter @jacolineloewen
My books can be found on Amazon:

March 22, 2018

Top Market Forecast Award for Jacoline Loewen

Jacoline Loewen
receiving the trophy from
The Ticker Club
for #1 Market Forecast 2017
Jacoline Loewen was awarded #1 Top Market Forecast by The Ticker Club, and received a trophy January 2018. 

The Ticker Club is a 100 year old club with leading members of the finance community, including the Canadian banks,  large funds such as Blackstone, Teachers and wealth managers such as Gluskin Sheff. 

Jacoline says her secret to winning was Pierre Ouimet. This is the second year UBS placed in the top 3 forecasts.

March 19, 2018

The importance of the client experience for Wealth Management

I found this to be a useful report by Scorpio Partnership on the trends of Wealth management. Below is my pick of the most important trend.

Google the phrase “client centric wealth management” (no hyphen) and you’ll be rewarded with hundreds of thousands of results. After all, the client is always at the center of the relationship between financial advisers and their investment portfolio, and wealth management firms focus on clients’ needs. Right?
Apparently not.

In a recent report, Scorpio Partnership struck at the heart of what it says is lacking in the wealth management industry: the client experience, or as one executive put it, placing “the customer at the heart” of the service experience.
“Wealth management should absolutely be built around client needs,” the report said. “Given the intimacy of the client/advisor relationship it may be hard to believe that it isn’t already, but the truth is that while many firms invest in listening to their clients, few put what they learn to work delighting customers day-in-day-out.”
As 2018 gets underway, we asked April Rudin, founder and president of The Rudin Group, about this disconnect between clients and firms; the “new” client experience; and why she believes 2018 will be the “Year of the Client.”
Below is a lightly edited transcript of the conversation.
CFA Institute:
I’m a little surprised that it’s 2018 and we find ourselves still talking about the importance of the client experience. What have you observed over the past year that makes you think this is an area that needs attention?

April Rudin:

Over the past year, I have noticed that while many wealth managers, and other financial services executives, are high-end consumers who value the client experience offered by luxury brands, for example, they struggle with translating that same experience to their own client offerings. For many firms and advisers, it means doing a 180 to see things from the clients’ perspective and how they value services, offerings, and even client communication. Something else I have seen is that some people who are using their smartphones and a variety of apps in their personal lives are reluctant or slow to adopt technology in their professional lives.
With $32 trillion (estimated) in the wealth transfer clearly underway, women and the next generation are reshaping the client experience. They value being treated and understood as individuals, yet much of wealth management remains in the “one-size-fits-all” mentality. Reconciling what clients want with what firms are offering will be the single most important area for the wealth management industry to focus on in 2018 and beyond.
The good news is that firms that get this right stand to have the greatest advantage in 2018 and beyond to grow assets under management (AUM) and gather new assets. And by the way, it’s iterative; not “one and done” — there is no single action or magic bullet. It must be an ongoing effort.
It is key for firms and advisers to keep their online/digital best foot forward. And on all channels. Today’s global investors are online and connected. They want their advisers to be as well.

March 11, 2018

Has Elon Musk's launch impacted the energy of entrepreneurs?

Money and scaling up your business is a key part of early day businesses. Self funding is one of the options, and then crafting the business and product until it is proven. Getting validation is a common characteristic of most of my best investments.

Holy Moly, Elon Musk achieved epic market validation for Space X by showing his Falcon Heavy launch to the world. 
Not only that, Elon has just executed what will become the text book case for branding with the video of the launch posted on Instagram. As I watched these videaos, the incredible achievements of reusable rockets returning to the launch pad, the cars lined up to watch just like the landing on the moon days, the thrill of seeing that iconic shot of the world with the astronaut sitting in a red Tesla, hood down, cruising through space on its way to Mars, my eyes filled with tears.

Suddenly,  Musk's crazy Tesla in space made on Earth by humans became obvious. This crazy, eclectic big dreamer, Elon Musk, just achieved his crazy goal. For attracting investors, crypto currencies seem dull by comparison.

The rocket launch highlight videos were created by Westworld co-creator Jonah Nolan. "The only way I know how to share [the Falcon Heavy launch] is a trailer," Nolan said. "It’s not for TV or a movie, it’s for the next part of the human story."
Elon Musk says your business should be about, "things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity."

This week, I am going to a startup lunch with top Toronto investors. I will be bringing that Elon Musk inspiration to fuel up my impact.

February 19, 2018

Game changer leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa

Foreword by Cyril Ramaphosa
Since Cyril Ramaphosa became president of South Africa, many people know he wrote the foreword to one of my technology books and ask me about his character. What is he like?  If I were to sum up Cyril Ramaphosa, it would be to say he is all about disruptive leadership.

Cyril has an incredible mindset which is full of appreciation. He has emotional sense, people sense, but also an economic mindset. Gold appreciates, bitcoin appreciates, Cyril appreciates. What appreciation really means is that you give value. That is Cyril. He is not worrying about how he is going to get paid back. He is constantly giving greater value with generosity.

I was very fortunate enough to know Cyril when he wrote the foreword to my book on technology's impact on businesses and society in South Africa. He wrote about the changing potential for wealth in South Africa to reach more of the people.

Cyril's reflected on his own track record which was the accelerated African dream where he went from a poor Venda boy to President of South Africa. On that journey, Cyril had the courage to set up and run South Africa's first black union. It is easy to forget the brutal power of the government at that time and organizing any group could have resulted in death. Yet Cyril's inclusive leadership style helped the black union grow in power, He gained the respect of the union members and the management teams, becoming an essential part of the mining world. Cyril ran these union organizations for many years.

After being passed over by Mandela for the leadership of the ANC, Cyril went on to become the leading business man of South Africa, married into the wealthiest African family.

I was looking at Cyril's declared investments which give his stock ownership of South Africa's blue chip companies and also his private investments. It is great to see Cyril does private equity investments into exciting businesses such as Fever Tree consulting and McDonalds. This is a business man who understands all sides of the negotiation table. This is what will be the game changer for South African politics.

How did Cyril managed this meteoric rise in his level of success?
Cyril is a giver.
He has the mindset and behaviour of a man committed to win/win. As the head of the first black union, his ability to engage all people with his humour and warmth did its magic.  Mine owners and managers started to realize that their black workers were thinking people who could be brought on board for productivity boosts and better work practices to benefit all. Their opinions could be asked and they would no longer be silent. This is a happier work world. Win/win.
Women in South Africa were just beginning to rise up in the business world. At that time, I already had been the strategist for Investec Bank and my first book, The Power of Strategy, was a best seller and award winner. I remember Cyril was delighted to help me with my book. His foreword is full of the promise of the wealth of South Africa.  He gave me, a female, such support which in turn made me dedicated to my time in South Africa and to contribute to its economy and more.
Cyril was always making a bet on the future without concern about the returns. He is super succesful but also super generous. He now has become the leader of South Africa and he will bring that abundance of opportunities to the economy but also the society. The speed of change is accelerating. Cyril is the leader South Africa needs. He is the change South Africa needs and deserves. I am grateful to Cyril for believing in me and for all of his support.

February 13, 2018

First step for business owners preparing for sale is to get a valuation

Perhaps that is why the recent research by Investor Watch reveals that nearly 60% of wealthy investors would consider starting their own business.

At the same time, the favorable economic environment is spurring some business owners to cash out. And it remains to be seen who will fill the void.

  • 41% of business owners plan to exit their business.
  • 80% will sell or close the business—or they’re not sure what to do. 
  • Another 20% intend to give the business to family.
Business owners who plan to sell are far too often unprepared for the process. Less than half have had their business appraised, for example. I am always shocked by how many business owners think they only need an accountant and a lawyer to sell their business, The first step of getting a valuation by a professional advisor would quickly show them the value of their business.  Equipped with a reality check on their assumed price for their business, they can then see if their cash flow of their business will be a better long term wealth strategy or time to sell and invest the payout. Having an investment banker on the team to do the sale of their business becomes obvious after the sale of the business.

At the same time that business owners are thinking of exiting, 58% of wealthy investors would consider starting a business. Together, these trends are increasing the need for advice and creating growth opportunities for Financial Advisors.

Please give me a call if you are thinking about how to maximize the wealth of your business.  
We have much to offer business owner clients and prospects. From lending, insurance and retirement plans to pre-sale planning, Employee Stock Ownership Plans and more, All good conversations to have when it comes to building your long term wealth.
Join me on Twitter @jacolineloewen
Check out my book for business owners wanting to sell to private equity.

February 6, 2018

Planning is a bore compared with running a business but 3 simple questions can help a lot

Business owners make their wealth through concentrated efforts. The key to successful transitions involves focusing that same energy on planning the next stage of life and putting their wealth to work through investments outside their own companies.

Planning is a bore compared with running a business. If owners want to fully benefit from their lives' work, they need to grit their teeth and start tackling those three life questions before they get answered for them by life's forces.

The problem is, most owners avoid thinking about their next stage, their businesses don't get sold properly, and they lose the wealth they spent their lives building.

"One business owner that we came across had no transition plan, no successor, a son in the business who did not have an interest in running it, and no estate plan at all," says Maria Milanetti, a partner at
MarchFifteen, a consulting practice specializing in business transitions.

"The owner was 70 years old, running a highly successful business, and utterly oblivious to the risks for his family's future wealth."

This scenario is common in Canada.

Too often, the only part of a business that can be salvaged are its assets, but not a great deal more, leaving the family in a precarious position. The economy also loses a company that could have continued under new leadership.

Why is this sad lack of transition such a common scenario for too many privately owned businesses?

Milanetti says, "It's quite natural for founders and those running the business successfully to 'want to keep a good thing going' and to feel that they need to keep running the business themselves." 
 "Often they want to 'protect' others from this responsibility."
 But their reluctance to share how they make decisions or influence stakeholders with their next generation leaders can have long-term negative effects. Milanetti acknowledges it can be difficult to start the conversation around transition or succession. She recommends starting with the following three questions:

Have you thought about the next chapter in your business?
This question may prod an owner to be able to describe verbally a picture of the business within the next five years. As an extension of this question, it can be useful to include the next generation of leaders if there are any tapped to take over the business. Ask them to share how they want to build the business in the longer term. Like the son working with the 70 year old owner encountered by Maria, the truth will come out that they have no interest. Many next generation family members are not wanting to take over the business and doing this type of exercise will bring this urgent issue into the light sooner than later.

How can we plan that future together?
Suggest setting aside some time with a facilitator or business adviser and describe how critical conversations can be shared in a relaxed, reflective and safe situation. It makes it a safer process. It also means someone else brings energy and an outsider perspective to winkle out those tough questions business like to avoid but that need to be addressed.

What will your life look like in three years?
It can not be underestimated how difficult it can be to step away from a business, even if the Chairman role is still offered with a desk at the office. The emotional challenges of giving up control over a privately owned business and transitioning into a new role as “ex-entrepreneur” – whatever this new role may be – requires reflection about one’s identity and about other family members. This is not a natural state for most high-action owners. Dealing with this identity change can be very important to helping the transition to take place. However, this can be the most tricky question to bring up as it starts to deal with the prickly topic of the business transition. Peter Pan whispers that planning for life after the business means retirement, and that's for old people, not a dynamic business owner, no matter the biological age. That way of thinking can be disastrous for a family if the owner is forced to reduce his or her time at the business or stop altogether. It is better to address changes while everyone is healthy and has the time and energy.
"At every juncture," Milanetti says, "We recommend planning. That is planning for the mentoring of next generation leaders, for the transition between current leadership and successors and, most importantly, planning for the owner to be clear what will make their lives meaningful in their next chapter. These are not people who are used to doing nothing. they need to see the door opening to welcoming place."

Jacoline Loewen is director of business development of UBS Bank (Canada)
She is also author of Money Magnet: How to Attract Investors to Your Business
You can follow her on Twitter @jacolineloewen.
The article above first appeared in the Globe and Mail online.