Wall Street Journal Small Business Q&A

A November 15, 2010 Q&A in the The Wall Street Journal featuring senior editor Barbara Haislip, examined how to handle estate succession, how to get an financial plan reviewed, and how to find female investors.

Skip Weisman of Poughkeepsie, New York asked about business successions; particularly, when the senior generation doesn’t want to plan for the future.

Robert Nason, at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, suggested easing the transition by plotting out the “resources and capabilities of the firm,” which often include the senior generations inside knowledge.  Acknowledging their legacy will assure them you’re as committed to the business or estate as they are.  Any business succession or estate planning that occurs should adequately consider the senior generation’s opinions and legacy.

Another question, by Dan Morrison of Scottsdale, Arizona, addressed business planning.  The article recommended going to a local Small Business Development Center. Along with establishing a business profile examining target customers, competitors, and marketing strategies, financial planning must be addressed by your lawyer or by the SBCD.

Malcolm Harris of New York, New York asked how start-ups can attract additional female investors in order to sustain their mission for gender equality both at the outset and through investments.

Finding the right set of investors is critical, says Patricia G. Greene of Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, proposed reviewing your mission to make absolutely sure you want to exclude male investors who may otherwise be a great fit for your business. Otherwise, one strategy is to identify women of “financial means” who might be interested in your business as well as your female-friendly mission and media attention.