What are you afraid of?

I hate heights – and the older I get, the more I dislike them.  I realize this is somewhat ironic for someone who is 6’6” tall but it is what it is.

Imagine my chagrin when over spring break Sarah, my youngest daughter, suggested that we go zip-lining.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this activity, you climb up to a really high place, attach yourself to a line by a harness, and let gravity propel back to solid ground.  In many ways it is very simple, after all gravity does all the work.  However, that does little to make the fear go away.

I was perfectly willing to tell my daughter no.  After all, she is well aware of my thoughts about high places.  Unfortunately, we were with several other families and two of the dads (thank you Dennis and Allen) put on a full court press to get me to go. Bowing to peer pressure, I put on my harness and started to climb.  This photo shows Sarah and me prior to going, hence the smile on my face.

Surprisingly, it was a great experience.  Had it not been for the encouragement of people who had done it before and a knowledgeable staff I would likely not have even attempted to do this. 

Those same factors can help influence a business owner to consider an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).  Talking to other ESOP owned companies about their experiences can be very helpful as they evaluate their alternatives. Chances are they had some of the same concerns and overcame them.  The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) has a great resource to help you find employee owned companies in your area.  You can find them here.

Engaging ESOP professionals to help guide you through your analysis can also be very valuable.  They have the knowledge and experience to help a business owner understand the benefits to them, the company, and the employees.

I still don’t like heights but know that they can be managed with encouragement and experience.  The same is true for business owners examining ESOPs.



In addition to blogging here, I also tweet regularly about topics of interest to ESOPs. Click to follow me on Twitter –  @jlripperger.

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