There are 2,860 miles between Des Moines, Iowa and Cancun, Mexico. This distance is great enough that you don’t expect to run into anyone you know, much less several of them. Yet, while vacationing in Cancun with my family I ran into coworkers, students at my daughter’s school and someone who lived about a half mile from us (even though we didn’t know it until then). So much for anonymity. But, it is a great reminder of the importance of the Golden Rule:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Business owners that have sold all or part of their company to Employee Stock Ownership Plans understand this well. They recognize that many of the things that are important to them are also important to their employees.
Business owners are generally looking for a return in excess of what they could make as a salary working elsewhere. Employees also appreciate the upside potential that comes with ownership – a return on their sweat equity. They want the ability to see their wealth increase by more than just their salary as a result of their efforts. They want the knowledge that if things go well they can retire more comfortably than they could on their savings alone. Read more
In April, the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) hosted their annual Employee Ownership Conference in Seattle, Washington. Over a thousand ESOP owners, service providers and prospects attended the event where contemporary issues of interest to employee owned companies were discussed.
With there only being about 11,000 companies with Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) in the United States this was a good showing1. But, there have been about 11,000 ESOPs for over a decade.
Let’s face it, Americans love top 10 lists. David Letterman includes one in every episode of the show, and if you Google top 10 lists you will find an array of results that range from the predictable to the just plain strange.
A recent search result included:
- 10 absurd trademark claims
- 10 video game characters with real-life prototypes
- 10 competitive eating achievements NOT to be tried at home
I recently put together a top 10 list (of sorts) for Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). It outlines in ten steps the activities that need to be completed to put a plan in place.
The ten steps are:
(1) Engage your ESOP consultant
(2) Conduct an ESOP feasibility analysis
Recently I was returning to Des Moines from New York City via Minneapolis. The flight out of New York City’s Laguardia Airport was delayed and there were several passengers that were going to have very tight connections (and to compound the issue many of those connections were the last flight of the day). The flight attendant asked those passengers with Minneapolis as their final destination to let the others exit first to increase their likelihood of making their connecting flights.
In the 1997 movie, Men in Black, Agent K (played by Tommy Lee Jones) and Agent J (played by Will Smith) saved the universe from an intergalactic terrorist (which looked a lot like a giant cockroach). During an early exchange with J, K states:
“1,500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was flat. And 15 minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.”
Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow. If only business owners could answer that question today things would be much simpler for them. Read more
On September 2, 1974 President Gerald Ford signed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) into law. This landmark bill included provisions creating Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). ESOPs have allowed millions of American workers to experience the benefits of company ownership.
Harness the power
ESOPs weren’t the only famous invention in 1974. The brightly colored Hasbro® Rubik’s Cube was also introduced. People spent countless hours twisting and turning trying to solve the puzzle. They found that the toy allowed almost limitless flexibility (and frustration for many).