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Planning for success when buying a business

When businesses in North Carolina plan mergers and acquisitions, they want to make the most of the potential profits that could derive from a deal. However, a large number of these projects, between 70 and 80 percent, fail to live up to the hopes that business owners have for their profitability. There are a number of factors that can contribute to a disappointing outcome in a business deal. In some cases, the acquiring owner or company may not have known all of the weaknesses of the firm it bought; however, in most cases, the issue is with a lack of planning rather than an inherent flaw.

By planning in advance for the next steps after successful mergers and acquisitions, business owners can help to ensure that their next deal will be a real success. Experts advise that the first 100 days of a merger can be the most critical time to set the right stage for growth and expansion. If a business fails to gain value in the three months following the acquisition, it can be far too easy for the project to become stagnant, losing momentum before it had the chance to reach its full potential.

Inspection blitz puts 12k-plus buses and trucks out of service

Since buses and trucks are among the largest vehicles commonly on the road in North Carolina and many other states, it's understandable for extra efforts to be made to ensure that such vehicles are properly maintained. This is why the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance performs annual random inspections, the most recent of which resulted in more than 12,000 trucks and buses and nearly 3,000 drivers being placed out of commission. During a three-day period, more than 67,000 inspections were conducted, with most of them being level I inspections.

The focus of the most recent inspections designed to minimize bus and commercial truck accidents was hours of service. Nearly half of the driver out-of-service violations were related to issues with hours spent behind the wheel. However, less than 2 percent of the drivers singled out for hours of service violations were ordered out of service, even though driver fatigue increases the risk of accidents.

FMCSA proposes changes to HOS rules for truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as truckers in North Carolina know, is the agency that sets up rules regulating the trucking industry. Among its most important rules are the hours-of-service rules. However, the FMCSA announced in August 2018 that it was considering several revisions to the HOS rules, laid out below. It is seeking input on the proposed revisions until September 24.

The FMCSA is proposing four changes of its own. First, truckers may be allowed two additional hours on top of their 14-hour on-duty limitation if they meet with adverse driving conditions. Truckers may also see a change to the requirement that they take a 30-minute break after eight consecutive on-duty hours. While a 10-hour off-duty rest period is mandated of all drivers, those with sleeper berth compartments may be able to split it up once again.

What to consider before becoming a franchisee

North Carolina residents and others may believe that buying a franchise is easier than starting a business from scratch. While that may be true for some, a franchise owner still needs to work hard to build his or her location into a profitable one. Generally speaking, a person who buys a franchise is responsible for hiring and firing workers and providing training. He or she is also typically responsible for paying rent and making sure that the building stays in good condition.

Another challenge of owning a franchise is following the rules set by the parent company. For instance, it may be necessary to pay to renovate a building on orders from the parent company even if they aren't needed. A franchise location could also be impacted by the reputation of that company. Those who are looking to buy a franchise should spend time learning more about that company prior to associating with it.

Selling a family business to an outside buyer

Many family business owners in North Carolina have dreams of handing off the reigns to future generations. For times when a clear successor who happens to be a relative isn't available, however, owners of family businesses may explore options with outside buyers. Successfully completing this process can present some challenges. According to the Family Business Institute, failing to take outside considerations into account and technical missteps are among the most common issues that may complicate family business ownership transfers.

There is no standard timetable with buying and selling businesses because of the many factors that can affect either process. With selling a family business, it can be wise for owners and other family members to start planning for the adjustment a year or two in advance to allow time to prepare emotionally and strategically. This may include taking steps to increase the businesses' value by securing contracts with vendors and strategic partners, streamlining balance sheets, and setting up any long-term leases that may be required for business-related real estate.

North Carolina man charged after fatal accident

A North Carolina man has been charged with three counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in connection with a fiery crash in Johnston County that claimed the lives of three people on the afternoon of Aug. 29. A North Carolina Highway Patrol representative said that felony charges were not filed against the man because he was not impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash and did not attempt to flee the scene. The accident took place on Interstate 40 near mile marker 319.

According to a Highway Patrol report, the Garner man, who was driving a flatbed truck loaded with lumber, failed to slow down as he approached a line of stationary vehicles. The resulting chain-reaction accident involved nine vehicles. Media accounts indicate that troopers arrived at the scene quickly because they were investigating another crash on Interstate 40 when they were notified about the commercial truck accident.

How teen motorcyclists can stay safe on the road

North Carolina teens who are licensed to ride motorcycles will want to keep the following safety tips in mind. After all, motorcycles are 35 times more likely than automobiles to be involved in fatal accidents. Teen motorcyclists also file collision claims about 5.7 times more often than motorcyclists between 35 and 50 years old.

The first step is to find a motorcycle that strikes the right balance between cost efficiency, sporty appearance and safety. Sport or super-sport bikes account for most collisions, yet over 50 percent of teens choose them. Next, teens are encouraged to take motorcycle training courses. Over 90 percent of the motorcyclists who are involved in crashes had no formal training. The DMV could provide a list of approved courses.

The importance of an exit plan for business owners

Burnout, impending retirement or simply a wish to seek out new opportunities are some reasons why business owners sell their companies. However, it is important for business owners in North Carolina and elsewhere to have an exit plan. Creating a plan may make it easier for the company to transition from its current owner to the new one. Having a plan is also a good idea if a company will be transferred to a family member.

When creating an exit plan, it is important to identify who the ideal buyer will be and how long it will take to sell the company or transfer it to another party. It should also list a series of action steps that could increase the company's value. Finally, the owner should decide whether he or she wants to stay on as an adviser after the sale or transfer is complete.

Two factors contribute to most large truck crashes

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has recently conducted research into why large truck accidents happen on North Carolina and other roads. Safety defects with the vehicles themselves and long driver hours were two of the main reasons why they occur. In fact, a truck with a significant defect was three times more likely to get into an accident than those without them. Research showed that a violation of any kind could raise the risk of an accident by 50 percent.

Carriers that had high accident rates in the past were also more likely to have a higher accident rate in the future. Researchers deemed a high crash rate to be 100 or more crashes per 1,000 power units in the past 24 months. Carriers that met the criteria were 72 percent more likely to experience future crashes compared to those that didn't meet the threshold.

Considerations when thinking of selling a business

Business owners in North Carolina may be unsure about whether or when to take that next step toward selling their companies. While entrepreneurs may achieve substantial success from heading up their own companies, there can be a significant allure to selling the business, especially if a significant financial offer is at stake. Others may want to pursue new business ideas that are not possible to do until they exit their current enterprise.

Some owners may decide to sell their enterprises because while they love the independence and innovation of their companies, they may dislike dealing with the administrative side of a company. Legal concerns, accounting issues and hiring responsibilities can be a major weight on a business owner that distracts attention from the core product or service. When moving forward with the sale of a business, a merger or an acquisition, it can be helpful for an entrepreneur to spend time thinking about the decision in order to make sure he or she makes the right choice. Even a simple tool like a list of pros and cons can help clarify a person's thought process.

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