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Dallas Romanowski

Managing Partner, Cornerstone Business Advisors

Dallas Romanowski is the managing partner of Cornerstone Business Advisors, Inc.; a general partner at Seahawk Innovation Fund, LLC; and the executive fund director for the IMAF Cape Fear Angel Fund. He has played a critical ro  

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Financial Aug 15, 2017

Protect Against The Pain Of Exiting Your Business

You know how things work in terms of starting and running a successful business. You’ve hired the right people, offered a useful product or service and developed high-quality relationships with ...

Financial Aug 1, 2017

Which Comes First - Estate Planning Or Exit Planning?

A successful business exit plan achieves three important owner goals: Financial security. The business sale or transfer provides the amount of income the owner and owner’s family need a ...

Financial Jul 14, 2017

Death And Taxes vs. Preserving Wealth

Full disclosure: Wealth preservation planning can’t help any of us cheat death, but it can help business owners avoid taxes and achieve financial security. The ideal exit plan (i.e., one that ...

Financial Jun 30, 2017

Business Continuity Planning For Co-Owners

Imagine that on the eve of your wedding, you make a plan to divorce your spouse, on friendly terms, in about 15 years. During those 15 years, you agree to work diligently and successfully to build a b ...

Financial Jun 15, 2017

Maintain Control, Save On Taxes And Set Fair Value With A Buy-Sell Agreement

There is a strong case for creating a buy-sell agreement for co-owned businesses. If owners agree about how to appraise business value and set the terms of payment in advance of any transfer event, th ...

Financial Jun 1, 2017

Preparing For The Worst: Business-Continuity Planning For Sole Owners

Contemplating one’s own demise can be challenging but is paramount to sole owners and their businesses. Consider the fictional Harry Withers, the 54-year-old owner of Withering Hikes, a chain o ...

Financial May 15, 2017

A Business-Continuity Agreement Among Owners Is A Must

If you co-own your business, the business-continuity agreement, or buy-sell agreement, is one of the most important documents you will sign. If you have a buy-sell agreement that is out-of-date, not r ...

Financial May 1, 2017

Avoiding Disasters In Insider Transfers

Steve Smith was no different than millions of other baby boomer business owners in that the thought of leaving his business was never far from his mind, no matter how far away his exit might have ...

Financial Apr 17, 2017

Elements Of An Insider-Sale Plan

In this article, we discuss the essential elements of a plan owners use to transfer a business to insiders that keeps the owner in control until he or she has paid the sale price. If you suspect th ...

Financial Apr 3, 2017

Are You And Your Company Candidates For A Third-Party Sale?

If you think planning for the biggest financial event of your life is a good idea and prefer an approach other than wait-and-see, what can you do to make sure your company is ready to sell when you de ...

Financial Mar 17, 2017

Sticking A Toe (Or Two) In The Exit Planning Pool

In this issue, we attempt to dismantle the most common objections owners have about undertaking the planning necessary to exit their companies successfully. Excuses to avoid exit planning include t ...

Financial Mar 1, 2017

Building Value: The Win-Win-Win Of Exit Planning

In all likelihood, you are absolutely critical to the success of your business. Without you, there is no business. We want to fix that. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, we can help you ...

Financial Feb 1, 2017

Top Excuses For Avoiding Exit Planning

Like every owner, you will one day exit your business, either voluntarily or involuntarily. On that day, you will want to attain certain business and personal objectives. The first - and usually prere ...

Financial Jan 16, 2017

Selecting Your Exit Goals

When a man does not know which harbor he is heading for, no wind is the right wind. – Seneca The starting point for any type of plan is defining its goals. In the case of planning a business ...

Financial Jan 2, 2017

Failure To Plan Has A Price

I never worry about action, but only about inaction.  – Winston Churchill “I haven’t decided what I ultimately want to do with my business, when I want to exit, how much mone ...

Financial Dec 15, 2016

Exits Are Inevitable, Failure Is Not

We understand that business owners are so busy addressing today’s economic challenges, they can overlook the critical task of exit planning. We also understand that, at some point, all owners ...

Financial Dec 1, 2016

The Impact Of Value Drivers On Sale Price

Business experts may mention "value drivers," as if everyone knows what they are, how they work and where their impact will be greatest. It can be difficult or frustrating to know that bu ...

Financial Nov 15, 2016

Does Value-Building Equal Exit Planning?

Every day, we work with owners to build sustainable value in their companies. Some of these owners build value to make their companies more profitable. Others build value with an eye on growth, while ...

Financial Nov 1, 2016

For A Successful Finish, First Find Your Starting Line

People don’t like spending money on things they don’t need. So why would you need an estimate of your company’s value if you don’t expect to leave for a few years or more? ...

Financial Oct 17, 2016

First Things First: Prioritize Your Objectives

You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there. — Yogi Berra It is not always easy to interpret Yogi. In this case, perhaps he ...

Financial Oct 4, 2016

Prepare For The Unexpected With Exit Planning

In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable. - Dwight D. Eisenhower Gen. Eisenhower’s point was that the process of creating a plan provi ...

Business Growth Sep 9, 2016

Selling Out Without Regret

I can't play golf every day. My wife wants to see more of me — but not at every breakfast, lunch and dinner! What do other ex-owners do after they've sold out? Failing to answer ...

Business Growth Aug 23, 2016

Is Exit Planning Worth The Time And Money?

When we talk to business owners about the value of exit planning, we are talking about orchestrating a business exit that fulfills their unique personal and financial goals. More often than not, the b ...

Financial Aug 10, 2016

Navigating The Choppy Waters Of A Sale

If you have never sold a business before, who better to lead the sale process than the guy who knows far more about the business than anyone else? Who better to steer the ship than the gal who knows e ...

Business Growth Jul 29, 2016

Exit Your Business Without Leaving It

As advisers, we often hear from business owners some variation of the following comments: “I think it is time to back away from my business." “I'd really like the freedom to ...

Business Growth Jul 13, 2016

A Business Agreement Is Not A Plan

When co-owners are united in striving toward common business goals such as growing revenue, building business value and increasing cash flow, the business dynamics can be wonderfully positive and stro ...

Business Growth Jun 22, 2016

Equality And Fairness In Transfers To Children

Stan Briggs was perplexed when he told his adviser, “My son, Patrick, has worked in the business for the last 12 years. In that time, the business has tripled its revenues and its profits. I&rsq ...

Financial Jun 8, 2016

Value Doesn’t Grow On Trees … Or Does It?

We all know that “money doesn’t grow on trees.” And neither does business value. You can’t just wait until you are ready to leave your business to find out how much “valu ...

Business Growth May 18, 2016

Death And Taxes Versus Preserving Wealth

Full disclosure: Wealth preservation planning can’t help any of us cheat death, but it can help business owners to avoid taxes and achieve financial security. Read on.   The ideal exit pl ...

Business Growth May 10, 2016

What To Expect From A Buyer

Assuming that all business owners (except for those forced to liquidate) will eventually sell or transfer their companies, we often focus on what it takes to be a well-prepared seller. Setting exit ob ...

Business Growth Apr 21, 2016

Characteristics Of Bonus Incentive Plans

Too often, owners discover that the compensation plans they've put in place for key employees are sadly inadequate when those key employees leave for greener pastures. The departure of one or more ...

Business Growth Apr 8, 2016

Looking For Financial Clues To Your Exit Readiness

Where to start? Business owners who have not been through an exit planning process, and many of them have not, are often unsure about how we begin and what information is important. Whether you plan t ...

Business Growth Mar 16, 2016

Creating Value In Your Business To Get Top Dollar When You Leave It

Did you ever wonder why one business has buyers lined up willing to pay top dollar while another sits on the market for months, or even years? What do buyers look for in a prospective business acquisi ...

Business Growth Feb 17, 2016

What's The Point Of A Bonus Incentive Plan?

When we ask business owners about the possibility of installing an employee incentive plan, we often hear one of two responses: “I would like to do something to reward my key employees for t ...

Business Growth Jan 26, 2016

What Does Your Business Value Tell You?

No one wants to spend money on something he or she doesn’t need. So why do you need an estimate of your company’s value when you don’t expect to leave for several or many years? &nb ...

Financial Jan 12, 2016

A Race Against Time

Successful, active business owners seldom slow down. Many business owners are great at planning for their businesses and terrible at planning for themselves. There are so many business challenges to t ...

Business Growth Dec 16, 2015

So You’re Never Leaving …Got A Plan For That?

We hear it all the time. Do any of these sound familiar? “I’m never leaving my business. I love what I do.” “I don’t intend to exit my business. I pl ...

Financial Dec 4, 2015

Fraud: Do You Know It When You See It?

The subject of employee dishonesty is a delicate one. Owners generally want to trust their employees, and given all the other battles owners fight on a daily basis, they're often not as vigilant a ...

Business Growth Nov 18, 2015

Either You Have It, Or You Don’t

Business owners who are planning for successful futures should always begin by identifying and understanding their primary objectives for themselves, their families, their ownership and their business ...

Financial Nov 9, 2015

Is The Bank With You Or Against You?

Many business owners have mixed feelings about their banks and their banking representatives. They are unsure about whether they can be completely honest about their business without a negative impact ...

Business Growth Oct 22, 2015

Unintended Consequences

Stephen Manicek sat quietly and stared out the window of his car as it sat parked in the parking lot of Mayfaire Business Park. Until a few minutes ago, he had been president of his distribution compa ...

Business Growth Oct 15, 2015

Is Cash Flow Still Important?

In many client meetings we have suggested that cash flow is “king” for a closely held business. But with low interest rates, abundant private equity capital, and an improving economy, some ...

Human Resources Jul 1, 2015

How To Have Candid Conversations With “Disengaged” Employees

A few years ago I was asked by a client to coach an employee who was not demonstrating his potential or supporting his company’s culture. The coaching engagement was a bit unusual because most o ...

Business Growth Jun 15, 2015

Creative Exercises For Business Innovation

Does your company culture embrace creativity? When is the last time your company innovated a product, service or process (your way of delivering value to clients)? Growing a company, or in many ...

Human Resources Jun 2, 2015

What Is Performance Management?

I'm often asked what performance management is, and why I'm such a strong advocate for it. Let's start the discussion with an example from Benton Toups, an attorney who specializes in e ...

Business Growth May 15, 2015

HR Research Reveals Insightful Metrics That Leaders Must Overcome

Capturing data within the human resources (HR) management function offers insight about employees and managers that can help leaders improve performance and team engagement.   For example, rece ...

Human Resources May 1, 2015

What Employees Want From Their Managers

Understanding what your employees want from you is usually no mystery, if you take the time to figure it out. And if you put in the effort, you’ll almost certainly improve employee engagement in ...

Human Resources Apr 15, 2015

The Art Of Coaching Employees

Great coaches are made, not born. They spend years learning what works to create a motivated, highly engaged team. From sports to business, great coaches can bring together individuals with different ...

Business Growth Apr 1, 2015

Employee Engagement Starts At The Top

I ran across a sobering statistic the other day for anyone who owns a business in the United States. In my opinion, it helps explain why many businesses struggle to get to the next level.   Acc ...

Business Growth Mar 6, 2015

How Business Owners Can Clear A Mental Fog

Since 2008, Cornerstone Advisory Partners has run peer advisor boards, which gives business owners the opportunity to confidentially talk about opportunities, challenges and other issues with other bu ...

Business Growth Feb 12, 2015

The Value Of Partner Marketing To Your Brand And Budget

This article was contributed by Robert Gosselin, marketing strategist at Cornerstone Business Advisors   In 1960s, E. Jerome McCarthy proposed a marketing concept called the “four Ps,&rdq ...

Business Growth Dec 15, 2014

The Secret To 16% Annualized Growth

The following Insights is a case study of our work with the James E. Moore Insurance Agency, which used our Performance Culture System to achieve its growth goals. – Dallas Romanowski, Managing ...

Business Growth Nov 17, 2014

Helping Raise Capital To Deliver A Much-Needed Technology to Homeowners

This article was contributed by Robert Gosselin, marketing strategist at Cornerstone Business Advisors Our role at Cornerstone Business Advisors is to provide clients with access to people who are ...

Business Growth Nov 1, 2014

Aligning Marketing And Sales Development For State Technology Business – Part II Of II

Marketing, Business Development and Branding The marketing and business development relationship is a two-way street. Just as the business development team needs to respect the marketing department ...

Business Growth Oct 15, 2014

Aligning Marketing And Sales Development For State Technology Business – Part I Of II

Information Technology in North Carolina accounts for approximately $1.3 billion of the state's budget. Government contractors have long believed that operations, business development, and capture ...

Business Growth Oct 1, 2014

Define Your Way of Doing Business

As I’ve discussed in earlier Insights articles, the Performance Culture System™ is about producing results by giving your team an idea worth working for and a clear understanding of what n ...

Business Growth Sep 15, 2014

A Simple Path To Process Excellence

Magic happens when an entrepreneur combines creativity with effective people management and process excellence. However, if you are like many entrepreneurs, you probably cringe at the thought of proce ...

Business Growth Sep 1, 2014

Finding Value In Weekly Leadership Meetings

Weekly leadership meetings should provide a forum where department leaders collaborate with each other in an open, candid environment. Providing a weekly checkpoint enables the team to quickly identif ...

Business Growth Aug 15, 2014

The Benefits Of A 90-Day Plan

A 90-day plan prioritizes the most important company initiatives and provides clear direction for your team to execute upon. Ninety-day plans break your annual goals into quarterly segments and make i ...

Business Growth Aug 1, 2014

Create An Employee Evaluation System That Works

Over the last several months, I’ve written about the Performance Culture system we recommend to our clients at Cornerstone Business Advisors to help them increase business value, profitability a ...

Business Growth Jul 15, 2014

How A Simple Chart Can Drive Accountability

Author Jim Collins best describes organizational effectiveness as having the right people in the right seats. To implement this principle, leaders should create an accountability chart that maps key f ...

Business Growth Jul 1, 2014

How The Right Workplace Culture Can Lead To Success

Both business owners and employees desire a workplace culture that not only supports a rewarding work environment, but also encourages high performance. While this goal is ubiquitous, the management p ...

Business Growth Jun 15, 2014

How to Create A Niche Strategy

If you don’t already have a winning niche strategy, it’s not that difficult to create one. The biggest roadblock is probably your mind-set because the best niche strategy may mean disrupti ...

Business Growth Jun 1, 2014

Why Niche Strategy Is A Path To Greatness

“Focusing solely on what you can do better than any other organization is the only path to greatness.” Jim Collins, Good to Great Niche strategies create competitive advantages for smal ...

Business Growth May 15, 2014

Lazy Bees And Bee Watchers - Management Lessons From Dr. Seuss

The best business leaders achieve results because they know how to get things done. Unfortunately many organizations have accepted mediocrity by allowing the organization to have too many “Bee W ...

Business Growth May 1, 2014

Effective Leadership Means Holding Team Members Accountable

Sun Tzu, an ancient Chinese general and philosopher, stated that if a leader has earned the will of the team and has communicated clearly, then the leader must hold his direct report accountable for a ...

Business Growth Apr 15, 2014

For Effective Leadership, Communicate Clearly And Wisely

While living the 7 Cs of success will earn the will of your team, a leader must still communicate clearly and wisely. This means establishing clear expectations and creating a workplace culture that e ...

Business Growth Apr 1, 2014

Effective Leadership - Earning The "Will" Of Your Team

A leader leads by example, not by force, and must earn the will of his or her team. After all, a person’s will cannot be mandated. If you have your people’s will, they will support you thr ...

Business Growth Mar 1, 2014

Understanding The Performance Culture Coaching Process

In my earlier Insights columns, I’ve described the benefits of what I call the Performance Culture System, which I created for Cornerstone Business Advisors. It has four core elements: Effective ...

Business Growth Mar 1, 2014

Nine Lessons Learned From The Power Of Habit

In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an interesting argument: the key t ...

Business Growth Feb 15, 2014

Hitting The Ceiling

“Hitting the ceiling” is a phenomenon that occurs in almost every business and is usually caused by one or two things: Increased management complexity driven by more employees, custo ...

Business Growth Feb 1, 2014

How To Change Bad Habits In The Workplace

In most cases, when entrepreneurs first launch their businesses they have to do everything. Not because they want to, but because they HAVE to. There is simply not enough cash flow to hire all the peo ...

Business Growth Jan 10, 2014

How Performance Culture Can Help You Build A Great Business

The Performance Culture System that we recommend to clients of Cornerstone Business Advisors provides a simplified approach to creating a company culture that increases business value, profitability a ...

Business Growth Dec 17, 2013

The Cornerstone Story: The Importance of Personal Relationships in Business

I am excited to contribute to the Greater Wilmington Business Journal’s Insights and share our firm’s approach to maximizing leadership effectiveness and company performance. Our “In ...

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