Succeeding in Business and Business Succession

Paying attention to the business is as important as the craft.


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It has been said over the years that moldmakers are excellent craftsmen, not businessmen; and so it has been one of MoldMaking Technology’s goals to bring you information and strategies to help you grow your businesses by paying attention to the business side of mold manufacturing. Our Business Strategies Zone on the MMT website is where you can find a wealth of content on the business issues facing your shop including—sales & marketing plan, global initiatives/strategies, banking and finance, workforce development and new business opportunities.

One crucial business item is succession planning, which happens to be something often put on the back burner for several reasons—e.g., not enough time, costs too much money, etc. However, with so many mold shops being family-owned and operated, a succession plan is a must! And you don’t want to learn the hard way as two daughters of a moldmaking industry veteran did. They graciously share their story.

Bales Mold Service—a supporter of the magazine and trade show since our early days—provides
electroless nickel and hard chrome plating services. Its co-founder and President, Steven Bales passed away unexpectedly a few years ago, leaving the family—and family business—in a frightening situation. But don’t get me wrong, their story is truly a success story in the end.

Sisters Stacey Bales and Sara Bales Mortensen explain the events that followed the death of their father and how they jumped in headfirst with the help of the Bales team and kept the company moving and growing. They also explain the lessons they learned and their plans for the future of the company.

To continue the story—and more importantly, to help others take the initial steps to get their succession plan in place—we will be covering the topic in more detail next month with a look at why succession planning is not an exact science along with some guidelines for what must be addressed, considered and left out in succession planning. It will be a legal and financial perspective on succession planning with resources for you to consider.

So take some time to read their story and then take action to ensure your company does not get taken by surprise. I realize it is hard to plan for the unexpected, and that even a good succession plan can change for unexpected reasons, but the important thing is to put one in place! It will deliver the clarity your successor(s) will need as they work to support and grow the company for now and for future generations.