The Prosperity Playbook: Planning for a Successful Family Business Succession by Mackey McNeill is this week’s featured book.  Here is an excerpt of the book followed by an author interview.

The old concept of a “life well lived” dictates that you work hard; whether or not you enjoy your work is beside the point. Perhaps you happen to build wealth inside and outside your business, all the while primarily focusing on building wealth inside the business. Then sometime in your sixties, you sell your business and retire so you can finally play, relax, and create your perfect life. Life is lived in compartments: Grow up. Get an education. Work. Retire.

The new concept of a life well lived is that you build your life in alignment with your intention and by your choice throughout your life. You don’t have to wait for retirement to create your perfect life. Financial retirement is just one of many goals. Until you reach it, your choices must include some form of work for pay. Once you are there, you are free to work, not work, work part time, or enter and exit the workforce as you see fit. 

In the new paradigm, life looks a bit like this: As you grow up, you enter a lifetime of continuous learning, creativity, work, and play in alignment with your intention. You work diligently in alignment with your natural talents and abilities in a role you enjoy. As you work, you build wealth toward financial retirement, which can be at any age you choose. Because you are living your life in accordance with your own choices, you purposefully lower your risk, and diversify your wealth outside the business. You reach financial retirement when you have enough assets and cash flow to fund your future goals. You may or may not sell your business. At this point, you choose to work full time, part time, seasonally, or not at all. While working toward and during financial retirement you play, relax, and create your perfect life with your choices and your design.

What paradigm are you living your life in reference to now? What paradigm would you prefer?

Work toward financial retirement while maintaining enough assets and cash flow for choices, freedom, and fun today. Don’t live a life of poverty today just to prosper tomorrow.

Author Bio: 

Mackey McNeill is CEO and President of MACKEY, a Cincinnati-based firm offering family-owned businesses an invaluable and innovative combination of coaching and CFO-level financial expertise to increase their chances of a successful succession. Mackey is the author of several books including the Gold IPPY award-winning and internationally published book, The Intersection of Joy and Money in addition to The Prosperity Playbook. She has been quoted as a financial expert in major media including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Money and USA Today. Mackey is a CPA/ PFS.

The Prosperity Playbook

Interview Questions


“Great read – Mackey does an excellent job of outlining the steps needed to ensure the survival of a family business. It’s a topic that few rarely think about, until it’s too late, but Mackey addresses the elephant in the room and sets you up for success(ion) with a plan for how to attack it.”
– Bryce Tedeschi

What is your book about?

The Prosperity Playbook is about helping family-business owners implement a successful transition to the next generation of ownership.

Turning a family-owned business over to the next generation is the most significant financial transaction a business owner will ever make in their lifetime. And they only have one shot at doing it right. That’s a lot of pressure! 

A successful succession requires careful thought, detailed planning, and a generous amount of fortitude to complete this process.

My book walks business owners through the important and necessary financial decisions needed to transition, but it also prepares owners for the emotional journey that comes with this time in an entrepreneur’s life. It’s a step-by-step guide that is both helpful for the current generation and the next generation.

What do you hope other people will take away from reading your book?

As a CPA, my firm supported small business owners. I saw, firsthand, the hard work that they put into their businesses every single day. It can be painful to see such dedicated individuals put in so much sweat equity and receive so little in exchange for their hard effort. I wanted to help small business owners change that reality. 

So much of the literature on executive leadership is written by and for leaders of Fortune 500 companies. Their advice rarely translates to family-owned businesses. If you’re a ten-person firm you don’t have a finance department, an HR department, or a tech department. You’re all wearing multiple hats. The advice in some of these books just doesn’t fit. I wanted to write a book that directly applies to small business owners. 

I wanted to share effective, affordable strategies that help business owners see how they’re going to make a difference and achieve their goals. 

A lot of my advice comes from my own experiences as a small business owner. I’ve never had an entire department dedicated to research and development. So how did I figure out what works? Trial and error! I want to share my wisdom so that other small business owners don’t have to undergo exhaustive experimentation to figure out what works and what doesn’t work for their business.  

Over the years, I’ve learned that you can’t tell people what to do. People don’t respond well to that. So instead of telling people what to do, I show them. 

I hope that readers see that running a successful family-owned business is possible. 

My book shows family business owners how annual budgets, scorecards, and a strategic plan (to name a few) can transform a business. It’s about having a set of tools that help you assess whether or not you’re succeeding. You want to measure yourself against your own goals, not the industry standard. Don’t benchmark yourself against the average. Who wants to be average? The people I know what to be exceptional. 

How can our readers get a copy of your book?

Hardcover, paperback and e-book versions of The Prosperity Playboo

What is the best way for our readers to connect with you? The Prosperity Playboo or LinkedIn

What is your writing process?

It takes a lot of concentration and energy for me to shift into my writing mode. I write best in the mornings, so blocking off time to focus is an essential strategy.  

I play music to help me make the cognitive shift that I need to write effectively. In many ways, I write to know what I think. Life can be so busy. Often I’m in such a rush that I don’t have time to even process what I’m thinking. When I make time to write, I’m able to articulate my ideas and explore them thoroughly. Writing is a tool for deeper understanding. 

When writing The Prosperity Playbook, I took a trip for ten days to Puerto Rico. I needed to get away from my everyday life and the many distractions that come with owning a business. It can be so easy to get caught up in the daily demands. So I left. I’d wake up, do some yoga, and write until I didn’t feel like writing anymore. Then I’d go to the beach or go for a walk. The break helped me to refocus. I was without distractions. Nobody could walk into my office, interrupt my train of thought and say, “Hey Mackey, can I ask you something?” 

What do you do when you are not writing?

I live on a beautiful working farm in Northern Kentucky. When I’m not writing and not helping my clients find their prosperity at MACKEY, I’m usually hiking, practicing yoga on my back deck while taking in Mother Nature, or preparing nutritious meals with produce grown in my backyard. I am very committed to health, wellness, and celebrating nature. 

I believe that we can learn a lot about the world from the environment. Mother Nature is always challenging me to see things from new perspectives. 

What’s next for you?

I have about ten different ideas bouncing around in my mind for my next book. I’ll probably write about the three freedoms of prosperity, though I’m also really interested in what Mother Nature can teach us about business.