My market is down in the U.S. How can I get into China, who I hear is anxious for my product?
TKG members have more than 35 years in-depth experience with businesses throughout the world. This is particularly the case for matters involving China, India, Australia, and in Central and South America. In 1987, Mr. Kaufman was one of 200 lawyers selected by the U.S. Attorney General to go to China as a delegate to the first Sino-American Conference on Economic Law.
Mr. Kaufman developed substantial relationships with the China National Corporation of Medicine as well as joint ventures with Dandong and others in China. Several other members of TKG have developed solid business relations with other countries in which the United States does business and which desire to do business in the United States.
Sales are dismal and my business and I are in debt. Must I go bankrupt? What other choice do I have?
While you should retain the services of a bankruptcy attorney, there are a host of considerations TKG will review and assess to drive the development of a properly crafted strategic turn-around plan.
The turn-around plan is an alternative to bankruptcy protection, and in some cases, may be utilized in a pre-bankruptcy context. The important thing is to review your situation to see whether you would be a viable candidate for assistance from TKG.
TKG has, in numerous cases, assisted the debtor in avoiding bankruptcy and successfully turning around the debtor’s business. TKG has a long list of clients who have survived and today operate highly successful businesses.
My loan term is up and my bank won’t renew. Without the loan renewal I’m out of business. What can I do?
TKG begins with a review and assessment of the terms and conditions of the instruments that created and secured the debt and also examines the relationship and conduct between borrower and lender. This analysis will provide answers as to what specifically and legally can and cannot be done and what practically should and should not be done.
Foreclosures are at a level not seen before and the entire mortgage industry is in substantial peril. The important thing to remember is you do have options and you must explore those options in the process of making and executing a strategic response plan.
I hear a lot about problems with financial providers involving SOT. What is SOT and its implications?
SOT is an acronym for Sold Out of Trust, most commonly used in the context of automotive and marine floor plan financing. It occurs, for example, when a car or boat is sold, the bank has a lien on the vehicle or vessel, and the buyer pays the dealer. But the dealer does not pay the bank that holds a lien on the vehicle.
This is not only a breach of trust and contract but may also in certain instances amount to fraud and even criminality. While thought of in the context of an automobile or marine dealer, it also may be applied to any floor plan provider where the product is held by the bank as collateral for floorplan financing, and a dealer sells one or more units without repaying the bank.
How important is it to understand the relationship between the business and its banker?
Understanding the relationship between a business and its provider of capital (whether banks or investors) is of critical importance. Credit markets have been disrupted through contraction, lack of funds, defaults, changed spending habits, unemployment, asset reductions and other major financial difficulties.
What worked over the past 30 years between banks and businesses does not work today, and relationships must be restructured, made relevant and tailored for success. These difficulties can no longer be viewed simply through the traditional banking-corporate culture but must now take into account corporate, legal, business, government and political influences.
What is the self-diagnostic test?
TKG prepares a self-test tailored specifically to your business and designed to focus on your issues. This test determines the help needed, the scope of assistance TKG will provide, and includes several “signal questions” to provoke analysis of irregularities, hidden problems, and problems that have been ignored. Through the questions and answers, substantial insight is acquired not only by TKG but by the owners as well, as to the nature and scope of the problems and the steps required to fix them.
How do you analyze a company’s problems? What is the diagnostic process?
TKG’s teams analyze a client’s business problems through a careful and highly interactive review and assessment process. This process is a diagnostic method of determining what the problems are and how they may be prioritized and addressed in a comprehensive and strategic business, turn-around or work-out plan. The central objective in the diagnostic process is to assess the business and where the owner is relative to it. As painful as it is to organize and pay for this effort, if done honestly and correctly it will yield the following results:
(a) Deal with the most difficult decisions, such as how to withdraw from the business without throwing good money after bad;
(b) Determine whether to sell or otherwise alter the ownership of the company;
(c) Decide whether the company is unstable, insolvent, or merely in trouble and in need of a strategic turn-around plan;
(d) Diagnose whether the company’s continued survival depends on doing a host of additional things in a certain manner in order to compete and adapt under changing circumstances;
(e) Assist where the decision is made to undertake the confusing and complicated process of foreclosures, wind-downs, liquidations, bankruptcy proceedings and other facets of acute business and financial distress, in order to help owners sort out these issues and navigate the minefields.
Do you assist companies in financial trouble? If so, how?
This is a major part of the assistance provided by TKG. We assist companies in financial trouble in a host of ways from obtaining capital to strategic business planning, restructuring, and workouts.
Domestic Business: Recent events in the financial world will continue to put enormous pressure on failing businesses and their manufacturers, distributors, dealers, suppliers and financial providers. Customary business practices are now unreliable and sources of capital will be, in many respects, rudderless and in disarray. Many will be unable to make the informed decisions critical to survival, restructuring, or appropriate wind-down. The need for clear and comprehensive strategic thinking, planning, restructuring and turnaround plans should be obvious.
TKG brings the skill sets and experience required to fill this need and is also carefully monitoring the political and governmental bailout efforts, scrutinizing the application of governmental so-called bailout funds as a source of revenue and assistance for our clients, and exploring pathways to those sources for our clients.
(1) Existing businesses: Work-out and turn-around plans and negotiations - target sectors:
- Auto industry: (mega-dealers) suppliers, parts, derivatives, captives (financing, floor plan providers, and capital loans) i.e.: GMAC, GE Capital, Ford Credit, Chrysler Credit, etc.
- Marine industry: manufacturers, dealers, suppliers, parts, derivatives, captives (financing, floor plan providers, capital loans) i.e., GE Capital, banks, etc.
- Real estate projects: foreclosures, bank defaults, lender liability
- Health care industry and hospitals
- Legal clients needing business advice
(2) Start-up businesses
- Strategic planning
- Business planning
(3) Mergers and acquisitions
Because of the enormous contraction in the financial markets and other catastrophic pressures, many businesses will fail or may be forced to sell assets at highly reduced values. While unfortunate, the reality is that opportunities will also be presented to those investors who are able to obtain capital and willing to take the risks inherent in an unstable economy. Various business sectors will be under close examination in connection with these opportunities and the experience and depth of TKG will provide valuable assistance in analyzing the decision as to whether to acquire, and in the execution of acquisitions or mergers.
(4) Wind-down, liquidation, pre- and post-bankruptcy reconstruction management, sale of distressed assets
Businesses are faced with tougher decisions than ever before. The diagnostic process is critical, as is the need to make an honest assessment of the business and the owner’s relationship to it. This threshold assessment will become the foundation for building a strategic, comprehensive business plan. The scope of the examination will be intentionally broad and deep. Everything relevant must be scrutinized, including not only written history (such as ownership records, corporate records and minutes, financial instruments), but also how personal and business matters historically have been conducted. Location and facilities are examined as well as contractual obligations and arrangements (including informal understandings both within and without the company). Both external and internal factors are considered.
How does TKG get paid?
The initial consultation with the appropriate TKG representatives is provided at no cost to the prospective client. The initial meeting allows TKG‘s members to listen carefully to the situation and make an initial assessment as to whether and how TKG can be of real assistance.
If TKG and the company agree that, under the circumstances, TKG can help, an initial fee will be agreed upon and paid. Thereafter, an in-depth review and assessment is undertaken, and a proposed plan developed. At that point, the cost on a phase and project basis will be discussed and a determination will be made as to whether TKG will go forward, what the cost and benefit of each phase will be, and whether expectation and performance can be matched.
Will the core group of members grow?
TKG is constantly developing added disciplines and depth to its membership, consistent with the continuing highest standards of integrity and experience demanded of each member. Our goal is not to grow in numbers, although that will continue to occur, but rather to add more members and associate members with the highest skill sets and the best records of accomplishments together with a lifetime of good relationships with their peers. TKG receives unsolicited applications to join daily. These are being very carefully screened. Only one in 500 received will be accepted.
Who are the members?
TKG is comprised of members at three generational levels with multiple disciplines and business and professional experience. The core group of members is comprised of 14 individuals, all of whom have been recognized by their peers as highly competent and successful in their specific industries and/or disciplines. In addition to education, experience, integrity, and credibility, our members possess the ability to approach and unbundle problems with clarity, think strategically, practically, and with creativity and intellectual flexibility. Our role is neither transactional nor as consultant, but to provide collective wisdom and direction to our clients to assist them in resolving their most pressing issues and help them achieve their ultimate goals. Current members are listed under the “Members” tab on this website.
Who makes up TKG’s client list?
The client list remains confidential. As to companies doing business in the U.S. and start-up companies, TKG’s clients are mega-dealers in the automotive sector, marine dealers, manufacturers, suppliers, commercial real estate owners, banks, mortgage brokers and bankers, captives and finance companies holding liens in floor plan financing and mortgages, companies associated with all aspects of the health care industry, hospitals, doctors and other health care institutions and providers, general businesses in financial distress and in need of comprehensive restructuring, turn-around plans, guidance through liquidation, pre- and post-bankruptcy, or acquisition and merger.
Foreign clients consist of major and start-up companies looking to expand into the U.S. TKG’s foreign client list includes, but is not limited to, companies from England, Australia, Italy, Greece, India, Japan, and China.
What can TKG do that other consultants can’t?
TKG’s members are not business consultants working for an hourly fee. We provide critical analysis and a strategic plan for meeting the company’s needs and objectives and assist the company as needed in “hands-on” execution of the plan. What separates TKG from others is its depth of across-the-board knowledge, operational experience, and expertise in the fields within TKG's disciplines.
For example, in the auto industry, Mr. Kaufman has provided legal, business and strategic advice to mega-dealers throughout the country for over 40 years. He is the author of “What To Do Before the Money Runs Out: A Road Map for America’s Automobile Dealers” and has spoken extensively at the NADA and JD Power Dealer Conferences. He has “hands-on” operational and management experience with all aspects of the automotive business and the relationships between the automotive manufacturers and dealers as well as intricate knowledge and experience with banks, captives, and other floor plan providers.
In the marine industry, Mr. Kaufman brings over 45 years of experience. In addition to representing Riviera Marine as its legal counsel for decades, he was also Riviera’s first East Coast distributor. Upon retiring from the practice of law, Mr. Kaufman provided Riviera with substantial and significant assistance in building Riviera’s brand in the United States and the Americas. In addition to being a senior advisor to Riviera, he became Riviera’s United States Operations Manager, Executive Director (Riviera Yachts of the Americas) and then interim CEO for North, South and Central America. In all of these capacities he developed first-hand knowledge and experience in manufacturing, distribution, service and warranty, distribution, dealer network building and marketing of its vessels.
Currently, TKG is providing a unique and first of its kind Price Point Analysis for marine manufacturers worldwide.
In addition to the business side, Mr. Kaufman has an equal number of years of legal experience in banking, corporations, lender liability, litigation, mergers, and acquisitions. He is a certified mediator who has negotiated countless settlements with this industry and comparable experience with the marine industry as well. Other members of the group possess a similar depth of experience and knowledge in their respective fields. Accordingly, the analysis, advice, and handling of the members of TKG in his or her area of discipline far exceed the traditional role of a business consultant.
Who is TKG’s competition?
TKG brings through its members an individual average of over 30 years “hands-on” business experience and professional expertise. When applied to the specific needs of its clients, TKG’s service is unique and has no direct competition. Large accounting firms and other consultants have traditionally advised corporations and businesses for years and have provided and continue to provide competent service and real value, but today’s extreme difficulties and degree of financial distress compel a more nuanced and comprehensive analysis coupled with a tailored and in-depth rapid response, looking forward.
TKG brings unique value to its clients through active and careful listening, review and assessment of the client’s needs and desires, and interaction with its lenders, suppliers, customers and others. Through a careful thought process and approach, TKG provides businesses with the help they need to survive, prosper and grow, before the money runs out. This thoughtful and considered direction – based on in-depth real knowledge and hands-on operational experience - is too often the missing ingredient in helping businesses reach their goals, grow their businesses, or under certain cases in today’s exigent circumstances, survive.
What does TKG do?
TKG works through its core members and their associates, as well as with approved consultants and advisors, to help domestic businesses survive, grow and prosper, and sort out and effectively deal with complex business issues, particularly in difficult times of financial distress. We provide strategic review and assessment, analysis, “hands-on” operational and management services, business planning, restructuring, comprehensive work-out and turn-around plans, including assistance in execution of the plans, pre-bankruptcy and post-bankruptcy assistance, foreclosures, negotiations, acquisitions, mergers, asset analysis, and disposition.
With regard to selected foreign businesses wishing to do business in the U.S., TKG will provide assistance in determining requisite services in the U.S., finding and suggesting appropriate advisors to implement their expansion or move, monitoring adherence to a bench-marked business plan, and monitoring performance of their advisors to the plan. None of the advisors recommended by TKG will work for nor reap monetary rewards directly from TKG, nor will the advisors pay any fee to TKG. The advisors will, after being fully and carefully vetted by TKG, be recommended by TKG to the client, and upon acceptance by the client, independently contract with the client. This separation maintains the integrity, independence, and avoidance of conflict, further loyalty by TKG to the client, and respect for TKG’s client’s needs and benefits.
In what areas does TKG concentrate its operations and expertise?
TKG concentrates its operations and fields of service in selected industries based upon the areas of knowledge and depth of experience of TKG’s members. Each industry is addressed by a TKG service team, led by the most experienced members in that industry and field of service.
Examples include: Mr. Kaufman is the team leader in the automotive, marine, bank and finance sectors. His team concentrates on strategic turn-around plans, workouts, floor plan and finance issues, “hands-on” operational issues, SOT, and manufacturer, dealer and lender relations. Mr. Kalkines is the team leader in the health and hospitals care and delivery system industry. His team concentrates on strategic analysis and planning for hospitals and other institutions throughout the entire health care industry. Dr. Braff is the chairman, Global Health Care, and team leader in radiology, including equipment, relationships, joint ventures and services. Dr. Destigter is director and Mark Lawrence is manager of Global Health Care. Mr. Morrell is the team leader in major companies in Australia wishing to do business in the United States, and his team is supported by the business team in the U.S. best suited in experience and expertise to the issues of the foreign company. Jason Ornstein is the Director of Finance, European Theater.
Industries: Automotive (dealers, lenders), Marine (manufacturers, distributors, dealers, mega-dealers, super yachts, brokers, yacht buyers), Hospitals and Health Care, Radiology and Diagnostic Equipment, Commercial Real Estate, Banks, Finance, Floor Plan Providers and Borrowers, Investors, Foreign Business in the U.S., Brand Building, Price Point Analysis, and Market Cost Analysis.
Fields of Service:
Automotive and marine industry including manufacturers, dealers, financial providers, suppliers and customers – providing in-depth guidance and services in the fields of:
- Banking and lender liability
- Strategic turn-around plans, work-outs, and pre- and post-bankruptcy restructuring.
- “Hands-on” operational financial and systemic guidance for companies in financial distress, SOT, default and/or capital and in need of capital loans and floor plans; management and operational issues
- Commercial real estate development, reconstruction, financing
- Health care industry, including hospitals, doctors, nurses and providers
- Radiology, including equipment, relationships, joint ventures and service
- Product and service delivery systems for manufacturers, suppliers and dealers
- Facilitation and coordination of legal, tax and accounting and financial advice and guidance
- U.S. consulting services for Australian, Chinese, and Indian companies
- Consulting, market and price point analysis, brand review assessment and development services for companies within TKG disciplines
TKG also supports Imaging the World, a not-for-profit company co-founded and directed by Dr. Destigter, a member of TKG, with Dr. Steven Braff and James Kaufman as ITW Board Members.”