Don Van Winkle


When so moved, I share an insight from my experience in business hoping that it will be applicable to a situation you are in now or may come across in the future.

All CEOs Recall a Night They’ll Never Forget

April 20, 2017

The nurse said, ”Your blood pressure is too high and won’t qualify you for the life insurance policy.” I easily empathize with the ups and downs, trials, and the Dark Night of the Soul experienced by most owner operators and CEOs. As CEO of our family supermarket chain, I remember waking up at 3 a.m…. View Article

Choose Your (Fictional) Board Members. I Dare You.

March 5, 2017

My four board members were Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Joseph Campbell and David Townsend, a favorite college history professor whose influence on me continues to this day. At one point during difficult days as a CEO I needed to talk desperately and there was no one near that I could speak to objectively and candidly,… View Article

Right-sized, refinanced, re-priced, relocated, and recalibrated — now what?

February 4, 2017

You’ve cut to the bone and bled your company beyond what you ever thought possible.You will never be the same. Your company will never be the same. Your revenues dropped, receivables slowed, banks cursed, employees thinned. Benefits were slashed, overhead cut, customers fired, suppliers replaced, processes adjusted, options explored… and your hair grayed. You right-sized,… View Article

This is Not Your Father’s Business World

January 15, 2017

The late Steve Jobs was notorious for respecting only those who challenged him. Fortunately, sycophants are a dying breed. The iron-willed “go-it-alone” CEO of years past is both rare and ill-suited for today’s complex and diverse business world. In this still-young 21st century, the world is more advanced, communication more accelerated, and technology more sophisticated… View Article

Where will the money come from?

“Where will the money come from?”

December 9, 2016

I wanted them to know that we were attentive to their covenants and were exhausting all possibilities. It was Q3 of 1997 and I was the new President & Chair of our family-owned chain of supermarkets. We had just bought out a founding family member in part with a large, bank-financed down payment and term… View Article

What is capital access planning?

What is capital access planning?

November 19, 2016

We don’t need to use the high-brow language of investment bankers. Capital access, or capital planning, is a concept that, while fundamental and critical, continues to be vague and illusive to many. As a result, it’s often misunderstood or overlooked in managing and financing our businesses. I work at the side of CEOs and owner/operators… View Article

M&A as a Strategy

October 6, 2016

Put the good, the bad and the ugly on the table. A mergers-and-acquisitions (M&A) strategy that is well thought out can be a source of competitive advantage and is an important part of any company’s long-term value-creation plan. This heightened perspective and focus is not a luxury available only to the largest companies. Mid- and… View Article

What Does a Corporate Development Officer Do?

September 21, 2016

Wherever the focus, corporate development is usually a strategic and longer-term process that you may want to adjust or refine as the project moves forward. Where your CDO focuses depends greatly on the current circumstances of your company and the area you want to develop. It could be: Buying other companies or selected assets of… View Article