Latest News

Solving the Puzzle of Ownership Alignment in a Family Enterprise

Monday, 14 August 2017

alignment  noun | ə-ˈlīn-mənt State of agreement or cooperation among persons, groups, nations and the like with a common cause or view

 

Read more


Seven Steps to Recruiting Value Add Independent Directors

Monday, 14 August 2017

Incorporating independent directors into a family firm’s board is considered one of the standards for family business success. The prospect of

 

Read more


Delivering a Difficult Message: Performance Feedback in a Family Business

Monday, 14 August 2017

“My brother is not pulling his weight at work, which means more work for our mother and me. I don’t know what to do about it… so I do nothing,

 

Read more



Family business need professional managers, firms told
Sunday, 09 October 2016 10:21

Family owned businesses must integrate professional management in their if they are to experience faster growth and mitigate risks associated with demise of vision bearers.

 

Addressing Business Daily-KPMG sponsored TOP100 Midsized Companies forum, Sanlam Kenya Group Chief Executive Mugo Kibati said companies planning expansion beyond their vision bearers must institutionalise management where all processes are managed via market research and not individual instincts.

 

Mr Kibati said trained management teams would also help firms to safeguard themselves against risks associated with businesses saying Small and Medium Enterpises could have lost about Sh50 billion last year based on claims volume filed under the general insurance class.

 

“For me, the volume of claims paid out is a good indicator of the level of risk exposure given than only 3 SME’s for every 10 tend to hold risk solutions,” he said adding that companies need to put in place comprehensive risk solutions to shield SME’s from emerging risks such as cybersecurity and cyberterrorism.

 

Need for risk management

He said the tough economic climate and scarce resources, demanded that SMEs embrace modern standards of management that combines risk mitigation and management solutions.

 

It was observed that many businesses ignored the need for risk management solutions adoption due to poor financial knowledge associated with self-made successful traders who assume they are know-alls.

 

“It’s a worrisome scenario to note that most SME’s do not have comprehensive risk and asset management solutions which leaves them heavily exposed to manageable risks,” Kibati noted, adding that, “sadly, SME businesses built on blood and sweat rarely recover from threats such as fire and burglary due to lack of risk coverage.”

 

He added that many entrepreneurs preferred to pay for third party insurance for their motor vehicles and public liability insurance covers for their properties saying this provided negligible relief to entrepreneurs.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Family-business-need-professional-managers/539552-3407502-jaxi1w/

 

 
Diagnosing Innovation Readiness in Family Firms
Thursday, 07 July 2016 14:11

Introduction


Innovation is often defined as the multi-phase process of generating and adopting new or improved products, services, processes, or structures to adapt to dynamic environments. Innovation is essential for all firms in order to remain competitive.

But the successful navigation of the innovation process is not easily achieved among family firms. While most stages of the process present difficulties, the initial adoption phase is among the most important. One key means of enhancing the success of innovation within family firms is to assess readiness prior to beginning the innovation process.

 

 

 

 

Readiness for Innovation in Family Firms


By conducting an examination of the family firm's underlying readiness for innovation, family managers can better understand how the firm is positioned to move through the innovation adoption phase. If executed with care, the likelihood that the process will proceed efficiently can be greatly improved.

The Readiness for Innovation in Family Firms (RIFF) framework allows family managers to assess the extent to which the firm is prepared to adopt and incorporate any new innovation, and takes into account the specific characteristics of family firms

 

The framework consists of structural and psychological factors.

 

 

chart

 

 

Structural factors represent the basic building blocks that are necessary for innovation readiness, and include aspects like ownership control, family commitment, and alignment of existing knowledge, skills and abilities with regard to the new innovation.

 

 

 

 

Psychological factors, on the other hand, reflect the extent to which members of the family and firm are cognitively and emotionally inclined to accept, embrace, and adopt an innovation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Among these factors are innovation appropriateness (acceptance among the family that a specific innovation is correct for the situation) and innovation benefits (shared belief that the innovation aligns with the family’s overall goals and aspirations).

 

 

 

 

Implementation


With an understanding of key structural and psychological factors, assessing the appropriate factors within the framework at the appropriate time can be a critical aspect of innovation readiness, as successful adoption is influenced by accurately diagnosing and addressing the appropriate issues at the appropriate time. The firm's readiness can be evaluated through a sequence of assessments: initiation, decision making, and experimentation.

In the initiation phase, family leaders must first recognize the need and importance of innovation. During the decision-making phase, structural factors related to the family and firm should be considered in addition to the psychological factors related to the family. Foremost, family owners' control and established direction are key structural factors. Other details, like ownership, managerial involvement, and board representation should be decided at this stage. The final stage of innovation adoption, the experimentation phase, is contingent on psychological factors.

Some of the most radical shifts in management style and organizational structure have evolved out of the experimental phase of innovation adoption.

Innovation is not limited to products and services; some of the most radical shifts in management style and organizational structure have evolved out of the experimental phase of innovation adoption. One example is W.L. Gore & Associates (the creators of Gore-Tex) who conceived of a provocative company structure connecting every individual in the organization to every other, in an informal network that allowed free flow of information without layered management.

This was only possible after a shift and alignment of psychological factors among the family and all of the firm's stakeholders.

 

 

 

 

 

Implications


Innovation is widely accepted as the primary path to sustaining competitive advantage in both family and non-family firms. Family firm leaders may improve their ability to successfully adopt innovations by understanding innovation readiness. That understanding is derived from an understanding of both the structural and psychological factors that influence the family, individuals within the firm, and the firm itself.

The RIFF assessment framework, which describes a sequence of three phases within the innovation adoption stage, can benefit family owners as they attempt to lay the groundwork for innovation within their own products, services, and business models.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://cmr.berkeley.edu/browse/articles/58_1/5806/

 

 
Profit is Personal for a Family Business by Christophe Bernard on April 26, 2016 in Wealth Preservation
Thursday, 07 July 2016 14:06
In a family business, the impact of any profits are seen and felt daily by those involved in the business, as well as those affected by the business’ performance.
A good turnover means those extra lessons for an owner’s child, or a new home for a family member.
 
 
The business is borne out of the family’s need, and its main responsibility is to look after those involved in it.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So how is profitability measured in a family business?

True profitability in a family business is not just about the figures and bottom line – but is rather measured in the goals and lives of the family behind the business.

 

Family Stakeholders must see the profit going towards the right expenses.

 

The firm can get buy in from stakeholders when they can first see that family members within the business are looked after properly in terms of salary and benefits, and how family members affected by, but not directly involved in the business, are treated by the company's Related Party Transaction Policy.

 

Lastly, the Philanthropic Expenditure Policy is also of high importance to stakeholders – showing that money is being spent on the right causes that are close to the family's values.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A family business is still a business

As much as the context and qualitative element of the profit is important to the business, so is the quantitative results to discern just how well the business is performing.

 

In order to know if the year's profit is good or not, it must be measured against the following:

Last year's profit yield
Expected profit
Return on owner's equity
Profit margin
Return on assets

 


These factors gives the profit true context and meaning to determine the health of the business in its own right, and not against the family's needs. As important as it is for the business to serve the family, it can only do that successfully when it is treated as its own free-standing entity, with its own needs, when it is assessed.

 

 

 

 

 

Who gets to decide on the profitability goals?

Considering the sometimes differing goals of these two entities – the family and the business – within a family business, it's important for a middle ground to be struck.

 

While the voice of the family in the different levels of the business are important, at the end of the day decisions regarding the business should be left in the hands of shareholders and shareholders alone. They are the ones with feet in both camps and will have the needs of both the family and the business at heart.

 

No decision should be made in a vacuum though, as for the family to continue to support the business, they need to understand and buy into the profitability goals of the business at all times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.kpmgfamilybusiness.com/profit-is-personal-for-a-family-business/?platform=hootsuite

 
Playing it straight in family business succession
Wednesday, 06 July 2016 09:41

Handing down the family business can be a delicate affair. We've all heard the stories. Parents who won't let go. Children not ready for the job. Dysfunctional relationships both at home and in the office.


The hardest part about having a family business is the challenge of passing it down to the next generation, says Eric Clinton, director of the Dublin City University Centre for Family Business.


He cites research from the Kellogg School of Management near Chicago that about 30 per cent of family businesses will survive from the first generation to the second. Only 12 per cent will survive from the second to the third.


What can families do avoid becoming a statistic? A large part of the answer, it seems, is regular communication about what will happen when the older generation is no longer in charge.

 

 

 

 


Have the difficult conversations early


"Family businesses are a lot like life, like relationships," says Clinton. "If you want it to work, you have to work at it.


"My advice is to have the difficult conversations and have them early. Have regular communication. Talking over the kitchen table at 8pm on a Saturday night might not necessarily be the healthy way to do it."


Preparing the next generation early on in the process is crucial in case of unforeseen events like a sudden illness, he says. If children have to take over earlier than expected, things "can become very dysfunctional very quickly".


"How do you mentor the next generation into it?" Clinton asks.


"Do they have an adviser? Do they shadow the incumbent? It's not just about giving the next generation power, it's about giving them ownership and control and mentoring. They can't just be thrown into the role."


Clinton teaches families about the "4Ls", which are phases of the family business life cycle: learning business, learning our family business, learning to lead our business, and learning to let go of our business.

 


The first two phases are about apprenticeship.

Clinton says families might bring in rules or a "constitution" that require the next generation to reach a certain level of education and/or outside work experience before joining the family company.
According to the 4Ls, business owners should "learn to let go" through planning: developing a timeline for retirement, creating management development systems and sticking to the plan.

 


Succession can actually be a breath of fresh air for businesses, according to Clinton, as long as there is a balance between tradition and change.
"Succession is often a time for innovation because the next generation often comes in with new ideas. The next generation gives energy and lifeblood to the business."

 

 

 

 


Principles of succession


"Succession issues are probably the most difficult topic because there are no black and white solutions. A wide array of issues could arise in one family," says Suzanne O'Neill, a partner at Irish accounting and business advisory firm Baker Tilly Ryan Glennon.


Baker Tilly's client base is predominantly family businesses, and O'Neill specialises in succession planning.
Family businesses need a structured approach to succession, she says. The results of a study by Baker Tilly International, which surveyed 1,650 business owners across 55 countries, were condensed in to eight principles of succession.


They are meant to be a practical guide for families.
The eight principles are:

1. Succession is not retirement

2. Start with readiness

3. Set your goals before the journey

4. Price is not first

5. Harmony is a must

6. Plan early, start earlier

7. Equality of, not equal

8. Ask before you get lost.

 

 

Family harmony is an important issue on the list, O'Neill says.
"The whole issue of family harmony certainly comes up in dealing with clients. The key requirement in any succession is harmony and open communication. All relevant parties have to be engaged in the process at an early stage."


She says the owner should bring the next generation on board so they are comfortable with the plan from the start. Owners should also be willing to listen to everyone's point of view. These are ways to avoid "disharmony".
Part of the process is identifying the family member or members who should take over the business and to start handing over responsibility so they have the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities early on.


O'Neill calls these "stepping stones" that should be put in place well in advance of retirement. Aoife and Paddy Hayes of CST International 'It wasn't a 'someday this will be yours, my daughter' type thing' CST International is a small, Dublin-based market research agency run by Paddy Hayes (69). His daughter Aoife (33), head of client services, will soon take over, and the pair appear to be getting a lot of things right in their succession planning.
"I started the company about 20 years ago, and it's my third business," Paddy says. "So I'm 42 years signing my own paycheck." But Aoife might sign a few before the end of his 43rd year.
While Aoife began helping out at the office as a teenager, she says her path was not laid out for her. She worked in the arts for a few years and then did a master's in project management.


Taking over the business became an option after she went to work there full-time four years ago and saw how she could drive the company forward.
Paddy says it was her call. "It wasn't a 'someday this will be yours, my daughter' type thing. It was very much: go to school, go to college, do what you want to do. And then, if you feel it's something you want, that's grand."


CST specialises in guest feedback for the hospitality industry, and Aoife is now spearheading a new aspect of the business: employee engagement research. CST puts together surveys to figure out how engaged a company's employees are.
"The more engaged you are, the more willing you are to go the extra mile," says Aoife. "We feel like we're providing companies with really useful data that they can use to make their businesses more successful."


Father and daughter talk about the succession regularly, and the handover is about three quarters of the way done. It has happened in stages. This year, for the first time, Aoife went to an important meeting with their largest client without Paddy.


"That was conscious and deliberate," he says. "But that's what you have to do, and that's not easy because I would have loved to be there.
"When you are the founder of a business and you attend these meetings, just by virtue of [your role], you tend to dominate and people tend to address questions to you because you're the founder of the company.


"If you're going to give other people space, then you have to give them space," Paddy adds. "And a way to do that is by not being there.
"She was coming in and working with people who were used to working with me, and that's tricky. And that's something she has managed extraordinarily well. She's extremely good with people . . .

 

So I think she has a lot of the skills that will be needed to take this business where it can go." Paddy will be available after he steps down, but he says he's ready to move on. His first book, Daphne Park: Queen of Spies, a biography of a British spy, will be published later this year. He is already working on a follow-up.
"Your early 30s is a super time to take over the running of a business," he says. "Why wait until your 40s, 50s, 60s? Do it now . . .

 

You have that great combination of energy and drive, tempered with maturity."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.irishtimes.com/business/work/playing-it-straight-in-family-business-succession-1.2203869

 
Small business fraud and the trusted employee Protecting against unique vulnerabilities
Monday, 04 July 2016 08:37

Small businesses have it rough. They're particularly vulnerable to fraud because they lack the resources to implement complete systems of internal controls and properly.

 

 

segregate accounting duties among their limited staffs. However, small businesses don't have to be rife with fraud. Here are some viable prevention options.

 

 

Bob and his brother, Bill, owners and operators of Acme Tractor for 30 years, were close to retirement. A local bank had continually financed Acme, which had an inventory of farm tractors worth millions of dollars. The owner's wives, Jane and Julie, shared accounting duties in the company. Jane would approve invoices. Julie would prepare the checks and either Bill or Bob would sign them. The receipt and payment cycle included a series of checks and balances with no one employee responsible for the entire cycle.

 

 

Jane and Julie retired from the business, and James, Bob's son, assumed the bookkeeping responsibilities. James, 30, had been working in various jobs at the business since high school. Now the brothers entrusted him with all aspects of bookkeeping for the business: accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and all account and bank reconciliations. They gave him check-signing ability and a business credit card.

 

 

Soon after becoming the bookkeeper, James married and began a family. As his personal monthly bills increased, he found it difficult to maintain the lifestyle he had known when he was single and living with his parents.

 

 

The fraud scheme began simply. At first, James began illegally using his business p-card (or purchasing card) for small personal expenses, such as gas for his personal vehicle and fast food meals. After several months, his charges for personal expenses increased in number and dollar amount, including charges for taking out his wife and children to fine restaurants, clothing for himself and his family, and even high-end electronic products. No one at Acme noticed the continual increase in charges for personal items because James controlled all payment checks to the credit card company.

 

 

James' fraudulent activities expanded. He began embezzling from the payroll system. Because he was a manager, he didn't have to use the time clock and began to pay himself for excessive overtime pay. He would give himself paychecks in lieu of not taking vacation time, even though he took all his vacation days. Acme management was still oblivious.

 

 

He then began writing checks payable to himself, but he would write a regular recurring vendor's name on each check stub and hand-key it into the computer system. When the bank statements came each month, James would alter the images of the checks on the statements to match the vendors on the check stubs and in the system. Then he would hide evidence of the fraudulent checks he had cashed by photocopying the altered pages of the bank statements and shredding the original statements.

 

 

Crafty James wasn't done yet. He opened a new personal credit card at the business' bank. Now it was easy for him to electronically make bank drafts for paying the business' monthly credit card statements and then write company checks to pay his personal card. If anyone reviewed the check stubs, it would only appear that one credit card invoice had been paid each month. James could charge the company's credit card for his personal expenses and charge additional purchases to this new credit card. He used company funds to pay off both cards. Sweet deal.

 

 

Some fraudsters rationalize their thefts as "temporary" loans they will repay later. James executed his frauds without any intention of returning the money. His thefts from the company for 2½ years were large enough to create company cash flow problems.

 

 

One of James' cousins accidently discovered the crimes in December 2010 when he was searching the business' online banking system for a canceled check and discovered that several checks in one month had been payable to and signed by James.

 

 

Management didn't contact law enforcement nor engage an outside accountant. During its internal investigation, the family determined that it had lost at least $60,000 (though it was probably quite a bit more than that). Family members confronted James. He confessed and explained how he had stolen the money. The business fired him after he signed an agreement for restitution, which stipulated that the family wouldn't prosecute.

 

 

 

Before they discovered James' crimes, Bill and Bob had attributed cash-flow problems to a downturn in the economy. And James, of course, concurred. The brothers had to lay off employees and cut or reduce employee benefits for both family and non-family employees. The company still hasn't recovered from James' fraud schemes.

 

 

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to fraud because they lack the resources to implement complete systems of internal controls and properly segregate accounting duties among their limited staffs. Therefore, accounting personnel may be tasked with completely inappropriate job functions that provide easy opportunities for committing financial frauds. Furthermore, the business cultures of small businesses are developed around a concept of a "trusted family" of employees. Consequently, placing trusted employees in positions without proper internal controls doesn't appear to be an unreasonable decision to managers of a "family" business.

 

 

According to the ACFE's 2012 Report to the Nations, estimated median losses for small organizations — those with fewer than 100 employees — that experienced a fraud were $147,000. The report indicated that small organizations are the most common victims in fraud instances at 31.8 percent — the highest rate of any business size category. (For example, organizations with 100 to 999 employees had a fraud incident frequency of 19.5 percent; 1,000 to 9,999, 28.1 percent; and 10,000 plus, 20.6 percent.)

 

 

The five most common fraud schemes for organizations with fewer than 100 employees in the ACFE report were: billing fraud, corruption, check tampering, skimming and expense reimbursement fraud. Corruption schemes deal with crimes such as bribery, illegal gratuities and kickback arrangements. The largest number of perpetrators in the entire study, 41.5 percent, had been with the organization between one and five years, most of them had a college degree and worked in the accounting area.

 

 

Even using ACFE survey data, it's difficult to estimate the true losses from employee frauds. Small businesses often don't report these crimes because of families' embarrassment, decisions not to file criminal charges or wanting to keep knowledge of the crimes privy. Only a small number of small business embezzlement victims — roughly two percent — report crimes even though 40 percent of small businesses report they have been victimized, according to the May 16, 2011, article in The Daily Record, "Employee theft at small business high and hard to detect," by Kathleen Johnston Jarboe (accessible for a fee).

 

 

In this article, we provide several practical recommendations for small business managers to help them prevent these fraud schemes.

 

 

 

 

THE TRUSTED EMPLOYEE

 

Employee thieves normally don't fit the stereotypical career criminal profile. They often are in good standing, have worked with a company on average of four to five years and nine out of 10 of them are first-time offenders, according to the January 2011 article, "Opportunity Knocks," by Brian Shappell in Business Credit magazine (available only to NACM members).

 

 

Approximately 87 percent of the occupational fraudsters studied in the ACFE's 2012 Report to the Nations had never been charged or convicted of a fraud-related offense, and 84 percent had never been punished or terminated by an employer for fraud-related conduct. Consequently, the most trusted employee — who has easy access to funds and has never stolen anything — may yield to the overwhelming temptation to take company resources when he or she is faced with personal financial stress. Donald R. Cressey's well-known fraud triangle highlights factors such as personal stress (what he called "perceived non-shareable financial need" or pressure) that contribute to the implementation of a fraud scheme. (He said the other two points of the triangle are perceived opportunity and rationalization. See the ACFE's 2013 Fraud Examiners Manual, 4.502 – 4.504.)

 

 

The motives for committing a financial fraud include greed, financial pressures or employee disenfranchisement. Disenfranchised employees become resentful after spending years handling mundane details for their employers without recognition, according to "The Downside of Good Times," by Anita Dennis in the November 2000 issue of Journal of Accountancy. They feel forgotten.

 

 

Other employees are motivated because they believe they're entitled to more financial compensation. They also rationalize they'll only "temporarily" borrow the money, and they'll return it later. Motive, rationalization and opportunity work in combination to increase the potential for employee fraud in any organization.

 

 

 

In many small businesses, the major reason fraudsters can commit their crimes is because management trusts them so much; they're family members or longtime friends, or they have proven work records and years of service, according to "The Trust Factor," by George A. Cassola in the Managerial Auditing Journal, volume 8, 1993, issue 7. That high trust level enables fraudsters to hide their activities. Even when business owners find suspicious behavior, they often believe it's inconceivable that employees would violate these trusted relationships. So, consequently, they hesitate to investigate, which results in much larger frauds

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Tricia O' Sullivan and Conor O' Sullivan for sharing this great article with us.

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.acfe.com/article.aspx?id=4294976289

 

 
How can a family’s values be transformed into social impact?
Thursday, 30 June 2016 13:34

This question goes to the heart of family business philanthropy. And it's central to our latest study, which surveyed over 500 family businesses globally and found what makes them engage in giving.

 

 

We discovered that philanthropy plays a big part in bringing different generations closer together and that the founder's values are crucial. And there's a growing emphasis on social impact investing, which is the newest form of giving.

 

 

 

 

Investing in impact

 

We found that family businesses apply a portfolio approach. They invest in several forms of philanthropy at the same time. Providing services to the community is the most popular, followed by monetary contributions to charities. Next, though, comes social impact investing – targeting specific social objectives while earning a financial return.

 

It was interesting to see that more than a third of all family business owners, and a half of all large businesses, said that they're "highly engaged" in social impact investing. More than two-thirds say they're already involved in some way. I see these levels of engagement going higher in the years to come, in family businesses throughout the world.

 

 

 

 

Looking to the legacy

 

The study also revealed that family firms have a holistic perspective, centered on the founder's vision. Many family business owners pay particular attention to the past and cherish the business's heritage. Nearly 90% of sixth-generation family members agree that their philanthropy should be in line with the founder's values. I think that this sense of identity is very powerful and informs the social and environmental causes the family supports.

 

What's more, there's a positive relationship between the owners' wish to pass on the business to the next generation and their philanthropic giving. Owners who are concerned with the future well-being of the family are more motivated to address the long-term social and environmental issues in the world outside.

 

 

 

 

 

Government incentives

 

Family businesses adjust their portfolio and their chosen investment vehicles according to the local cultural and legal context. Government support is a decisive factor here. In countries where our respondents believe there are tax benefits for charitable giving, family businesses are more likely to engage in philanthropy.

In particular, there should be more tax breaks to encourage impact investing. The UK has extended its social investment tax relief – I'd like to see other countries follow suit. We need enlightened policymaking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next chapter in philanthropy

 

But where is family business philanthropy heading? In my view, families are united in their search for effective solutions. That's reflected in the high levels of personal involvement, which are greatest in small family firms and in the larger businesses. They want to be as close as possible to their favored causes.

 

And it's why families evaluate their philanthropy very carefully. There's room for improvement, though – nearly 60% of owners would like to have a sharper focus on their projects' effectiveness. They want to know about the connections they're making, the problems they're helping to solve and the positive impact they have on the world.

 

Family business philanthropy is all about forging relationships.

It's a long-term social investment with a clear family identity and a strong value base.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://familybusinessblog.ey.com/2016/06/07/how-can-a-familys-values-be-transformed-into-social-impact/#more-926

 
Balancing the family business board
Wednesday, 29 June 2016 11:32

Sustainable and successful family businesses tend to have strong governance. One important prong in their governance models is a board of directors. As featured in our report, Staying power: how do family businesses create lasting success?, nearly 90% of the world's largest family businesses have a functioning board.

 

A strong board helps reduce the risk of nepotism, internal conflict, inequitable allocation of ownership shares and succession woes. And well-functioning boards diligently monitor performance and draw on the industry knowledge gained through the years.

 

 

Unfortunately, a board made up of only family members can experience governance issues due to the unique dynamics of family relationships. But independent outsiders can help family members navigate idiosyncratic personalities and the family dynamics that can impede smooth succession and sound business decisions.

 

 

For family businesses to make the best decisions regarding leadership, purpose, business strategy and succession, they need to be able to reflect. Personal interests and feelings often cloud that reflection.

Independent directors can provide the needed clarity as well as a fresh perspective. Since they are not part of the family unit — or a friend or paid advisor — they can bring the necessary objectivity to the difficult decisions, particularly those regarding strategic initiatives and management roles.

 

 

Independent directors help balance the family's desires with the fiscal needs of the business, a key component to a lasting legacy. Their responsibilities span from mediating shareholder differences to identifying new growth areas. They offer expertise and knowledge that the family management team may be lacking, and they can shed light on areas the family may have never even considered.

 

 

Because of the pivotal role independent board members play, family businesses should take great care when seeking out such advisors. Recruitment should focus on the specific capabilities and experience the company needs, such as work in a related field, experience in assisting with succession plans, a strong financial analysis background and more.

The goal is to find a candidate who can help balance the family's expectations with realistic objectives — someone who can assist the family with making decisions based on market insight, objective data and sound principles. The ideal candidate will be an independent outsider with no other ties to the company so he or she can make recommendations without fear of repercussions.

 

 

Independent directors of family-owned companies provide more than business intelligence. They:

 

Serve as coach, counselor and peer advisor


Consider how strategic and operational recommendations, such as succession planning and dividend policy, affect family dynamics
Place the enterprise on a path to a strong legacy for future generations
Family businesses should strive to add independent outsiders to their boards of directors.

The objectivity, clarity, and valuable insight they bring to the table can help create a long lasting legacy.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: https://familybusinessblog.ey.com/2016/05/05/balancing-the-family-business-board/ 

 

 
Here's a 21st Century take on the traditional family farm
Monday, 27 June 2016 13:41
Kildare Farm Foods is an example of intelligent entrepreneurship at its very best. They know what's working and they know when to diversify
 
 
 
Since taking up farming during his late teens David, like his father before him, has been keen to expand and improve, which may explain why Kildare Farm Food's offerings today are so multifaceted.
Over the last two decades, David has moved from rearing turkeys to processing, cold storage and distribution, and more recently into retail with Kildare Farm Foods' latest venture - a shop and free open farm, which has become a hugely popular family and tourist destination, employing more than 40 people.
 
 
"My grandparents came here to the farm from the West of Ireland. It was a Land Commission holding - just a few small houses built by the Land Commission back when they were dividing up the big estates from the landlords," David explains.
"That is where it began. So my grandparents had a very small farm and my father also worked as a farm labourer on another farm to top up the income."
 
 
David describes his father, who now works in a semi-retired role at Kildare Farm Foods, as an "extremely progressive and energetic" person who has always had "aspirations to be a bigger farmer".
"He wanted to be a full-time farmer and grow, so he got into things that were not really mainstream at the time and turkeys were one of these," David explains.
 
 
"He was a dairy farmer, he kept some horses, he kept some cattle, he also bought pigs from all the other local farmers. He had a little weighbridge, so he used to bring them on to the factories or bring them to the sales and he would turn money from that, but with turkeys he found that he could get into things without a lot of land."
Inspired by his father's progressive approach, David grew up deeply involved in the family's growing farming business.
 
 
"I wanted to do nothing but farming; I wanted more cows, more of anything that I could get my hands on," David remembers. "It was the early 1990s and a tough enough time - but I was as determined as my father and I wanted to progress. There was great potential in the turkeys because there were no quotas or restrictions, all you needed was enough money to build a shed and have a small amount of ground, so I went at it hell for leather and put in as many turkeys as I could, even before I finished school."
David did well in school, despite the fact that he only had eyes for farming. After his Leaving Certificate, his parents allowed him to attend agricultural college under one condition; that he would go on and do a degree after he had finished.
 
 
David agreed and returned from his year at agricultural college to farm by day and study accountancy by night for the following four years.
"The turkeys became very profitable; turkey wasn't just for Christmas anymore, it was in carvery restaurants, which were now springing up all over Ireland too," David says.
 
 
Soon, David was supplying huge orders of turkeys, mainly to the hospitality industry.
"Within a year, it just took off. We couldn't keep up with the demand," he says. "So we expanded and it continued to a point where we were going into the millions in turnover within a few years, which was extraordinary."
 
 
"It flew for a few years. However, in the late 1990s the market worldwide opened up - and European products started to come into Ireland and the European product was in some cases half the price of our product," David adds.
"I spent a few years trying to go against the grain and question the quality, but it turned out that the European stuff was actually as good, not locally grown and produced, but often a fantastic quality product from countries who had a long history of poultry farming."
 
 
David managed to maintain a level of presence in the market by focusing on his service and adding the distribution of a number of other products to his company's offering.
 
 
"We started to sell chicken instead of just turkey, then a customer said 'is there any chance you'd get me a few chips?' so we'd do that and then it was bread rolls and it went on and on. We currently have about 3,000 different product lines now," David explains. "At the same time this was all happening, we reduced down the amount of slaughtering we did and the number of turkeys we were selling and we then decided that we would take a look at stopping the slaughtering and specialise moreso in the marketing of the product, the distribution and the portioning in-house; further processing the raw material from the slaughterhouse.
 
"So we scaled down our own slaughtering operation and at the same time we built cold storage - converting the existing turkey houses - and in 2004-2005 we built a combined cold store to hold about 550 pallets of product, which also had a boning hall, packing rooms and specialised tracing equipment," David adds. "By so doing, we found that we were again able to hold our own and grow again."
 
 
However, more obstacles were on the way for Kildare Farm Foods; when the Irish economy fell off a financial cliff in 2007, a large number of their regular customers could not pay their outstanding debts.
 
 
"We had accounts everywhere, in every restaurant and hotel that you can think of within 50 to 100 miles of here - and unfortunately, when the economy nose-dived, almost everybody caught us for money.
"And it wasn't small amounts, it was several hundred thousand," David explains. "While it was disastrous, we had been in business quite a while, so we had built up a certain durability - we had some money in the war chest, so to speak.
 
 
 
"We decided that we would step back from all of these hospitality-type accounts at that point and while this was all going on, I had a plan that I would be able to further process products for other distributors," David adds.
 
 
"So suddenly we had guys who would have been our competition at the very start coming to us because we found that we could portion these products for them and brand them with their name on it, in a very cost-effective way. So we went back to what we had been doing originally really, which was cutting up white meat products and getting our hands dirty."
Again Kildare Farm Foods managed to return to form and by carving this niche in the wholesale and food servicing market for themselves, they managed to once again double their turnover within two years.
 
 
As well as the more profitable sides to his business, for a number of years David opened a farm shop counter each Saturday morning at the premises in Rathmuck where he would sell produce directly to the public.
 
 
"It sometimes seemed like a total waste of time to be honest, but I kept it going because I would never drop anything. If I thought there was even €50 in it, I would continue to do it because you never know where the potential is," David says.
On the next occasion that David decided to expand the premises, he included a purpose-built, 15 foot by 15 foot shop space in the plan.
 
 
"For some reasons, Christmas 2007 saw a huge upsurge in interest in the shop - people flooded in and we sold 10 times the turkeys we had before and when people came in they'd also buy other products - cranberry sauce, glazed ham. It was fantastic," David says.
 
 
"January came then and we slipped back into our routine, but we had a small Falabella pony in the field here in front of the shop. I hadn't taken any notice of it really, but I saw this little girl crying one Saturday morning when she was going out the door with her grandmother.
"I went out after her with an ice cream and the grandmother told me she was crying because they had been coming every Saturday to look at the pony and the child was distraught that it wasn't there that particular morning. So I thought then there might be something in that."
 
 
This event planted a seed in David's mind; he would add value to his products by giving something back to the customers, an experience, and it would be free.
 
 
"I thought that if we had something like that, that you could come in and feed the animals and walk through the shop and back out through, then surely if we were good enough at our jobs we'd be able to sell people something," David smiles.
And with that, Kildare Farm Foods open farm and shop was born.
 
 
"One thing led to another, we spent about €250,000 doing it because we wanted to do it right and have it so that you could use it every day of the year," David explains.
 
 
"We gutted the place and shut for a week, then we reopened on Easter Saturday and it just exploded in popularity. We opened every day after that, firstly just in the afternoons and then all day every day."
 
The premises has since been expanded again, with a cafe added in 2014 and an extension to the open farm, which is now home to wallabies, mara, pigs, goats, ponies, deer and ostriches among others, a party room, an indoor 18-hole crazy golf experience and the 'Adventure Rail Road' - a train which departs from the Farm Shop station for a spin around the farm several times a day.
"We will keep changing and making it different all the time," David says. "We are always trying to create a relaxed, customer-friendly environment and you can never underestimate that feel-good factor."
 
 
David's wife, who was previously an IT consultant with Deloitte, now works full-time in the business also.
 
 
"There is very little differentiation between work and life; it is our life and we like it that way," David says. "We reinvest every cent and more. Food is not an easy business, it is competitive and it can be a hard slog, so you have to constantly change and adapt.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Family Business: preserving and transferring wealth
Thursday, 23 June 2016 13:43
I trust this article finds you well. It gives a case study on the common issues that Family Businesses face. 
 
 
‘Paddy’s Italia’ is a 3rd generation family run chain of restaurants. Originally set up as a pub today ‘Paddy Italia ’ has 5 restaurants and a franchise branch and employs 65 people.
 

Members involved in the Family Business: 

 

Paddy Founder, long retired

Stephen Current CEO,

Paddy’s Son Dominic Group Manager

Emilo Part Time Coordinator

Rachel Looking to join the business

Philip Doesn’t work in the business

Sofia Doesn’t work in the business

 
 
Issue: Trust & reluctance to 'let go'


Situation
 
Mr. Stephen O'Hare is the current CEO and sole shareholder of Paddy's Italia, a successful family run chain of restaurants. He is in his early 60s
and he and his wife have five children, two of whom are involved in the business.
Stephen's son, Dominic, is eager to take over management responsibilities from his father; however, Stephen is finding it difficult to step back.
Stephen's perception is that his son is not yet capable or experienced enough to manage the business—an outlook that is causing frustration
for his sons, especially Dominic, the eldest. This is impacting negatively on both the family and the business
 
 
 
 
Audience participation:

• This scenario demonstrates a need for communication and clarity of roles and responsibilities.

• It calls for a greater handling of power issues and struggles.

• The issue arises from the cultural difference between generations. The older generation is the
entrepreneur while the next generation represents the more professionalised approach.

• Respect needs to be shown for both incoming and outgoing generations.

• Stephen should work on trusting his judgment in appointing his successor and he should develop
his trust in others to lead the business.

• Stephen should still be kept in the loop. This may be in the form of a debriefing following the
meeting.

• Unemotionally discuss issues. By separating business issues and family issues you can survey the
business in a more objective manner.
 
 
 
 
 
Other points to consider:

Family businesses are typically not good at planning the succession process, simply because they do not do it very often. The typical tenure of a leader of a family owned business is 20 years, whereas, in public companies, CEOs are in their position for usually less than 7 years.
 

In order to successfully transfer the business to his successor, Stephen needs to not only prepare his son, but he also needs to prepare himself to 'let the firm go'.

Preparing to let go is more than putting a succession plan in place and identifying a successor. For the transfer to be
successful, and to enhance the probability of success, successors need to be developed and nurtured over time.
 
 
 
 
 
Other points to consider (continued):

A critical element in being able to 'let go' is investing in the process of knowledge transfer for the nominated
successor.
 
Firms with formal succession plans require successors to:
(1) 'learn business' through formal education
and working outside the business;
(2) 'learn the family business' in particular the family network and network
management skills;
(3) 'learn to lead the family business' by codifying knowledge and learning the tacit knowledge,
training in operational and financial management, and thinking strategically in the business.
 
The most successful multi-generational firms are those who are more adept at managing these factors.
 

Below are three useful and practical steps that can be used to ensure a smooth transition:

1.Define a timeline.

Develop a defined timeline for retirement. The timetable works better if the founder has developed it and done so early.

2.Create management development systems.

Valuing and creating management development systems is part of all three earlier learning phases (4Ls), and is important to support 'a clear line of succession'.

3.Stick to the plan.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Issue: Dividing assets 
 
 
 
Situation

Stephen and his wife have five children, two of whom are currently involved in the family business. His other three children work elsewhere,
and hold little connection to the business.
 

Stephen is unclear about ownership succession planning, specifically in terms of allocating the assets amongst his children. Should he only divide
the assets between the two children that are working in the business or should he also include his other three children?
This issue is causing tension between Stephen and his eldest son Dominic, who believes he should inherit the entire business.
 
 
 
Audience participation:

• This issue developed from a lack of communication.

• This problem can manifest when family members feel a sense of entitlement to the business.

• It may be necessary to separate business assets from heritance assets.
 
 
 
 
Other points to consider:

U.S. evidence suggests that 70% of wealth transitions fail (Williams and Preisser, 2003). Typically, the failure in transition is attributed to a breakdown in communication and trust in the family unit, and a lack of preparation of the next generation.
Successful transition requires soft skills such as communication, knowledge transfer and learning, in addition to building industry, network, and entrepreneurial skills.
 

The biggest hurdle family business owners must jump is the mindset of treating children equally. In dividing family business assets there is rarely fairness in the equal division of assets. Instead, owners must consider being fair and equitable. These goals can be mutually achievable.
One option would be to use a 'buy-sell agreement' that equally divides shares of the business among all of the siblings. The agreement, however, could give the eldest son (Dominic) the first right to buy the shares owned by his siblings. The younger siblings would benefit from the sale of those shares, while Dominic would retain ownership of the family business.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Issue:Experience vs. education


 
 
Situation

With a strong entrepreneurial spirit, but no formal education, Stephen took over his father's pub/restaurant business at the age of 21. He
worked hard for the next forty years and grew the business into a verysuccessful company, experiencing firsthand the ups and downs, successes
and failures of the business.
 
 
The sacrifices he made and fear of scarcity along the way help him manage the reality of having significant wealth.
Stephen's children, on the other hand, have all received a formal education, two of them with Masters degrees. The issue of experience vs.
education is now posing a problem between Stephen and his son Dominic, who both view their 'past' as providing them with the authority to make
the best decisions for business.
 
 
 
 
Audience participation:

• This issue requires acceptance and compromise from both generations, with the new generation accepting traditional elements of the business and the outgoing generation embracing new techniques.

• The ideal is to marry together tacit knowledge with education.

• Respect should be shown to both parties as both have worked for their place in the business.

• This situation calls for more open discussion among family members.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other points to consider:

Both men need to understand that the experience and tacit knowledge held by Stephen, and the formal education of Dominic, are both equally important going forward and to make decisions for the business.
 

A key element in preparing to let go of the business, and thus the implementation of a successful transfer of wealth, is the process of knowledge transfer. One of the most valuable assets in a business is the 'know-how'; this is a core intangible asset of the business.
Moores and Barret (2010) suggest the 'inside-outside' paradox for acquiring and transferring business knowledge.
'Going outside' the family business to obtain formal education and work in other companies provides vital learning opportunities to develop new skills and broader perspectives not readily available within the family business. It also allows the family member to prove themselves worthy of career progression and promotion into senior management roles, an important pathway in order to 'return inside' the family firm where they will learn the
unique aspects of the family business.
 
 
Family business leaders hold specific knowledge, often based on tradition, and part of 'the way we do things around here'. It is important to capture theses traditions in order to explain why 'we do things the way we do' and what is unique to the firm.
The successor needs to spend time with the incumbent when he/she 'returns inside' in order to ensure this transfer of this 'tacit' knowledge takes place.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other potential issues to consider Compensation & equality
 
 
 
 
Situation

Throughout his time in the business, Stephen has always held a modest salary. Often, in order to attract experienced professionals in areas where
he lacked expertise, Stephen would offer a higher rate of compensation than his own.
 
 
 
However, the 3rd generation have earned significant salaries and have owned luxury company cars since they first joined the company. This is causing tension amongst the non-family employees. As Stephen is now approaching his mid-60s he is becoming increasingly conscious that he has failed to adequately plan for his retirement.
 
 
After all his years of hard work in the business he would now like to provide financial security for his wife and himself. He suggests a "pay-out" upon
retirement, but his son Dominic is not too keen on the idea...
 
 
 
 
Points to consider:

Any family firm has three choices of orientation: family-first, ownership-first or management-first. In family-first businesses, employment in the family business is a birthright.
 
 
Family members are encouraged to work in the business, and remuneration and dividends depend on family needs. In ownership-first family businesses, time horizons for investments and perceived risk are the most important issues. Management-first family businesses require work experience outside the family firm as a prerequisite for employment of family members.
 
 
Family firms need to be aware of their main orientation, as this will guide their strategic decisions. In the case of Paddy's Italia, it looks as though the business has moved from an ownership-first or management first family business, to a family-first business. It needs to be decided which orientation the family firm will take into the future. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other potential issues to consider In law involvement
 
 
 
 
Situation

Stephen's son, Dominic, is married with children. His wife comes from a different family background to the O'Hare's, with different values and
ways of communicating.
 
 
She is very straight to the point, whereas in the O'Hare family they tend to hint and beat about the bush a little bit. She doesn't get on with Stephen and is always pushing for Dominic to take his Father's position as MD of the business.
 
 
 
 
 
Points to consider:

Approaches to this issue vary, and there are interesting cultural differences around the world.
 
 
At one extreme(common in some Mediterranean countries and in Latin America), in-laws are fully accepted and enjoy family member status in relation to the business. At the other extreme (expecially in the U.S.), in-laws are often excluded, not just from share ownership, but also from any involvement in the business or its family governance architecture.
 
 
One of our 'case companies' has take a middle course. They have adopted a formal entry process to the family business covering both young family members and their prospective spouses. They are invited to annual meetings (before which they sign confidentiality agreements) at which they receive a detailed briefing from family leaders on financial and trust arrangements in place, along with the opportunities and roles available for new family members.
 
 
The main aim of the briefings is to ensure that each new family member finds out what their new family can expect and what is expected of them. With benefits balanced by obligations, the positive message is clear – that new members are welcomed into the family, but they are required to respect rules and traditions that have developed
across generations.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other potential issues to consider Brothers vs. sisters – women in business
 
 
 
 
Situation

Emilio and Dominic are brothers, both work within the family business.
Dominic is older than Emilio and has been in the Business since he graduated...Emilio has gone onto college but has always worked summers and Holidays in the Family Business and now works part time.
 
 
Emilio has discovered that their Father has decided to make their sister Rachel who is recent masters graduate an HR Director...Dominic thinks
this is a great idea, whereas Emilio is freaking and saying that it just cannot happen....
 
 
 
 
 
Points to consider:

In May 2014, the Irish Independent published an impressive list of businesswomen entitled, "The 50 most
influential and powerful women in business." Such a list would have been unimaginable even 30 years ago, and it
stands as a testament to the tenacity, ability and ambition of women in business. Among those 50 were Margaret
Heffernan and Sharon McMahon of Dunnes Stores, Caroline Keeling of Keelings Fruit and Marion O'Gorman of the
Kilkenny Group
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
10 Questions to Ask Before Family and Friends Become Business Partners
Wednesday, 22 June 2016 15:27

Bringing a family member or friend on board as a business partner may seem like a fine idea, but the relationship can prove tricky to navigate--or to end, if things don't go well. "It's easy to get into business, but it's hard to get out," says Wayne Rivers, president of the Family Business Institute, a consulting firm based in Raleigh, N.C.

 

 

That means you need to take a step back and think carefully before partnering with a friend or relative. Here are 10 key questions to consider:

 

 

Are we in it for the same reasons?


Be clear about your goals. Do you want to expand your business and eventually sell it, or build something your family can pass down? "The mistake is not being clear about what your intentions are," says David Ransburg, a consultant with The Family Business Consulting Group, Inc., based in Chicago. If you don't have the same goals for the business, you'll have a hard time making plans or coming to a consensus on big decisions.

 

 

What is this person bringing to the job?


Don't let your relationship color how qualified and well suited for the job your potential partner might be. Think about the credentials and level of commitment you would expect from anyone you were giving such a key role in the company. You may want to write a job description with qualification requirements and see how the experiences of a friend or family member measure up, Rivers says.

 

 

Should you offer an equity stake in the business?


You need to decide whether you want to offer your new partner an equity interest in the company, and if so, how much and how soon. Not only do you want to be sure a potential partner can add value to the business before sharing ownership, but you also should consider giving the person an interest in the business over a period of time, say five years, rather than all at once, says John Davis, faculty chair of the Families in Business Program at Harvard Business School. It can be easy to deal informally with family and friends, but you want to make the terms clear in a signed shareholder agreement.

 

 

What will happen when we can't agree?


Resolving conflicts with family and close friends can be particularly challenging because personal feelings can easily get mixed up with business decisions. "With friends and family... you might make more knee jerk reactions," says Ira Bryck, Director of the UMass Family Business Center in Amherst, Mass. "You can be your worst self where you need to be your best self." You will need to figure out a way to remain professional by taking personal feelings out of decision-making and focusing instead on objective measurements and standards.

 

 

How in sync is our risk tolerance?


Despite your personal connections, you and a family member or friend may feel very differently about taking risks. For example, an older sibling who saw his parents take many risks when starting the family business might be more willing to take risks himself than a younger sibling who got involved later when the company was more established, Bryck says. Determine how in sync you are on such vital decisions as launching new products or trying out new forms of advertising. While you can certainly disagree from time to time, you don't want to constantly butt heads.

 

 

What will each of our roles be?


In a 2010 study of 518 family-owned businesses, the most successful ones had made each person's role in the company clear upfront, says Tracy Shaw, assistant vice president of business market development at MassMutual Financial Group, which oversaw the "FamilyPreneurship" study. For Lidia and Uli Fluhme, married founders of Gran Fondo NY, which began running an annual 110-mile cycling event in New York in 2011, the division of labor has been clear from the get-go. While Lidia Fluhme takes care of logistical aspects of the event, her husband is responsible for interacting with cyclists and handling marketing and legal matters. "He's the visionary, and I'm the implementer of what happens," she says.

 

 

How will we keep our personal and professional lives separate?


When working with family or close friends, the boundaries between your personal and professional lives are bound to blur. But you can maintain some work-life balance if you establish a few rules. For example, you might agree not to discuss work during family meals or to talk about personal matters at work only in an emergency.

 

 

How will this person be evaluated?


Family and friends tend to sweep a lot of things under the rug in business rather than addressing them, Rivers says. But you need to hold one another accountable and figure out how you will evaluate each other's performance on a regular basis. If providing feedback, especially criticism, seems too difficult given your personal relationship, you can seek out a third party for the assessments, Rivers says.

 

 

If it doesn't work out, what do we do?


It isn't unusual to want to change your career, but when you're in business with a close friend or family member, you might feel you can't leave because it will hurt your personal relationship. Before asking a family member or friend to become your partner, consider what might happen if one or both of you wants out. How will you handle the exiting partner's shares? Who will take over the responsibilities of the departing partner? What will this do to your personal relationship?

 

 

What will our succession plan look like?


Even if you both plan to stick it out for the long haul, you're still going to have to think about your successors. Unfortunately, succession planning often goes unaddressed because it suggests mortality, illness or other unpleasant life events you'd rather not discuss. But failing to address succession planning "is like getting on a plane with a pilot who hasn't learned how to land the plane," Bryck says. "You really need to sit down and have this difficult discussion."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225613

 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 3 of 24