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'My father left the entire farm to my brother. What can I do?'

Tuesday, 09 January 2018

"Not being fully included in a will can be a matter of losing your life's Work"     Q. I am a farmer's son and am now in my fifties.

 

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Problem Solver: How do I get my father to let go after handing over reins?

Tuesday, 09 January 2018

Fergal Quinn gives his advice below to a successor on the common struggle of a famiy business Handover.     Q. I am 33 and have been

 

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7 Reasons for Enduring Power of Attorney

Tuesday, 09 January 2018

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a document in which you appoint who should look after your personal and your financial affairs in the event

 

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The Difficulty of Succession for Family Businesses
Tuesday, 07 June 2016 09:55

One sensitive issue for midsize companies, particularly family-owned businesses, is succession. How does one generation pass on control to the next?

 

MR. KEYT: Family business, when leveraged correctly, can actually be a great opportunity for millennials. Millennials love to have meaning and purpose in what they do, and when a family is behind the business's values and its vision for the future, it can be really empowering to a millennial.

 

 

MR. BERMAN: It doesn't make much sense for a family business to be passed on to family. It should be, at least in theory, passed on to the person with the best economic outcome for that enterprise.

 

 

MR. KEYT: The best family businesses have that approach. Family businesses, when working well, understand that we have to do what's right for the business, and to balance that with what's right for the family and the family's economic interest.

 

 

MR. BERMAN: What percentage of businesses have that enlightened view on the world?

 

 

 

 

 

To read the full article, go to: http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-difficulty-of-succession-for-family-businesses-1464832923

 
Avoid the Traps That Can Destroy Family Businesses
Thursday, 02 June 2016 15:11

Nearly 75 years ago a charismatic Brazilian entrepreneur named Enrique Rosset started an eponymous textile and apparel manufacturing company in São Paulo. Some 40 years later he and his oldest son decided to diversify by acquiring Valisere, an upscale but failing lingerie business.

Over the decades, Enrique and his four sons transformed their operation into one of South America's leading textile and apparel manufacturers. During the 1990s Grupo Rosset expanded into swimwear, with great success. But the family knew the business faced critical strategic challenges.

The rise of shopping malls was weakening the small Brazilian retailers who'd made up Rosset's primary distribution channel. Chinese imports were beginning to pose serious competition.

The advent of digital fabric printing would undercut Rosset's core manufacturing strength unless the company adopted the technology itself. Enrique's sons, who'd led the firm for 20 years, had to make a crucial decision about which of the five members of the third generation should assume the leadership role.

 

In the United States, a familiar aphorism—"Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations"—describes the propensity of family-owned enterprises to fail by the time the founder's grandchildren have taken charge. Variations on that phrase appear in other languages, too.

The data support the saying. Some 70% of family-owned businesses fail or are sold before the second generation gets a chance to take over. Just 10% remain active, privately held companies for the third generation to lead. In contrast to publicly owned firms, in which the average CEO tenure is six years, many family businesses have the same leaders for 20 or 25 years, and these extended tenures can increase the difficulties of coping with shifts in technology, business models, and consumer behavior.

Today family firms in developing markets face new threats from globalization. In many ways, leading a family-owned business has never been harder.

 

The high failure rates of family businesses may seem unavoidable. They're not. In our work advising these types of companies, we see them repeatedly caught in the same traps. Recognizing and learning to avoid those traps can boost the odds of long-term survival.

 

 

 

Trap #1: "There's Always a Place For You Here"


Some proprietors of family-owned firms make their children feel obligated to join the company, which can backfire by creating a crop of managers who aren't interested in being there. More often, though, we see parents emphasize that their offspring are free to join the business if they so choose. If the company is successful, those children are likely to have been raised amid wealth, which broadens their choices as adults. Generally this situation translates into an unspoken promise that "there's always a place for you here," which can lead children to treat the business as a fallback option. We've encountered many companies that are populated by next-generation members who failed in other businesses or spent their 20s (and sometimes their 30s) as aspiring athletes, artists, or musicians before signing on to the firm as unprepared 40-somethings. Despite their lack of experience, these offspring may ascend to leadership positions because of the family connection, increasing the chances that the business will fail.

 

To escape the trap: Insist on proper training and screening.


It's natural for a family business to welcome members of the next generation, and it's healthy to expose them to the company at an early age, so that they can make an informed decision about whether to pursue a career there. But a job with the company shouldn't be an entitlement. Those who want to join deserve no special accommodation. We now see an emerging best practice in which families formally require any child who wants a job to (a) earn a university degree—and in some cases a graduate degree, (b) gain several years of relevant professional experience outside the family business, and (c) apply for open positions in competition with nonfamily applicants. At one European firm we know of, family members applying for a job must be at least 26 years old, have earned a master's degree in business or engineering, speak three languages, and have won two promotions within five years at a nonfamily firm. And they are given only one opportunity to apply: If they're turned down, they must go elsewhere.

Even firms that already employ many family members can benefit from rigorous performance and potential assessments. At Gerdau S.A., the four brothers in the fourth generation of the Johannpeter family had run the business very profitably for more than 20 years when they began thinking about succession, in the mid-1990s—long before they planned to step aside. They hired a search firm to evaluate Gerdau's top 60 executives, including five next-­generation family members, for appointment to a newly created executive committee. They used this objective assessment to encourage some family members to pursue careers outside the business. Those people left gracefully and did well in other endeavors.

Four years later the family worked with another set of outside advisers to identify five candidates for CEO. Among those recommended were two fifth-generation cousins with extensive experience in the business. The company sent the two for advanced executive training at leading U.S. business schools and subsequently put them in charge of key business units for several years. In late 2006 the top-­performing family member was appointed CEO, and his cousin became COO. Today four of the five CEO candidates remain with Gerdau, and the company's revenues have grown from $13 billion in 2006 to $20 billion in 2010.

 

 

 

 


Trap #2: The Business Can't Grow Fast Enough to Support Everyone


An underappreciated problem is that families often grow more quickly than their businesses do. If a company founder has three children, each of whom marries and produces three more children, each of whom marries, within three generations there could be 25 people or more (including all the spouses) working or looking to work at the company. Many businesses simply don't have enough work to employ every family member.

 

To escape the trap: Manage family entry and scale for growth.


Families that have avoided Trap #1 by ensuring that only committed, qualified relatives are allowed to join the firm have already reduced the magnitude of Trap #2. Another solution is to develop strategies to grow the business and create responsibilities for additional family employees.

Mitchells, a high-end clothing retailer in Westport, Connecticut, took this approach. Jack Mitchell and his brother, Bill, inherited the store from their father, Ed, who'd founded it in 1958. A decade ago, as Jack and Bill anticipated handing leadership to their seven children (each of whom had graduated from college and obtained relevant experience before joining the store), they realized that the business would have to grow to provide enough high-level roles to go around. Mitchells' key strength is a customer relationship management system that helps salespeople bond with clients and suggest suitable products for them. In 1995 Mitchells bought a failing men's clothier in nearby Greenwich and utilized its own CRM system to turn the store around. Since then it's acquired retailers on Long Island and in northern California and has dispatched members of the next generation to run the stores in those locations. This strategy not only provided sufficient revenue to support the various family employees but also gave all of them their own operations to lead.

 

 

 

 

Trap #3: Family Members Remain in Silos According to Bloodline


One of the most striking things we've noticed about family businesses is the tendency of fathers and sons (and increasingly daughters) to specialize in the same aspect of the business, whether it's finance, operations, or marketing. This can be problematic for several reasons. First, by staying in specialized silos, next-generation managers fail to gain the cross-functional expertise needed for executive leadership. Second, when close family members supervise one another, the personal dynamic can prevent candid feedback and interfere with coaching. Together these factors can create a leadership vacuum in the up-and-coming generation. This may prompt the current generation to stay in the top positions too long, limiting the company's adaptability to change.

 

To escape the trap: Appoint non­family mentors.
In a small enterprise, it may be impractical to prohibit family members from supervising one another. But even in these cases, companies should minimize the time that employees spend working for immediate relatives. Some companies assign an experienced non­family mentor to each younger family member, to provide the objective performance evaluation and critical advice an employee in a nonfamily business typically gets. For this to work, the coach must operate under a protective umbrella, immune from retribution by the family.

 

It's unrealistic to think you can create a nepotism-free family-owned business, and it's important to recognize that family enterprises will always operate by different rules. For instance, even the largest family-controlled, publicly traded firms manage dividends differently from the way non-family companies do. It's also worth recognizing that family ownership can provide a welcome counterbalance to the short-term incentives offered to most managers. To survive over the long haul, however, family firms need to adopt formal policies about whom to employ, whom to promote, and how to balance family and business interests. If more companies take these steps and survive the treacherous transitions from one generation to another, everyone will benefit.

 

 

 

 


Source: https://hbr.org/2012/01/avoid-the-traps-that-can-destroy-family-businesses&cm_sp=Article-_-Links-_-End%20of%20Page%20Recirculation

 
Advisors help small-biz owners keep it in the family
Wednesday, 01 June 2016 15:28

The statistics on the unhappy fates of family businesses are well known in the wealth-management world.

 

Only 30 percent of family businesses make a successful transition from the founders to the second generation, 13 percent make it to the third generation, and just 3 percent make it to the fourth.

 

Those statistics don't reflect the fact that many families choose to sell their businesses and/or successfully enter new businesses and new markets, but they do highlight the very difficult path that families have in maintaining ownership of a business.

 

"Family businesses account for a big percentage of [gross domestic product], but they are inherently fragile and subject to fragmentation," said Douglas Box, founder of Box Family Advisors. "That's borne out by the data on the lack of successful successions. Even those lucky enough to make a transition will still have major challenges," he added.

 

 

The thousands of family businesses run by baby boomers approaching retirement age have some big decisions to make. And with thin and increasingly volatile markets this summer suggesting that the time to sell is running out, those decisions are all the more crucial to a family's well-being.

 

"A lot of people regret not selling [their businesses] before the great recession of 2008," said certified financial planner Bob Klosterman, founder of White Oaks Wealth Advisors.

 

All families are unique, with their own dynamics and dysfunctions, and there is no ideal fix to optimize the management of a family business and protect the family's wealth. Business owners typically need the full array of professional services, from lawyers and certified public accountants to financial advisors, estate planners and family psychologists.

 

 

However, it's not the tax strategies or the trust vehicles, the investment programs or the estate-planning tricks that matter most for owners and members of a family business; rather, it's the "soft" stuff, like communication, emotional honesty and a willingness to consider the perspectives of all family members.

 

"There can be multiple good choices for families owning businesses," said Judy Green, president of the Family Firm Institute, which conducts education for owners of family businesses. "It's about how families will agree to come to decisions. It's a process, and being willing to engage in the process is the biggest thing," she explained.

 

 

While wealthy families aren't likely to get a lot of sympathy for their troubles, the truth is, businesses can often become a major source of conflict, uncertainty and general fear and loathing among family members. Rivalries and resentments, and unresolved issues between parents, children and siblings can and do destroy wealthy families.

 

The key to avoiding that, say advisors, is to give a full airing of the family's dirty laundry and to consider basic questions about the importance of the business to family members.

 

"The odds are against high-net-worth business owners from the get-go," said Jim Brennan, a senior family wealth advisor for GenSpring Family Offices. "Families often address complex planning issues first instead of determining the wishes of the second and third generations. They need to do the family stuff first."

 

Here are three basic questions family business owners need to address before getting into details about how best to manage a transition in the business and preserve their wealth.

 

The statistics on the unhappy fates of family businesses are well known in the wealth-management world.

 

Only 30 percent of family businesses make a successful transition from the founders to the second generation, 13 percent make it to the third generation, and just 3 percent make it to the fourth.

 

Those statistics don't reflect the fact that many families choose to sell their businesses and/or successfully enter new businesses and new markets, but they do highlight the very difficult path that families have in maintaining ownership of a business.

 

"Family businesses account for a big percentage of [gross domestic product], but they are inherently fragile and subject to fragmentation," said Douglas Box, founder of Box Family Advisors. "That's borne out by the data on the lack of successful successions. Even those lucky enough to make a transition will still have major challenges," he added.

 

 

The thousands of family businesses run by baby boomers approaching retirement age have some big decisions to make. And with thin and increasingly volatile markets this summer suggesting that the time to sell is running out, those decisions are all the more crucial to a family's well-being.

 

"A lot of people regret not selling [their businesses] before the great recession of 2008," said certified financial planner Bob Klosterman, founder of White Oaks Wealth Advisors.
All families are unique, with their own dynamics and dysfunctions, and there is no ideal fix to optimize the management of a family business and protect the family's wealth. Business owners typically need the full array of professional services, from lawyers and certified public accountants to financial advisors, estate planners and family psychologists.

 

 

However, it's not the tax strategies or the trust vehicles, the investment programs or the estate-planning tricks that matter most for owners and members of a family business; rather, it's the "soft" stuff, like communication, emotional honesty and a willingness to consider the perspectives of all family members.

 

"There can be multiple good choices for families owning businesses," said Judy Green, president of the Family Firm Institute, which conducts education for owners of family businesses. "It's about how families will agree to come to decisions. It's a process, and being willing to engage in the process is the biggest thing," she explained.

 

 


While wealthy families aren't likely to get a lot of sympathy for their troubles, the truth is, businesses can often become a major source of conflict, uncertainty and general fear and loathing among family members. Rivalries and resentments, and unresolved issues between parents, children and siblings can and do destroy wealthy families.

 

The key to avoiding that, say advisors, is to give a full airing of the family's dirty laundry and to consider basic questions about the importance of the business to family members.

 

"The odds are against high-net-worth business owners from the get-go," said Jim Brennan, a senior family wealth advisor for GenSpring Family Offices. "Families often address complex planning issues first instead of determining the wishes of the second and third generations. They need to do the family stuff first."

 

Here are three basic questions family business owners need to address before getting into details about how best to manage a transition in the business and preserve their wealth.

 

 

 

 

1. What's the purpose of the business?

 

It may be self-evident that a family business is intended to support and sustain its family members, but business owners need to address the basic issue of what the business means to the family.

 

"One of the biggest questions owners need to answer is why ... they [are] in business," said Joan Ridley, a certified financial planner and president of Business Wealth Solutions. "Is the purpose of the business to keep family members employed, or is to grow family wealth?"

 

The answer to that question can and likely will differ depending on which family members are asked. It's crucial that the desires and expectations of all members of the family are understood, and in most cases it will require the help of an outside counselor or psychologist to get there.

 

 

"It can get ugly," said certified financial planner Grant Rawdin, founder and CEO of Wescott Financial Advisory Group, which has an organizational psychologist on staff. "There can be a lot of hard feelings, and it's important for them to come out," he explained, adding, "Sometimes they can be petty grievances or childhood issues, and sometimes they can be smart and important to the business."

 

 

 

 

2. Do you have a 'family constitution'?

 

Once a full airing of family issues is undertaken, the next step is to draft a "family constitution," or mission statement, that can serve as a blueprint for making important decisions.

 

"Everyone has opinions about how things should work," said Klosterman of White Oaks Wealth Advisors. "With a lot of people involved, it's very difficult without a process. It's crucial that families develop a unifying message about running the business and about their interaction with their community and each other," he added.

 

GenSpring's Brennan starts the process with anonymous surveys of all family members to determine the values that are important to each of them. From there, he looks to build a structure for a business plan to fit those family values. "We try to make a compilation of shared family values and not focus on disparate values of family members," he said. "Consensus is the goal."

 

 

 

3. Succession or sale?

 

Once the answers to the first two questions are determined, business owners will be in a much better position to decide whether a business should remain in the family or be sold to outsiders.

 

Business founders may want their children to succeed them, but their children may not have the qualifications or desire to take over the business. In some cases, family conflicts may be so bitter that an internal transition may be impossible.

 

Box at Box Family Advisors suggests families go slow and make sure they consult all members about their views of the business and their aspirations. "The worst decisions are usually made when Dad and a lawyer cook something up without consulting anyone else," he said. "This is where families blow up."

 

 

"Families often don't realize they're held together by a business, and when they sell it, they fall apart."

 

 

Box also said that selling a business is usually his last suggestion to clients. "Families often don't realize they're held together by a business, and when they sell it, they fall apart."

 

 

When Box's father, former professional football player Cloyce Box, died, he and his three brothers went through a bitter conflict that ended up in a forced sale of the oil business their father founded.

 

 

 

"The family enterprise had kept us together; now we don't have as much to talk about," he said. "There's a bond that will never be there again because of what we went through."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.cnbc.com/2014/08/25/advisors-help-small-biz-owners-keep-it-in-the-family.html

 
6 Steps to Apply for Credit.
Monday, 30 May 2016 09:22
1. PREPARE Business Plan: 
Prepare your business plan. Get help from a professional advisor, accountant or from a Government Agency. Looking for one? go to our Advisor locator map: http://www.familybusiness.ie/professional-advisors 
 
 
 
 
2. ENSURE it is ROBUST:
Ensure it demonstrates viability or capacity to repay the loan over a given period. Use a standard business plan template. These are widely available online. Include all back up
documentation and any third party validation. 
 
 
 
 
 
3. FORMAL Written Application:
Make a formal written application to your bank using a standard application form.
 
 
 
 
 
4. Application APPROVED by bank?
 
Yes? - CREDIT GRANTED
 
 
No? - Ask your bank to put you forward for the Credit Guarantee Scheme. For futher info. visit www.djei.ie/enterprise/smes/creditguarantee.htm 
Alternatively, apply for Microfinance Ireland Scheme. For further information visit www.microfinanceireland.ie 
 
 
 
 
 
5. Internal APPEAL:  
Seek an internal appeal within pillar banks and Ulster Bank. If unsuccessful: For pillar bank application less than €500k made by SME's, see step 6.
 
 
 
 
 
6. Independent REVIEW: 
Seek an independent review by the Credit Review Office www.creditreview.ie 
 
 
 
Source: 
 
 
 
How to Keep a Family Business Alive for Generations
Thursday, 26 May 2016 11:20

Here's a sobering fact for entrepreneurs passionate about their business creations: Most family-owned businesses lose that creative spark in subsequent generations.

 

The reason is that the personality traits that spur a founder to create something unique—passion, hunger, obsession and others—disappear over the years. The company either crumbles quickly or lingers on as growth sputters and the family lives off wealth accumulated by previous generations. Often, they end up pouring more and more money into the failing enterprise or treat running the business as a lifestyle choice rather than a way to bring in money.

 

But it's not impossible for family businesses to keep the entrepreneurial fire burning. Some companies not only last a long time, but keep growing and evolving.

 

We decided to investigate that question, along with our colleague Sabine Rau from King's College in London. We studied 21 family-owned wineries in Germany that were ready to make a generational transition. The average winery was founded 11 generations ago in the 18th century, and the oldest started passing the torch 33 generations ago in the 10th.

 

We interviewed the current generation's leaders and their children, who were in the process of taking over. About half claimed to have maintained a spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation across generations, being among the first in their industry to take steps such as growing new grape varieties, introducing new products and adopting the latest production technologies.

 

We called the other half of the wineries "traditional." They were stable or growing slowly, but they never claimed to be particularly entrepreneurial, and the current generation followed rather than led, only adopting new technology or entering new markets after competitors paved the way.

 

Our conclusion? Five factors distinguish the very entrepreneurial families from the ones that were following a well-trodden path.

 

 

They pass along family history.

The innovative families have what we call an "Entrepreneurial Legacy" that is passed from each generation to the next: a narrative about the family's achievements and how it survived tough times, such as the great-great-great-great-uncle who rode his horse to Paris to repurchase the family winery at auction after it was seized by Napoleon. Stories of how the family overcame theft, natural disasters, economic hardship and war are told repeatedly at the dinner table and family gatherings. They give meaning to today's entrepreneurial actions and put current risks and problems in a broader context. It is hard to complain about losing a customer knowing your great-grandparents overcame war and starvation to build the business.

 

In contrast, both generations in the less entrepreneurial "traditional" wineries either lacked knowledge about their history or played it down as a product of chance. They lacked pride in their ancestors' achievements.

 

 

They get the youngsters started early.

Entrepreneurial families immerse their children in the business from an early age. From planting and pruning vines to packing and shipping bottles, the children—and members of the extended family—are involved. These families actively resist the view that childhood is foremost a time to play and explore.

 

Children in the traditional wineries, on the other hand, didn't make their children work regularly in the family business, and some parents even considered it harmful. As a result, the children didn't develop the same kind of emotional attachment to the business.

 

 

They insist on practical education.

Both entrepreneurial and traditional families encourage secondary education. But while the traditional parents encouraged their children to find their own paths, entrepreneurial parents endorsed attending the best colleges in the world and encouraged studying topics that are relevant to winemaking, such as business and law. After college, before joining the family business, most children from entrepreneurial families went to work for competitors or in other wine-related businesses around the world.

 

Both groups came home well educated, but only the entrepreneurial children were also multilingual global citizens, poised to grow the family business. For children from traditional firms, taking over was "an obligation" and a "family tradition," but not an "entrepreneurial passion."

 

 

 

They learn from the younger generation.

As a result of embracing the family's entrepreneurial legacy, childhood immersion in the business and a strategically focused world-class education, entrepreneurial families enjoy "entrepreneurial leaps" when a child comes home and re-enters the business.

 

Traditional family firms use a "relay" succession, where the parent and child work together so the child can learn the business. In entrepreneurial families, though, the child is the teacher. The parents run day-to-day operations while the children use what they learned outside the family firm to develop new product lines, enter new markets and adopt the latest winemaking technology.

 

 

They have one owner.

Period. Finally, entrepreneurial families protect their businesses from being sold or split by giving ownership to one child. The successor inherits a social obligation to take care of his or her siblings, but the philosophy is that the family is better off with a successful winery that benefits everyone, even if it means that the children receive unequal inheritances.

 

Also, because all siblings grew up the same way and were offered the same educational advantages, even those who don't take over the family business still benefit from their entrepreneurial legacy.

 

 

In fact, siblings in entrepreneurial families regularly pursued educational paths similar to the designated successor. Although the siblings weren't given the family business, they were given financial and emotional support for their own entrepreneurial ventures, most of which were in the same or in related areas, such as wine stores, restaurants and hotels.

 

A related step is that entrepreneurial families actively integrate future in-laws into the family by including them in family retreats and shared holidays. A few even hired consultants to help them improve family communications. Good relations with in-laws help cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs, while poor relations often fuel the demise of entrepreneurial families.

 

Can the same strategies work in today?  A number of trends may make it difficult. Families are getting smaller, as well as less cohesive and less stable—which means fewer potential successors and a tougher transition from one generation of ownership to the next. Childhood is also increasingly viewed as a time for play and innocence, not a time to work. And the idea of giving one child more than another strikes many parents as unfair.

 

Still, families can share stories, and the evidence we found suggests that telling and retelling tales about the family's entrepreneurial legacy inspires children toward entrepreneurship, both inside and outside the family firm. If there is an entrepreneur in your family, tell his or her story. It might become the steppingstone toward an entrepreneurial legacy that lasts for generations.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-keep-a-family-business-alive-for-generations-1448045760

 

 
Profit is Personal for a Family Business
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 13:39

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/

 
Starting a Family Business? Here's a Slice of Advice.
Tuesday, 24 May 2016 15:12

Brothers Kelly and Keith Toppazzini are the owners of Canada-based Topper's Pizza, a pizza franchise their father, Ron, founded back in 1982. Over the last 33 years, their family business has expanded to 35 traditional quick-service pizzerias and one traditional location.

 

From a young age, both Kelly and Keith were involved in the planning, construction and operation of the the first location. Here, they share these best practices for keeping a family business thriving.

 

 

Set rules to establish culture


The right set of rules helps to cultivate the business culture family business owners want. "To cultivate a happy, successful, energetic and passionate team, all members must be in alignment and in sync," Kelly explains.

 

Kelly hired advisers to create "Toppazzini Rules," a set of guidelines intended to protect the entire team and preserve company culture. One of the rules is designed to promote fairness and avoid nepotism -- and there are no exceptions. For example, Kelly's daughter is graduating this year, and has to work somewhere else for two years before she can apply for a senior position in the family business.

 

 

 

 

Nurture your people


It's important as a leader to help each team member figure out how they can grow their careers. Kelly asks her employees the following questions: What are your goals? How do you want to grow with this company? Where do you see yourself in the next five to 10 years? The brothers try to operate with 100-percent transparency, which leads to trust and a sense that there is a level playing field for advancing in the family business.

 

 

 

 

Promote non-family members


Kelly explained that one of the keys to building a successful franchise system is to promote non-family members to senior roles. Hiring senior level employees at the director level is a key business strategy that Topper's is relying on to take their family business to the next level. Kelly finds that, in addition to providing new perspective, non-family leaders reduce emotionally-charged decision making.

 

 

 

 

Treat customers like family


Family businesses have a unique competitive advantage. Families who do business together want to build a legacy, which is different from just building a business to sell it. "The continuous level of care that a family brings to the business really affects your sales in a positive way," Kelly says. "Family members will always take care of the customers, which creates loyalty from customers, which in turn increases our sales overall." The Topper's team extends that level of care to the community, making it a point to partner with several charitable organizations.

 

 

 

Instill core values


Running a family-owned business isn't for everyone. "New businesses are tough to start and tougher to grow," warns Kelly.

Couples should start a family business if they are able to create a strong foundation of communication and trust; their talents and strengths should also complement one another.

 

Exposing kids to the family business is also important. Kelly's children, for instance, have worked for the company as part-time employees while going to school.

 

Finally, Kelly advises that business owners remain as hands on as possible. He spends much of his time shaping the company culture and communicating with the operational team.

 

And when it comes to strategizing a plan for his business, he doesn't just leave it to chance; he travels to different locations to gather information, looking for ways to improve the products and the brand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243869

 
10 Tips for Bringing Your Children Into the Family Business
Monday, 23 May 2016 13:37

Thinking about bringing your children into your family or small business? Beware! This can be either a blessing or a curse depending on how you do it. Experience shows there are right ways to introduce your offspring into your business and, most decidedly, wrong ways. The following are 10 tips for pursuing the former and avoiding the latter.

 

 

 

1) Have them work elsewhere for at least five years.

There are plenty of rationalizations for why people hire their children as soon as formal schooling has ended. "We need help right away." "They would learn more here than they would anywhere else." "I'm getting older, and I need my potential successors around me." All are good reasons; however, the main reasons for having your children work elsewhere have to do with them, not you! They need time to mature, individuate and gain confidence learning and doing things as distinct human beings rather than just children of successful parents. They need to learn how to work, to be punctual, to earn their own money and to be held accountable. Everyone wins when potential successors have excellent training and gain skills and confidence outside the nuclear family.

 

 

 

2) Understand generational differences.

Today's young people are more to more likely to want to "work to live." Contrast that with their parent's "live to work" orientation. The generation gap is very much alive in family businesses; the senior generation is mystified that their children don't want to work 80-hour work weeks. They see the live-to-work mind-set as a lack of commitment to the business, and that's not entirely fair nor is it cognizant of their children's – and other younger employees — desires for a different workplace experience.

 

 

 

3) Give them psychometric assessments to make sure their personalities and capabilities fit the jobs contemplated.

Two older brothers were very frustrated with their younger sibling. He just didn't seem capable. Assessments revealed that he was temperamentally unsuited for his role in the family firm; he was in a position that demanded amazing attention to detail and strict deadlines, but he had much more of a big-picture, laissez-faire attitude. How had he come to be in this position? His older brothers, having entered the family business earlier, took the roles for which they were best suited. When he came along, the only management position available was this one; he was very much a square peg in a round hole. Some initial assessment for job fit would've gone a long way toward improving both business function and family harmony.

 

 

 

4) Hold them strictly accountable.

 but not to an unreasonable standard. Family members, more than any other employees, need to be held accountable for their actions. They need to have crystal-clear roles and responsibilities and regular reviews to make sure they're living up to the requirements of their job descriptions. The biggest morale killer in small businesses is underperforming or dysfunctional family members who are allowed to meander through various roles in the business with virtually no accountability and to inflict themselves on others in the organization. The opportunity costs for coddling underperforming family members are tremendous.

 

 

 

5) Communicate formally and regularly with a third-party facilitator.

It's hard to be in a family, and it's really hard to be a member of a family business. You can take to the bank the fact that virtually every family employee thinks she works harder and contributes more than anyone else and stews over this "fact." Family businesses have a greater need for formal communication in order to resolve perceived contribution issues as well as discuss and resolve a host of other pressing family and business ones. If they could discuss these often volatile topics constructively and productively by themselves, they would. Since they usually can't, they should seek the help of a talented facilitator to get the most out of themselves and their meetings.

 

 

 

6) Don't assume there's interest in working in the business.

In the 1995 movie "Sabrina," Harrison Ford laments to Julia Ormond, "I've been following in footsteps all my life." Don't assume that your children or grandchildren want to follow in your footsteps. And they shouldn't assume that you want them to! A family member entering your small business ought to do so intentionally of his free will. Make entry into the business formal and deliberate vs. casual and impulsive. A family hire should be treated at least as carefully and rigorously as any other hire.

 

 

 

7) You shouldn't hire a family member because he "needs a job."

Related – don't let anyone flunk into a job. You should demand that a potential family hire be able to walk into your place of business with his head held high. He should be able to point to accomplishments in previous jobs, promotions and valuable leadership experiences. Hiring a family member who is down on his luck or who can't seem to hold a job anywhere else is a recipe for poor morale.

 

 

 

 

8) Don't pay family members the same.

The default payment plan for many family businesses is to pay all next generation family members the same. After all, you love them the same, right? This is foolish. Every employee, family member or not, brings different talents, skills, attitudes, ambitions and capabilities. Family members, like everyone else, should get paid wages commensurate with what the market bears for the given position.

 

 

 

 

9) Avoid turning in-laws into outlaws.

Some family businesses view in-laws with a jaded eye. Shouldn't someone with the intelligence and good sense to marry your son or daughter also be judged to have the good sense to know how to work productively in a family business context? Why does it make sense to ignore the capabilities and talents of in-laws as potential employees and even business successors?

 

 

 

 

10) Get rid of morale killers.

It is sometimes necessary to prune the family tree. Several times a year we get calls from family business leaders who are wrestling with underperforming, sometimes incompetent, family members. The acid test question: "If this person were not your son, would you keep him on your payroll?" The answer almost always comes back a profound "NO!" Pruning the family tree almost always results in business productivity improvement. There are, however, usually family repercussions. See the point above about hiring a skilled facilitator to manage difficult family conversations.

 

Managing the intersection between family and business is quite difficult. These 10 tips will help you realize that delicate balance more effectively.

 

 

 

 

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/experts/2016/05/03/10-tips-for-bringing-your-children-into-the-family-business/

 

 

 
My Big Idea: The Dubliner who's marketing frozen veg in a fresh way
Thursday, 19 May 2016 10:47
A man branching out on his own from a Family Business.
 
 
Sam Dennigan (30) from Oldtown in North County Dublin is the founder of Strong Roots, a new frozen sweet potato chip brand.For ten years I worked for my family's business, Sam Dennigan & Company, one of Ireland's biggest fruit and vegetable distributors.
 
 
I worked across all parts of the business, from market stalls to IT and eventually to sales and marketing, where I managed several frozen vegetable brands.
 
It was there I saw the opportunity for Strong Roots.
 
 
Frozen vegetables have always been marketed in quite a boring way and perceived as low quality by consumers, whereas lots of fresh vegetables are going through a sort of renaissance, with products like kale and courgette growing rapidly in popularity as shoppers become more health-conscious.
 
 
I realised there was a gap in the market for a frozen vegetable that was marketed like a fresh one.
 
Frozen vegetables are also a good option for a startup because fresh veg is so perishable that it limits your export potential. Frozen food can be held for up to two years.
 
 
I did a lot of research and travel to find a product that would work. I settled on sweet potato fries because sweet potato has soared in popularity in recent years - there's huge demand for it now - but preparing it can be tricky.
 
In my previous role I had managed procurement at one stage and had sourced a large sweet potato contract for a UK company, from a supplier in North Carolina in the US where a lot of the sweet potato consumed in Europe is grown.
 
 
The supplier said that the best way to get the freshest product was to finish it in the US and then ship it. The manufacturer didn't follow that advice but it stuck with me and I settled on that option for Strong Roots.
 
I was accepted onto the Bord Bia/SuperValu Food Academy acceleration programme in April of last year and officially launched the brand at the National Ploughing Championships in September.
 
 
Our first stockist was SuperValu. Normally companies that go through the Food Academy programme start out in 10 stores but because of my background in food and the fact that we had a lot of capacity from the beginning, we were stocked in 100 stores from the start.
 
By Christmas we were in all 200-plus SuperValus nationwide. At the end of March we launched in Dunnes and also have agreements with Hendersons and Musgrave in Northern Ireland.
The plan is to expand into the UK and we are working with two major British companies on that.
 
 
 
I intend to introduce more products, another made from sweet potato and two more from other healthy vegetables.
Vegetables like kale, beet, celeriac and avocado are the focus, ones which are not currently represented in the frozen food isle and are growing in popularity.
 
Five people work on the business now and we are growing fast. It's been fantastic.
 
I initially funded everything myself but that was only sustainable for so long, so we secured a line of credit from Bank of Ireland. Giving away equity may be on the cards to assist the company's expansion in the UK because it is such a big market.
 
I'm keen that we hire great people, and they tend to be expensive, so an employee stock option scheme may be looked at.
 
 
The biggest challenge has been getting used to running all elements of the business, from finance to HR to marketing to strategy to all the niggling little issues that come with running a start-up.
 
 
I was used to just looking after my own department, be it marketing or whatever. That shift has taken a bit of getting used to."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Young farmers often live under parental microscope
Thursday, 19 May 2016 08:47

Below is a short read on a Bob Tosh, a farm management consultant's background and some useful advice for not just farmers but for any family business out there.  

We hope you find it of interest...

 

 

 

I probably stopped paying much attention to my father's opinion when I reached 18.

 

Of course, I take a lot more notice of it now as I've become older and realize the value of his life experience.

 

However, back then I had left home, either working on a farm or attending agriculture college, and our worlds didn't come that close together. I went on to serve in the army, attend university, get married and have a family. I made my own decisions, made my own mistakes and moved away from the close proximity of my parents.

 

As an adult, I can't ever imagine having to ask my parents for money, have them scrutinize what I spent it on or ask permission to go on vacation or get a loan for a new vehicle. I also can't ever imagine my wife having to live and rear our children under the constant gaze of her mother-in-law.

 

And yet this is the reality for so many young farm families who stay on the farm to take over the business.

 

Cash is often tight, and it makes sense to build on the same yard as Mom and Dad or have Mom and Dad move off the yard to accommodate the next generation. Frequently, there is only one bank account, which is operated jointly.

 

And then there may be other things to consider, such as attitudes toward child rearing, money, alcohol, work and education, which may differ between generations and between families. How many times do I hear things like "they can't manage money" or "my son doesn't work as hard as I did?"

 

And yet the reality for most of the world is that the kids leave the nest so that they don't have to endure the constant judgment of their parents. True, they might still be exposed to an opinion or two, but they aren't living and breathing it on a daily basis.

 

I blame the "honeymoon period," which are the early days when everyone is getting along and decisions are made in the glow of family harmony. However, this only sets up families for failure later on.

 

There are three circles of the family business — family, ownership and management — and it's important to know in which circle decisions are being made. As well, no matter which circle you are making a decision in, remember that formality will always be your friend.

 

 

So before you build that new house on the yard, here are a few things to consider:


1. Set boundaries around the overlap between family and business.


2. Understand that everyone needs their own space.


3. Keep in mind that the children are also adults who need financial autonomy.


4. Recognize that your children won't simply accept that they are a source of cheap labour. They will want to manage the business sooner than you might want to let go of the management.


5. Accept that your new daughter-in law-might not react well to your input on child rearing or whether she should work off the farm.

 

 

 

Elaine Froese wrote an excellent book on the topic, called Farming's In-Law Factor. I would urge you all to read it, but do so before you've built that house next door.

 

Begin by reading the sections that apply to others and only later focus on the section that applies to you. This will perhaps help you understand other perspectives before simply looking to reinforce your own.

 

There will need to be compromise from all sides and an ability to communicate so that a difference of opinion doesn't become a personal insult. Don't set yourself up for failure. Put some rules in place before the first foundations are dug.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Bob Tosh, a farm management consultant in MNP's Farm Management Consulting group in Saskatoon

http://www.producer.com/2016/05/young-farmers-often-live-under-parental-microscope/#.VzYWZyiQJGc.linkedin

 

 
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