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Calling all small firm owner-manager/senior managers……

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

The Innovation Value Institute (IVI) at Maynooth University, Ulster University (UU), N. Ireland and Anglia Ruskin University, England are undertaking


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PWC Family Business Report 2019

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

PWC Irish Family Business Report 2019 PWC survey of over 100 businesses, conducted in late 2018, reveals that the Irish family business sector is


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The Impact of Family Business in Ireland

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Although this repost is based on findings up to 2005. It is important to know the impact that family business has in Ireland. 


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How To Handle Divorce In A Family Business
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 09:52

The marriage didn't work out, but if you're in business with your spouse, figuring out what to do with that vital asset is tricky.


Divorce can be a messy situation for almost everyone involved — and adding a family business into the mix certainly doesn't make things any easier, especially when two co-owners part ways.


For obvious reasons, divorce isn't always top-of-mind for couples who go into business together. After all, when you're caught up in the excitement of launching your own venture and seeing your hard work come to life, the last thing you want to plan for is the possibility that it might come to an end. But part of starting and owning a successful business is planning for the unexpected, including the major personal and business-related changes that divorce can bring.


So how can you navigate the process and make it out the other end with your assets and financial standing intact? There are three methods of handling this situation, but each comes with its own pros and cons. Here's a quick breakdown:


Continue to own the business together.

For some people, the thought of co-owning a business with an ex-spouse may not be ideal. But for others, the arrangement can work. If you think that you and your ex-spouse can work well together and continue to run the business, even after the divorce is final, then this may be the best option for you.


There are a few pros to continuing to own the business together: for one, you both get to keep your interest in the business, which means neither you nor your spouse has to sell your respective portions. Another benefit to co-ownership is that there's no need for a valuation of the business, which can be an exceptionally expensive process, depending on the unique complexities of your business.


On the other hand, taking this route also means that you will need to keep in close contact with your ex-spouse to maintain a good working relationship and trust him or her to do what's best for the business. Co-ownership will not work if you can't maintain an amicable business relationship. If this is not a possibility for you, then you may consider the following options when deciding on the future of your business.


Buy out your ex-spouse's half of the business.

Your business is just another asset owned by both of you, so it's going to be treated the same way from a legal and financial perspective. If you're not going to continue sharing the business with your ex-spouse, then it needs to be divided for each of you to get your fair share.


To start, you'll need to hire a business appraiser to perform a valuation of your company. As mentioned earlier, this is a costly process, but you can help save money by hiring one appraiser to perform the valuation. That way, you can split the cost of the valuation with your spouse, rather than branching off and hiring separate appraisers to complete the process (which can double the price).


After the valuation is complete, you can either buy your ex-spouse's half of the business (or vice versa, depending on your unique situation), or you can use other assets for an even exchange. If both you and your ex-spouse want to stay involved in the business, this situation can be particularly difficult; however, if you are more invested in the business than your ex-spouse (or vice versa), it should be pretty easy for you to determine which of you will buy out the other. If you're the spouse who wants to keep the business, now it's all yours.


Unfortunately, keep in mind that you'll also need to accumulate the funds to purchase the other half from your ex, unless you're sacrificing another asset for the business. If you're the spouse who isn't interested in keeping the business, you now have that much more money (or assets) in your pocket, due to your ex-spouse's purchase.


Sell the business.

The final option is pretty straightforward: sell the business and split the profit with your ex-spouse. If you choose to go this route, then the two of you should still hire an appraiser to perform a valuation of your business so you can determine an appropriate selling price. Assuming that your business sells quickly, then you will both have money to do whatever you please — you can even use it to start your own business. Unfortunately, if your business is on the market longer than expected, then you're stuck working with your ex for a little more time.

No matter what path you choose when determining your business's future, it's crucial to make sure you hire a team of qualified professionals to help facilitate the process, including an attorney, a CPA and a financial advisor. No matter how well the proceedings go, the emotional and financial effects of divorce can be difficult to manage. By having a trusted team that's working in your best interest, you can move forward with your life and take on your next venture with confidence.



Handing It Down: The Changing Dynamics Of Family Businesses
Tuesday, 29 March 2016 09:21

Mr Mark Green is a Business Consultant who has worked as a generational interpreter. below are his views on handing the business down to the next generation and how best to do it.


With five generations now together in the workforce, generational conflicts are changing the dynamics—and succession plans—of many family-run businesses.


This "generational stack-up" creates conflicting work styles and expectations that can make or break a family business, said Mark Green, author of Inside the Multi-Generational Family Business.


Close to 80 percent of U.S. businesses and 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies are family-owned, says Green, and they're common in every industry. "It's a huge part of who we are as a country," he said.


One of the biggest challenges in a family-run business is the continual change of roles as new generations join the mix.


In the past 50 years, the dynamics have become even more complex as family members live and work longer. In the past, family businesses were passed from one generation to another, says Green. "Now they're passed from one generation to many," he added. "The paradigm is shifting."


Many family businesses had to change their succession plans during the recession, said Green. In some cases, older generations returned to the business when retirement plans fell apart or to guide the company through a difficult time. In other cases, sons and daughters who chose different careers rejoined the family business when they were downsized or laid off, or because the business needed extra help.


As a result, Green's role as a family business consultant is often to be a generational interpreter. For example, he explains to sons that fathers expect them to be at their desks, the first to arrive and the last to leave. Then he explains to fathers that sons are now expected to attend Little League games and can work from mobile devices.


In addition, the older GI Generation (1901-1924), Silent Generation (1925-1942) and Baby Boomers all grew up before the Internet, while Generation X and Generation Y have been around technology their whole lives, says Green. That means even simple things like leaving voice mails versus texting can cause big communication issues.

For older family members who may lead a business for 25 years or longer, the role becomes that leader's whole identity, said Green. "It's not just a job, it's a lifestyle," he added. And conflicts arise when the next generation wants a turn to lead.


That's why family-run businesses may want to consider creating career tracks for family members, he said. Family firms also need to recognize the patterns and conflicts that exist between generations, as well as how each generation brings value to the table.


Family businesses may also want to consider building in time to teach younger family members what it means to be good owners before they leave home, and to create succession plans long before they're needed, Green said.


Even with the additional challenges, however, family-run businesses have a lot of benefits, said Green. They typically support their communities, provide jobs, and are stable, value-oriented, and successful. "It's a lot of work, but when it works it's a beautiful thing," he said.



8 Things You Should Know About The World's Most Successful Family Businesses
Wednesday, 16 March 2016 11:20

The importance of family businesses to the global economy is undeniable. They account for more than two-thirds of all companies around the world and 50%–80% of employment in most countries. This begs the question, what does it take to cultivate a flourishing family business?


EY recently partnered with the Kennesaw State University Cox Family Enterprise Center to survey 525 of the world's largest family businesses. The results revealed that succession planning, integrating women in leadership and achieving staying power are all top of mind for the world's most successful family business leaders. Their achievements support the claim that having a firm grasp of these three pillars is vital to building and maintaining a lasting legacy.


As Carrie Hall, EY reflected on these survey results and their work with the world's leading family businesses, these 8 key findings stood out:



1. 87% of the world's most successful family businesses have clearly identified who is responsible for succession


2. 55% of the largest and most successful family businesses believe entrepreneurship is very important when preparing the next generation of leaders


3. Outside work experience is not necessarily key to effective family business succession


4. Family business succession planning often overlooks the importance of attracting great outside talent


5. 70% of the top family businesses are considering a woman for their next CEO


6. 55% of the world's largest, longest-lasting family businesses have at least one woman on their board


7. The world's leading family businesses average about five women in the C-suite and four women being groomed for top leadership positions


8. The world's longest-lasting family businesses maintain a robust entrepreneurial climate



She is confident that these key findings will remain front and center in the minds of the world's most successful family business leaders in 2016.


what do you think family business leaders should focus on to achieve lasting success?We would love to hear feedback. 




Tips for running a successful Family Business
Tuesday, 15 March 2016 11:46

For many family businesses, retaining family ownership and control is a prime objective. However, it may limit growth potential. Passing the business on to the next generation can be very challenging and disruptive. These tips are key to remain successful in your family business: 


  • Don't always consider dealing with the family first to ensure business success. The top priority is to ensure that the business is functioning correctly and growing. If you don't take care of the business, the business can't take care of the family.


  • Set boundaries to limit business discussions outside working hours. Mixing business, personal and home life can lead to conflict that is detrimental to business success.


  • Establish weekly business meetings where personal and family matters are set aside. This helps to focus the attention on the core business objectives. A strict agenda is important in achieving productive meetings. Consideration could be given to inviting a third party, for example the company solicitor or accountant, to facilitate the meeting. If non family members present, ensure they are included and their contributions are given equal weight.


  • Don't provide 'sympathy' jobs for family members. It is important that each member of the family adds value to the business and worksat a level that is aligned with their skill base.
  • Define clear management reporting lines in the business and ensure that these are adhered to. I see many instances where family members feel that they can reprimand employees who do not report to them.


  • Clearly define each family member's role and put this in writing, such as an employment contract. This should be dealt with like any other business relationship.


  • Seek to ensure that family members who are looking to join the business have suitable outside experience first. This helps them to gain valuable knowledge of how business works outside the family business environment and bring new insights and ideas when they join.


  • Be open-minded about seeking outside advice. Family businesses at times can be too closed and seeking outside advice can help to bring fresh ideas and facilitate creative thinking. Outside facilitators can also help to make the working relationships of family members more productive. Non-executive directors can provide a fresh view and outlook.


  • Treat family members fairly. Family members tend to have an affiliation and affection for the business. This means that they have an energy and enthusiasm for the success of the business that previous generations have spent years building. It is important, though, to ensure that there is no favouritism. Pay levels, progression, expectations, criticism and praise should be even-handed across family and non-family employees. Remember not to set standards higher or lower for family members than for other members of staff.


  • Understand the advantages of family ownership and use them as a positive in marketing. Customers are very often drawn to using family businesses because of their culture and togetherness.


Careful planning will allow you to identify and address any potential problems in advance. Options include an appropriate shareholders agreement, clauses in the company's articles of association and the use of a family trust to hold shares. Above all, open communication can help the family resolve any issues and ensure that the family business will prosper for many generations.




5 Mistakes To Avoid When Hiring Relatives
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 14:51

It is hard to be objective about hiring relatives, especially a son or daughter. But you have to objectively ascertain people's strengths and weaknesses before you bring them into the family business. Just because your son is getting an MBA in accounting and finance doesn't mean you should appoint him as the CFO when he graduates.


Family businesses are a long-established tradition. About 80% of the world's businesses are family owned, according to research from the Kennesaw State University Coles College of Business. Family-run businesses account for nearly 35% of the largest companies in the U.S. (60% of all public companies), including Ford, Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, L'Oreal, Loews, and Ikea. More than 30% of all family-owned businesses survive into the second generation. But only about 13% are passed onto the third generation.



Many family business consultants say the primary reason for this low survival rate and why some families don't work well together is the failure to put in place a strategic plan and set of guidelines. Family members can be part owners of the business, but they don't have to work inside the company. As the founder, your objective should be to prep and hire family members because they have a set of skills that the business needs.


Running a successful family business doesn't mean running an entitlement program where if you have the right last name you are guaranteed a job and a certain title. A second cousin might be more qualified than the eldest son to lead the company. Many family businesses have folded ultimately because members were brought in by birthright.



Here are five mistakes to avoid to help you successfully bring family members into the business:


1. Operating Without A Family Employee Policy
This is outside of the company's employee handbook. It is important to have crystal clear goals and expectations for family members in the business supported by clear management roles. The family employee policy should spell out what to expect when hiring family members, regardless if they are coming into an entry position or at the executive level. There also needs to be an integration plan for when you bring a family member into the business. There ought to be some form of training and orientation.


2. Failing To Define Roles And Responsibilities
The job description for most family businesses is to do whatever it takes. In the early stages of the family business, there is a tendency to have everyone pitching in. You might be meeting with bankers one day and scrubbing toilets the next day. However, there must be written job descriptions, defined roles, rules for compensation, performance reviews, long-term and short-term goals or objectives, so that decisions are not based on family relationships. Also, family members should know if they are not reaching their goals or if they are on the right track for whatever position they are in line for.


3. Lacking Formal Programs For Next Generation
You should establish training programs for younger, teenage family members to learn the inner workings of the business. For instance, in addition to giving them opportunities to work in the business after school, create paid summer internships or establish some type of mentoring program. Mentors should also include people from outside of the family. The conventional wisdom is that family members should spend two to five years working at another company in the same industry. Having a family member work outside of the company will help to build up his or her confidence as well as allow that individual to make mistakes on someone else's dime.


4. Relying On Post-Graduate Education
Some family business consultants say to be skeptical of traditional post-graduate education, such as MBA schools. The needs of your business are narrow and unique whereas an MBA education is very broad. Meaning, your son or daughter will learn how to work for Fortune 500 companies whereas you are running a manufacturing plant. So, they are spending 90% of their time learning things that won't have any real life application to the family business. Of course, if the job description at your company calls for an MBA or JD then family members can't forgo getting the proper background or credentials.


5. Displaying Favoritism or Nepotism
If the work environment is professional and all employees are treated fairly, you won't get accused of nepotism. Set some boundaries between family members and the family business. Also, use your board of directors or a board of advisors to provide objectivity. Another alternative is to hire outside business consultants. Focus on the business and not on the family. Meaning, The needs of the business and not the needs of individual family members should always come first. Research shows that business first focused family businesses tend to create more generational wealth than family first oriented businesses.




If you feel that you do not know how to begin putting these in place in you r business we can help you. 

For more information contact us:

Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

Tel: 021 4320466






How This Second-Generation Franchisee Is Doing Things Her Way
Monday, 07 March 2016 11:44

A Successful story from a next generation Business:


Alex Chambers used to work in her father's UPS store as a student in grad school. Now, she's taken over that store, becoming a second-generation franchise owner. She not only uses the lessons she learned as a UPS employee to pursue her passion of growing the business, but she also utilizes the skills she's gained from her experience as a field hockey coach. Read on to see how she's stepping out of her father's shadow and making the business her own.


Q: How long have you owned a franchise?
I'm a second generation franchise owner. My father started the store with a partner in 2003 and I transitioned into ownership about two years ago.

Related: This Man Lost Weight and Found a Career in a Fitness Franchise


Q: Why franchising?
It was really appealing to have the opportunity to be self-made, and franchising allows me the independence to develop my own goals and take my business to the next level. At the end of the day, this is my business and it's up to me to succeed. The positive work atmosphere, opportunities to grow and customer interaction are exactly what I was looking for to challenge myself and make a career.


Q: What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I was in graduate school when I started working at my father's The UPS Store franchise location. However, I quickly realized that owning and operating my own business was my passion.


Q: Why did you choose this particular franchise?
My experience working in the store as an employee made me realize that I wanted to be a UPS Store owner. The positive work environment and the opportunities to grow the business were what drew me in. One of the greatest advantages of opening a franchise is the resources that are in place to help new business owners. While working in my father's UPS Store provided me with a foundation for business acumen, The UPS Store training programs took my understanding of business to the next level and gave me the tools to be successful in owning and operating my own store.

It was also really appealing that The UPS Store is a well-known and established brand that I could use as a base for my own business. Plus, I'm a part of a group of franchisees who all network and share best practices with each other. Their advice and knowledge has made a big difference in how I operate and manage my own franchise. It's a really great network.


Q: How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
I took over the store from my father so I had the benefit of not starting from scratch. Overall, costs to open a franchise start at around $167,000. I'm currently working toward opening a second store and anticipate spending around $1,000 on advertising for the opening month, as well as about $9,000 on store rent and employee hiring. Of course, opening my own store is a priceless experience!


Q: Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
My regional manager is a great source for advice and support as well as the other The UPS Store franchisees. In my experience, it's an overwhelmingly positive environment to work within a network of other owners. I regularly meet with other franchise owners in the area to network and discuss ways to help each other's businesses. The energy and drive of the other franchise owners continues to motivate me to be better.


Q: What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
I think that employee management can be a challenge. In my spare time, I am a field hockey coach and I like to translate my coaching skills into managing my associates. We have a philosophy of "step up, finish, win" that I encourage all of my associates to adopt. It's helped to create a sense of team and camaraderie.


Q: What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
It's important to be passionate about your business because, as a franchise owner, the responsibility to succeed lies with you. Stay motivated and continue to learn everything you can about your business and your industry. At the end of the day, it's your business and it's up to you to make it work.


Q: What's next for you and your business?

Based on the success I've seen so far with The UPS Store's franchise model, I plan to open several more locations in the future.




Playing it straight in family business succession
Thursday, 03 March 2016 12:55

Laying straight your company's line of succession is a generation game that can be won, if you follow a few sensible rules


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."




Smart Leaders Make 4 Wise Investments
Thursday, 03 March 2016 10:51

Do you keep a 'to do' list?

If so, there's a pretty good chance that you enjoy checking items off of your 'to do' list?


In fact, you may even suffer from a certain disorder (I know that I suffer from it) that causes you to add things you've already done to your 'to do' list so you can check them off.

Tracking activities and marking items off of your list are great habits. However, you need to watch out for the "Busyness Trap". This trap is where you become addicted to being busy and miss the chance to strive for significance.


Have you fallen into the 'Busyness Trap"? Perhaps you can relate to one of these scenarios. If so, your busyness alarm should be going off:

Your driving home after a long week at work and think to yourself, I was really busy this week, but what did I accomplish that truly mattered?


You are burned out from the tremendous amount of energy it takes just to get through the day. The work is keeping you busy, but it isn't relighting or refueling your fire.
You catch yourself talking a lot about what you are working on, but struggle to identify key things that you have taken over the finish line. Perhaps the line keeps moving...

Busyness can be costly. It consumes time, energy, and motivation with little concern over how these resources are expended. It also steals your ability to invest in four key areas:


1. Invest in Pondering

Sometimes you need to stop and put things into perspective. Find a quiet spot and take time to reflect on an issue, project, or goal. Ask yourself questions like

Why are we doing this?
What do we really hope to achieve?
What type of leader do I want to be?


2. Invest in Scuba Diving

When you are constantly busy, you often stay at the surface and waterski over issues. You may occasionally go deeper and snorkel, but you never take the time to really scuba dive on an issue. So, you keep addressing symptoms instead of root causes. Ask yourself these questions:

When is the last time you took the time to scuba dive on an issue?
Is there something that keeps resurfacing on your team that you should invest time in problem-solving?
What's the long-term impact of constantly waterskiing?


3. Invest in Planning

Putting out fires all the time makes it really difficult to invest in planning. However, one of the reasons you may be constantly putting out fires is because you aren't spending enough time planning. Ask yourself these questions:

Are you spending the appropriate amount of time planning things as opposed to doing them?
Have you invested too much time fixing issues that could have been avoided in the first place?
How good is your team at planning?


4. Invest in Relationships

When you are busy, relationships often suffer. You may intend to connect with an employee, but you just "can't" find the time. At some point, the inability to connect erupts into a situation that could have been avoided. Ask yourself these questions:

When was the last time you connected with your people?
Is there a relationship that you've ignored that you should tend to?
What's your next chance to connect with someone?
If you have fallen into the "Busyness Trap", here are four things you can do today to get yourself moving in the right direction:

Kill 2-3 items on your current 'to do' list. Don't delay them; cancel them.
Don't fill the space of the 2-3 dead items with more busyness. Instead block the time to invest in one of the four items above. Don't be general; name it and schedule it.
Hold yourself accountable to do it when you schedule it.
Repeat steps 1-3.




Family Governance
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 16:34

Family Governance is a topic that most families are reluctant to address. It covers two broad topics: governance of the business and governance of the family. Most family businesses, especially in the formative years, take on the characteristics of the founder or founding family. Although this entrepreneurial model works for an early stage family owned business, as the company grows in size it needs gradual evolution to a different model. Boards of Advisors, Boards of Directors, and Professional Management are some of the ways to improve the governance and performance of the business.


Family governance is a more subtle topic. Most families find that as they grow there is a need to formally discuss family issues like estate plans, family business leadership transition, and family fairness. Families find that some of the best venues to do this are through Family Councils, Family Retreats, and formal Family Meetings.



Board of Advisors

When the family business grows so the leader finds that it is beyond his sole expertise to handle all aspects of the business, it is usually time to form a group of trusted peers into a Board of Advisors. A well conceived and run Board of Advisors can be invaluable to a company – many say that the most important step in their company's growth and evolution was the addition of a Board.


Professional Management

Although family businesses often desire that key management positions are staffed with family members, sometimes they are not interested, not qualified, or are engaged in other worthwhile vocations. This is the time to hire professional managers who bring their experience and business acumen to the family business. Professional managers often improve overall performance and are also useful in providing "bridge management." For example, when the next generation of family leaders are not quite ready to take on senior management roles, bridge managers can provide a connection between generations of family along with mentoring, guidance, and coaching.


Family Council

Family councils provide families with a vehicle to entertain family projects and resolve issues. Some of these include developing Entry Criteria for new family members to enter the business, chronicling the family history, and ensuring that family fairness is considered in family and business decisions.


Family Meetings

Formal, scheduled family meetings inform family members of both the status of the family and the family business. Family members can reconnect with one another, and family issues can be discussed constructively rather than being left to fester into larger issues.


Family Retreats

Family retreats are conducted over two to four days at off site locations. They provide a neutral venue to discuss family and family business items.

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Climate Change in your Business
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 12:24

As you all are aware, climate change is happening right now and With Mr. DiCaprio using his acceptance speech at the Oscars for best actor to urge the world to reject the “politics of greed”, and support leaders willing to take action against climate change, it is a hot topic at the moment.


 Here are several reminder steps that your business can take to help contain or reduce it:

  • Remember the 3 "R"s. Reduce waste, purchase reusable products instead of disposables, and recycle paper, plastic, glass, aluminum and office equipment.
  • Install energy-efficient lighting. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs, which last 10 times longer, use two-thirds less energy, and radiate 70 percent less heat.
  • Drive smarter and less frequently. Make sure company vehicles run efficiently and are properly maintained. Keeping tires properly inflated alone can improve gas mileage and every gallon of gas saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere. Also, encourage carpooling among employees
  • Use less heat and air conditioning when possible. Set your office thermostat 2 degrees lower in winter and higher in the summer to avoid approximately 2000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
  • Plant trees on your company's property. Photosynthesis 101 – trees and other plant absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.
  • Arrange annual energy audits. This will help you identify areas of your workplace that may not be energy efficient, allowing you to make necessary upgrades.
  • Encourage your employees to conserve. Have someone on your staff gather information about recycling and energy conservation and share it with co-workers.


By taking these simple steps to help reduce greenhouse gases, you'll also help your business reduce its energy use and save money.




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