This is a question I often face as I build my practice. Family Business issues exist in every entity but how does the family business advisor help us deal with them?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have a clear succession plan that has been communicated to all members of the family?
- Have I worked with my financial planner to outline my wishes?
- Is my lawyer aware of my plans and have they been put in writing (wills)?
- What does my spouse want to see happen?
- Are the ‘in laws’ part of this plan and do they know it?
- Do we have a mechanism to resolve disputes within our company and our family?
- How do we know if the next generation is ready?
- What about my key executives and their role through succession planning?
- Who can be truly neutral as we explore this process?
These are the questions that every business owner and their key advisors have asked at one time or another. They are likely not ever answered fully as sometimes the topics and the direction of the discussion can lead to some discomfort. Discomfort is a key part of the process as most people chose to do nothing in the hopes that the problems work themselves out on their own.
Do they ever get resolved on their own? Sometimes in fact they do but not always in a harmonious fashion and often done when someone’s health may be suffering or they become incapacitated.
The advantage of a neutral Family Business Advisor is simple. Other professionals have longer term relationships with the managing generation and as such, have an unspoken loyalty. This loyalty is very important but can prevent having some of the difficult discussions that need to happen.
The uncomfortable ones involve making sure the next generation have the same quality of loyalties from those same professional advisors or do they need to develop their own “team”.
Guidance from a truly impartial advisor is invaluable. The Family Business Advisor becomes a key resource to managing the relationships, the family dynamics, business strategic planning, and the overall manager of Family Harmony regardless of what point the family is at in respect to the succession process.
These are only some of the reasons of why you need the guidance of a Family Business Advisor.