Family Business Ownership

Swimming Lessons: Teaching Your Children to Stay Afloat in the World of Financial Capital

Swimming Lessons: Teaching Your Children to Stay Afloat in the World of Financial Capital

So often, I am asked, “How do I talk to my kids about…” The money? The business? Their trust? Their opportunities?

I often suggest to clients that they create ways for next-generation family members to “bob in the pool”—to participate in the day-to-day activities of managing the family’s Financial Capital from the earliest days, at a level appropriate to their age and stage.

The swimming metaphor applies throughout life. Parents have an understandable desire to shield kids from the potentially dangerous and dark side of wealth. But too much shielding is like keeping kids from water: we prevent them from learning skills that may save their lives.

How to Build a Board (and Keep it from Running Away with your Business)

How to Build a Board (and Keep it from Running Away with your Business)

A board of directors is often promoted as a critical tool for growing family businesses—and rightly so. A well-constructed board can bring new thinking and perspective, better deliberation, along with expertise and experience that the business needs to grow and achieve its vision of success.

But boards are not a magic elixir, either. when the owners fail to communicate their vision—their direction—for the future of the business, there is a real possibility that the board’s well-intentioned efforts will veer off course, destroying capital the family has worked for years to create.

How to Read a Trust

How to Read a Trust

IF YOU HAVE TO READ A TRUST…

Words to the wise: This article does not constitute legal advice. It is in no way a substitute for having a lawyer who works in the area of trusts and estates review your document and tell you what’s going on. What it will do is give you a basic grounding in a few key trust concepts. Just remember, a person who serves as his own lawyer has a fool for a client.

The Family Factor

The Family Factor

As family business consultants, we are often asked, “How do you know if a family in conflict can be helped, or if they are headed toward either litigation or stagnation?” While there is no test of absolute certainty, we have identified a predictor of how likely a family might be to manage conflict in new and constructive ways: The Family Factor.

From Meddling to Leadership

From Meddling to Leadership

What is the measure of success for a multi-generational family business? Who should decide which path to take? are we learning the right lessons? and what is the balance between meddling and leading?

Amelia Renkert-Thomas answers these questions and discusses why public company models are not good guides for family business owners.

The Continuity Myth

The Continuity Myth

You’ve read the statistics: Only 30 percent of all family-owned businesses survive into the second generation and only 12 percent will survive into the third generation. Only three percent of all family businesses operate at the fourth generation and beyond. Even if you haven’t read Roy Williams and Vic Preisser’s 2003 book, Preparing Heirs: Five Steps to a Successful Transition of Family Wealth and Values, which gleaned these statistics from their study of 3,250 business-owning families, you’ve probably been served up the data by wealth management firms, private banks, and family business consulting operations seeking to persuade you that your family business is at great risk. “Do the right thing,” they say (invest more wisely, do your estate planning, form a family office, etc., etc.). Then, your business will continue generation after generation, and all will be well.

We here at Engaged Ownership don’t buy it.