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3 Ways to Strengthen Your Family Business This Year

  • 29 January 2015
  • Author: Cari Holbrook
  • Number of views: 3006
3 Ways to Strengthen Your Family Business This Year

You made it! Congratulations on surviving another year of running a family business. Was it a breeze, or did it, yet again, feel as if you were clinging to the side of Mt. Everest--gale wind in your face, not able to quite see the top and yet terrified of tumbling downward? If your answer leans to the latter, consider the following three ways to strengthen your family business and gain valuable ground toward the summit this year.

Feed the business every day

“For almost every industry, I can point to a company that has stayed at $1 million for a long time, and another with strikingly similar offerings, management style and markets that has grown much larger,” recently wrote John F. Dini, business ownership expert and President of MPN, Inc. “I’m convinced that the difference is an owner’s ability to set and achieve goals. In a word, it is implementation.”

If you have your sights set on growing your family business in 2015, Dini explains, it’s important to stop continuously fighting fires and to make room each day for achieving objectives. For business owners who can make this happen, “small crises and unexpected events are inevitable, but they aren’t allowed to create ever-extending deadlines for the important-but-not-urgent things that move the company forward.”

Read the rest of Dini’s thoughts on the subject here and learn more about his own business ownership story in our Client Spotlight here.

Stop going “all in” on your kids

It’s likely you already know the odds: Only 30 percent of all family businesses survive into the second generation. But, as human nature dictates, you believe your business will be different. Make this the year you hope for the fairytale ending but plan for reality. Counting on your children being your sole succession plan will fail 95 percent of the time.

To help you consider the different ways you can strengthen your specific succession plan, revisit our “Golden Handcuffs: Passing Down the Business to Heirs” series for insights on the following questions:

By considering different scenarios—like allowing a management company to run your business so your heirs can maintain ownership but be passively involved—you may be able to find middle ground between your dream of family business succession and your children’s ideal involvement. 

Have your estate in order

Consider it the curse of the family business owner: You likely plan on working until the day you die. But putting off planning your legacy until that time will put you, your family and your family business in jeopardy. An estate plan can help you:

  • Avoid red tape, complications and conflicts. Ask any estate planning attorney and he or she will tell you the main problem created by a business owner with no estate plan is the uncertainty it causes for those left behind. A will, trusts, and documents like a buy-sell agreement can go far to ensure fewer hiccups for your business and your family.
  • Avoid unnecessary taxes. Federal estate tax and other tax burdens can be a devastating expense for family members. These laws change often, too, so it’s important to work with a financial advisor to pivot on your tax strategies when necessary.
  • Keep the business running and your needs covered if you become incapacitated. With more and more of us expected to become centurions (living past age 100), incapacitation is a likely possibility. Read more about the value of powers of attorney and living will documents here.

So, what are you waiting for? Plan to make this the best year yet for your family business by putting planning back on your list of priorities. Still not sure where to start? Contact us for ideas.

Image Copyright: niserin / 123RF Stock Photo




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