Ten Signs You Might Need a Family Business Consultant

Sometimes it is difficult to know when outside help is required. We like to think we can manage our business on our own. However, the intersection of business and family relationships can create unique and challenging circumstances that can leave even the best and brightest unsure of what to do next. Below we’ve listed some of the most common questions and challenges that we’ve assisted our clients to resolve.

Which of these apply to your family business?

Succession

Do you have a plan for the smooth transfer of ownership, leadership, or management responsibilities? Do you have a succession plan for all key people in your organization? Do you have the next leader in the building? Is there more than one person vying for the top job? Is the business founder prepared for a transition? Does the incumbent senior leader have a life beyond the business?

Conflict

Do you and your family members practice open, respectful, professional communication? How often does someone storm out of a meeting, dinner or the office? Are you able to have difficult conversations without yelling, screaming, and rehashing old wounds? Are you allowed to disagree? How are decisions made?

Business Performance Issues

Is your business experiencing operational or performance challenges? Have governance issues eroded business performance? Do you feel like your business is underachieving? Do you have untapped market share in your industry? Does your organization embrace accountability?

Change

Is the family business system adaptable? Does the system support change or resist change? Are you agile enough to make change in a timely manner? Is either the family or the business undergoing dramatic change? Do you feel stuck?

Stress

Have family relationships and communications become severely strained? Are you reluctant to go to your office and face the challenges again today? Does tension permeate your work place or family life? Does leadership provide clarity? Are roles, responsibilities, and expectations defined throughout your business?

Ownership/Leadership Change

Are you planning/executing an ownership or leadership change? Do you have a mentoring program? Do you have a structured personnel development or continuing education program? Is there a ceiling of growth? When was the last time you delegated responsibilities, authority, or control? Is your organization prepared for a change in leadership?

Distraction

Are family issues interfering with effective leadership of your family business? Are you using the business to solve family issues? Do family issues hinder business performance? Do the family dynamics cause you to make mistakes at work? Is the organization inefficient because the family issues are spilling into the business culture?

Planning

Does your family business lack a comprehensive vision for the future and clearly defined action steps? Do you have a budget? What is the disaster plan? Who should be involved in discussions of succession, wealth management, coordinated estate plans, or strategic growth plans? Are you prepared for the next strategic acquisition or economic downturn?

Restructuring

Is your family business planning a recapitalization, sale, or change of ownership? Do you have appropriate governance in every level of your family business?

Impartial Advice

Do you need confidential, objective, and experienced assistance for your family business? Do you want to improve your leadership effectiveness? Is it important to you to cultivate healthy communication and trusting relationships inside your family and business? Do you have anyone in your life that elevates your performance, challenges you personally and professionally, and is committed to your success?