Family Business Problems We Can Help With
Who We Help
Running a business of any sort is complicated and tough. But when your family are owners, employees, directors or simply 'have an interest in what goes on' the issues and challenges grow exponentially!
Family business relationship problems and issues vary massively, which is why our family business advisors work to give you personalised and practical help with your family business.
Listed below are some typical situations where we are called on to provide practical help and advice:
- Role confusion
- Recruiting family and non-family
- Our Board
- Sibling Rivalry
- Rules for employing family
- Share transfer
- Non Exec Directors
- Dividend Policy
- Next Generation
Role confusion: “Now that my children are working in the business, I am finding it really difficult to switch between Parent, Boss and Mentor. Communication is strained and our relationships are deteriorating”
Recruiting family and non-family: “How do we attract and reward good non family executives for the business and ensure that both family and non-family are treated fairly/equally?”
Succession: “I am ready to retire but I’m not sure if the next generation are
- ready to take over
- ever going to be good enough
- able to manage without me
Our Board: “Our board is made up of family members. The meetings never get past talking about trivial operational matters. Key strategic issues and family succession are never raised because they are too sensitive. The company is stagnating and will eventually fail unless we get help”
Retirement: “My father has “retired” but still comes to work every day. His knowledge and experience can be a help, but when he’s around I feel undermined and the staff are confused as to who’s their boss”
Inheritance: “All our wealth is in the business. Our daughter runs it and would like to have 100% control eventually but we feel that it is fair that our son who has his own career gets a 50% share as it is his inheritance. What should we do?”
Sibling Rivalry: “When my sister and I were managing our own departments we got on really well. Now that she is MD we rarely speak without falling out and the business is suffering”
Communication: “With some family shareholders working in the business and some not, we find it difficult to keep everyone appropriately informed. I think a Family Council might help but don’t know where to start.”
Rules for employing family: “My cousin’s son wants to join the business straight from school. I think it would be better for him and the business if he worked elsewhere first, but we don’t have any procedures in place to back up my views.”
Share transfer: “My cousin wants to sell her shares. I would buy them but she has been advised that they are worth 5x what I am prepared to pay. It would help if we had an agreed procedure for transferring and valuing our company shares.”
Non Exec Directors: “The non-execs that we have appointed don’t seem to understand that their role on a family business board is very different to the role on the Board of a plc . Where/how can we find good “family business aware” non-execs?”
Spouses: “My brother has got married and wants to amend his will so that his wife inherits his shares if he dies. I feel shares should only pass to bloodline but we don’t have any Company rules or guidelines covering this.”
Dividend Policy: “We have a number of family shareholders who complain bitterly if the directors decide to invest in the business instead of paying a dividend. An agreed policy on dividends would help but feelings are running high and without some impartial advice, I fear that irreparable damage could be done to family relationships.”
Next Generation: “I know my parents would be devastated if I didn’t take over the family business but I’m not sure that it’s what I want to do.”
The common thread running through all the above issues is that after family businesses have progressed into the second generation and beyond, the informal structures, communication and procedures that work for owner managed businesses tend to break down. The successful families are the ones that recognise this and get help to get organised.
In our experience, once a family gets the process underway, the result of understanding why relationships may have become strained plus the benefits of 'getting organised', soon outweigh concerns over sensitive issues. The FBS process ensures that bespoke solutions are developed by the family themselves to resolve their issues.