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When you ask a Family Business, what do you hope to get out of this engagement? They all have the same answer....“I want to be able to have Christmas lunch with my family”As advisors we spend a lot of our time training, up-skilling and learning to ensure we can offer the best advice to our clients and their businesses. But it is important, every step of the way, we never lose focus of what the family wants.The two key areas I focus on to ensure my clients grow their family business and achieve their ultimate goal of that Christmas Lunch is:
In a family business every family member is juggling multiple roles in the family, in the business and in the ownership of the business. You may also have some family members who are not in the business and can feel an outsider within their own family.As much as the strength of a family business is their agility and speed to market, without a governance structure in place, this can also be their biggest downfall because as quick as you can decide on a decision, it can also be stopped in its tracks just as fast! And this is where a business can start to unravel and so can a family.A governance structure is crucial to a successful family business and a happy family. Governance includes many aspects such as a family constitution, family council, family assembly, owners Room and an advisory panel. But the first step is just to set up regular meetings, ensure they have an agenda and I recommend an Independent facilitator. This will ensure your meetings stay on track, every one has a say and is heard and family matters never surface around the boardroom table. It also allows you to have a structured family meeting once or twice a year where all family members are updated on the business, so family members who don’t work in the business feel included.Governance is something that evolves over time, it should never be considered something that you set and forget.
I recommend all family members are included in our succession planning discussions. Even with the best intentions, when you leave someone out of the discussions, they can be your biggest disruptor. This not only puts the business at risk but more importantly the family harmony.So as you head into the festive season and start to think of your Christmas shopping, putting up the tree and all the Christmas lights, planning the lunch menu, stop and think, do we have everything in place in our family business so we can all enjoy Christmas lunch together?
If you'd like some assistance with any of the topic's raised in this blog, check out Grant Thornton Australia's members page by clicking here.
When you ask a Family Business, what do...
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