Staring it Down: The Family Business Time Bomb Meets COVID-19

Blog Post published by Evelyn Jacks of Knowledge Bureau

We couldn’t have predicted the devastating economic effects of the pandemic on small businesses when we wrote the book, Defusing the Family Business Time Bomb.  But if there was ever a time for families to address the issue of what to do next in guiding their business out of stormy waters, it’s now. This is the book to help you and your clients through it. Here’s how my co-author, Jenifer Bartman describes the opportunity:

“Remember all of those times when you thought (or your clients thought) that something that happens on the other side of the world can’t impact your company? The current COVID-19 crisis is a case in point that demonstrates that the exact opposite is true. While business leaders are challenged to manage their companies, determine if they qualify for relief programs, or simply survive, many are likely realizing that their systems, processes, and financial information need to be much stronger.  Strategies to implement now and carry into the future are in demand and Defusing the Family Business Time Bomb was written to stare down challenges and win, even when we can’t always predict what the specific circumstances might be.”

It is clear the critical questions have intensified.  What should owner-managers do now with the family business, mid-pandemic, and at a time when boomers are contemplating retirement? Will the business sell for the millions owners hope for, limp into bankruptcy, or just wind down?  Worse still, will family relationships survive it all?

The answer lies in the family’s ability to embrace these unprecedented changes to re-imagine the purpose of the business beyond the pandemic, and then to drive that renewed purpose to build and transition a scalable company that has value beyond the original owner.

But at the same time, it is important to focus on the family relationships that will either suffer or thrive along the way. The reason? Even more damaging than the economic fallout of the pandemic is that the most promising and profitable company could perish when the investment in the family business is marred by family conflict.

While it is normal for a typical family business to be inundated with challenge and change, we all know these are not normal times. Never have so many potential threats been evident at the same time:

  • The disruption of the pandemic: While some “re-imagined” companies will enjoy a successful rebirth in these times, many may not survive.  It is critical that a Real Wealth Management™ team of specialists be engaged to do a 360-degree analysis of the short and long term “what if” factors.  The family needs to understand tax, legal and financial circumstances and plan proactively to get through them.
  • Demographic factors: aging Baby Boomer owners have a limited number of potential successors, and now a shorter runway to revamp valuations within the tepid economic growth cycle they find themselves in.
  • Disruption of key industries: new and complex business models require a rapid pivot. It’s all virtual all the time, and like the internet and computer revolution before that, working from home and conducting Zoom meetings will not fade away. This is the mainstream way to conduct business and it is here to stay.  The unprecedented speed that digital/technological advancement has been forced upon the globe requires an enormous rebuild for many businesses. This could reduce expected valuations and make transition to new owners either irrelevant or much more costly.
  • Dramatic change in the global economy: There is no doubt that the recession Canada now finds itself in is making strategic planning more In good times, the big worry is the escalation of the cost of doing business and shrinking profit margins.  In these bad times, the enemy is the absence of revenue. It requires the remaking and repositioning of the value of the company in completely new pursuit, as forecasts will likely be more important than historical trends. Astute professional help from experienced accounting and business valuation specialists can save exit expectations.
  • Uncertain tax rules: There is no doubt that the complex new tax changes, restrictions to family income sprinkling, and a new clawback of the small business deduction all impact profitability, investment opportunities, and access to capital. This challenge could be especially difficult for young entrepreneurs or successors who want to scale up the business for the future. However, the various wage and rent subsidy programs have been complex. They have tax implications and more importantly, bring with them a higher probability of tax audit risk in multiple departments:  GST/HST, payroll and personal/corporate income tax.
  • Typical family business problems: conflict, apathy, sudden or emerging illness, or control issues can affect relationships, decision-making, and ultimately the health of both entities: the family and the company. Exhausted business owners who have been working overtime just to hang on and meet their obligations are likely not endearing themselves to the families that resent their efforts to save the business.

Whether you or your clients are long-time business owners getting ready to transition out, or a sudden new entrant to the “gig economy” due to pandemic-induced unemployment, the good news is that you are likely poised to grow and expand, once the dust settles. You will appreciate this book for its contemporary and practical advice on how to get the next phase write, from the ground floor up.

It brings a common-sense approach to the challenges associated with building a company that has the potential to be sold to someone else in the future, despite the current crisis.

I know I speak with my co-author, Jenifer as I say this: we wrote Defusing the Family Business Time Bomb to help prepare for the most explosive challenge in a generation. Specifically,  the retirement of the Baby Boomers and transition of their companies to a new guard, who face pitfalls and opportunities of their own, most especially now. We hope you will order it, gift it to your business owner friends and clients, and start numerous new discussions about the bright economic future ahead, once we get past these storm clouds.

Jenifer Bartman, CPA, CA, CMC, MFA™, is the Founder and Principal of Jenifer Bartman Business Advisory Services, assisting companies in transition (early, financing, growth, and succession stages) with growth strategies, financing readiness, strategic/business planning, and executive coaching. Jenifer is well known for her venture capital and early stage financing expertise, having been an executive in the industry and an advisor to many young companies. She appears on the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel. She tweets @JeniferInc.

Evelyn Jacks, MFA™, DFA-Tax Services Specialist™, is one of Canada’s most prolific financial authors, having penned over 50 books on personal tax and family wealth management, many of them bestsellers. A well-known tax and financial commentator, she has twice been named one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence. Evelyn is also President of Knowledge Bureau, a national educational institute focused on professional development of tax and financial advisors. Follow her on twitter @evelynjacks, and here in Knowledge Bureau Report.

Copies may be reserved online, or by calling 1.866.953.4769.

MEDIA: Will COVID19 Change the Way We Do Business in the Future? (CJAD 800 AM)

Pleased to join Natasha Hall of CJAD 800 AM radio (Montreal) to discuss recent COVID19 developments and how it might change the way we do business in the future.  As business leaders and their staff members scramble to deal with the current challenge, it is an interesting question to consider what this experience might mean for the future.  Will work ever be the same again, or is the world of business forever changed?

Consider a few simple examples:

  • The “office job”, could lend itself well to working on a remote basis; but is it that simple?  Anyone who has managed a staff group remotely, such as in a different geographic location, can appreciate just how much this differs from managing a team that is under the same roof.  What are some areas that need to be addressed in order to do this effectively?
  • The “service job”, which could include a wide range of companies, such as wellness, food, and household services.  Many of these require interaction on a personal level, such as visiting a hair stylist, repair shop, or tailor, but will these companies face higher standards in the future, such as in terms of cleanliness and service delivery guidelines?  How will this impact how a business is managed?
  • The “user experience”, such as transportation, hospitality, and events.  Most of us are familiar with what it’s like to travel on a crowded plane, train, or bus or to spend time in a restaurant, hotel, or entertainment venue.  Will “personal space” or cleaning requirements change?  What could this mean for a company’s cost structure and viability going forward?

There are certainly some interesting areas to consider, that meet at the intersection of a company, its management, and customer/client base.  Given the experience of COVID19, it stands to reason that there will be an additional factor that could play a significant role: the notion of space, designed to protect people from that which could hurt them.  In this case, it’s protection from a global virus without a cure, one that has kept people isolated worldwide for weeks, months, maybe longer.

So, will COVID19 change the way that we do business in the future?  You can listen to our conversation here; with my thanks to Natasha Hall!

MEDIA: CBC News Network Viewer Q & A (Business in Times of COVID19)

Pleased to join Elmer Kim and Michael Serapio of CBC News Network to answer viewer questions about business in times of COVID19.


These are difficult times for business leaders, and although numerous support programs have been announced, it can be challenging to understand the details and implications.  Here are a few things to keep in mind as we continue to navigate through this unprecedented period:

  • Accept the fact that these are challenging days.  The Federal and Provincial governments have released a lot of information about programs to help business and individuals; this can be overwhelming.  Try to focus in on the areas that pertain to your situation, “one bite at a time”.  As questions arise, be sure to write them down so that you have a record at hand of areas that you want to discuss and clarify.
  • Connect with others.  Remember that a local, national, and global business community is going through the challenges of COVID19; you are not alone and do not have to navigate through this in isolation (OK, you might be in your house, but you can still connect with others).  Reach out to business owners, industry and professional associations, and advisors for help, as they can bring meaningful context and answers (strength in numbers is a good thing).
  • Speak up when overlooked.  If you feel that your situation is not being addressed by the current support programs, contact your MP and government to voice your concerns.  Do not assume that they understand what it is like to be in business or how/why a gap in support programs is a problem; be prepared to spell it out, in plain language and with examples (quantifying the financial and job implications can be particularly helpful).
  • Expect more to come.  These are fluid times, and although each day might seem like a month or longer, governments are moving rapidly to help Canadians.  We have seen support programs unfold on a daily and weekly basis, and although a good foundation is in place, there is more to do (areas that come to mind include addressing gaps in the areas of very small businesses, the self-employed, and mandating financial institutions to provide payment deferrals more broadly).  This is why it is so important to speak up about gaps and shortfalls in the system.
  • Look for opportunities to reinvent.  Turbulent times bring opportunity, as the shell of yesterday breaks open to reveal a new tomorrow.  What could this mean for your business, in the present and future?  Look to companies who have already started to do this, such as manufacturers who have adapted and retooled to produce what is desperately needed in this moment, and then, look beyond that.  Companies are using this time to consider the new path forward; advisors can help.

It’s my pleasure to answer your questions; keep them coming and hopefully we can chat again soon.  In the meantime, stay well and look for the silver linings in your world.

MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (April, 2020)

Launching the home studio for the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel in times of COVID19, alongside Elmer Kim and John Northcott.  Our segment was devoted to business as COVID19 unfolds, including record unemployment levels, government support programs, and the struggling oil sector.

As developments in this area are rapidly unfolding, a few quick thoughts based on where we are at today:

  • Unprecedented unemployment levels.  Expect to see unemployment levels continue to increase, offset by programs that provide the opportunity for employers to retain staff (such as the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy).  Having said that, the bottom line is that a significant portion of Canada’s workforce isn’t working and may not be for some time, including those who are unemployed, being retained through government programs, or are underemployed due to working less.  Maintaining connection to the workforce is critical for employers, employees, and self-employed people.
  • Self-employment support shortfalls.  Under the current income support programs, it appears that self-employed people only qualify for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (maximum of $2,000 per month).  Many self-employed people who work on a full time basis earn far in excess of $2,000 monthly, representing a significant and urgent support gap.  Those who are working, but earning less due to customer and client circumstances, should be compensated in a manner that brings income up to at least the support level, as opposed to having to cease work in order to collect.
  • A loan is a loan.  Although there is certainly a place for loan programs as part of COVID19 support, it is important to remember that loans must be repaid, even if the interest rate is zero and a portion could be forgiven.  Loan repayment is dependent upon cash flow, something that companies may or may not have in the future.  It is important to remember that loan programs should not be a substitute for supports that address current income and cashflow needs, such as a wage replacement.
  • Upping the banks’ ante.  Thus far, the Federal government and banks have indicated that processes have been put in place to help customers “on a case by case basis”, in terms of areas such as loan payment deferrals.  Feedback has been reported as mixed at best, and given the risk averse nature of financial institutions generally, more needs to be done to provide broad-based relief, which could be achieved through a government mandate or similar measures.  The bottom line: financial institutions are living in a COVID19 world, whether they like it or not, and if sufficient actions are not taken now to assist people and businesses with their immediate cashflow needs, expect future default levels to be widespread.

On a lighter note, this was my first opportunity to be part of CBC News Network’s world-wide streaming from my home studio.  My director was watching every moment of it; how fortunate am I?  See you again very soon, CBC!

 

A World Away from Yesterday

This article was published by CMC Canada.

There was a time when it was a given that a family business would be passed from one generation to the next; in many cases, it was just a matter of time.  Over the course of 20 or 30 years in business, things changed, but not at the pace or in the manner that has been the case over the past few years.

We have certainly seen the impact of demographics and technological disruption on business succession, but there’s also considerations that relate to changes in the global economy and the financial uncertainty that continues to evolve.  Consider the following factors, in terms of their impact on both the current operations and future viability of family businesses:

Trade relations.  Recent years have brought numerous trade developments, including tariffs, disputes, and negotiation of new agreements, such as the USMCA (to replace NAFTA).  This agreement not only includes new clauses, it has also created uncertainty, given the lengthy negotiation timeframe and the fact that it is yet to be formally enacted.  In addition, ongoing trade discussions between the US and China and the friction associated with the detainment of a Huawei executive have left many countries wondering what the outcome will be, along with uncertainty associated with Brexit, the European Union, and turmoil in Venezuela.  This state of flux impacts critical areas such as business investment and growth strategies, as well as financial performance, when unexpected tariffs and trade bans come into play (the case of Canadian canola imports being halted by China is a recent example).

Ally uncertainty.  For those of us who have been on this Earth for a while, there has been relative consistency in terms of who are considered to be global allies and those who are foes to be regarded with caution.  In challenging times, it has been a given that countries such as Canada and the United States would work together with allies in Europe and the rest of the Commonwealth to protect interests and combat potential harm.  In recent years, traditional alliances have become less certain, with US leadership effectively reducing its global profile and “making nice” with questionable regimes.  Besides the obvious “headline” appeal, the reality is that economic circumstances tend to follow relationships, and when uncertainty occurs, it could translate into business risks, and sometimes, opportunities, if the situation is approached effectively.  Regardless, companies are impacted by these developments, even if they occur in faraway places (think about the realities faced by farmers and everyone who counts them as customers, when Canadian canola shipments are turned away by China).

Financial matters.  In addition to how trade, alliance, and global economic factors could impact a company, there are also matters closer to home that contribute to changing times.  Consider areas such as increasing interest rates, changes in tax legislation, and the challenges associated with access to capital.  Canadian businesses have seen significant tax changes in recent years, some proposed, some enacted.  In addition to the real life implications, business leaders have had to seek specialized advice to understand areas such as income splitting and potential clawback of the small business deduction.  Potential successors are challenged to procure the necessary capital in order to undertake a business transaction, in an investment and financing environment that has become increasingly competitive and complex, as financial partners also monitor global developments.

The bottom line is that a company must have the ability to demonstrate marketplace relevance well into the future; in the absence of doing so, there is no basis to achieve ongoing successful operations, making transition irrelevant.  Leaders of tomorrow must be able to demonstrate a viable business model, strategy, and plan to make their time at the helm worthwhile, but also to secure the necessary capital to complete a succession transaction.  Current and future family business leaders can (and should) take action now by reading Defusing the Family Business Time Bomb.  A world of opportunity (and risk) awaits!

At the Speed of Fright (I Mean, Light)

This article was published by CMC Canada.

The pace at which our world is evolving is one of those things that has become so common, we don’t always take the time to think about its impact.  Phones that are used to watch broadcast media, cars that don’t need gas or a driver to operate, personal “assistants” that can place orders on command, rockets that can essentially land themselves, mapping applications that make logistics a snap; these are phenomenal developments.  While these technologies and many others have made our lives easier, they have also presented significant challenges to the business community.  Consider the following:

  • Business model blow up.  The manner in which companies make money has changed dramatically in many cases, which cuts to the very heart of business; this is easily illustrated by the retail industry.  While stores used to be the primary shopping option, consumers now have access to a range of methods, including online, rapid delivery, subscription models, and mass media e-tailers.  Consumers have, in fact, come to demand these options, leaving companies to struggle to meet the pace of change, with many finding themselves in a too little, too late situation, unable to survive.  This disruption scenario is true in almost any industry.
  • Strategy break down.  In order to migrate a company through significant change, a key requirement is having a strategy that is proactive, comprehensive, and relevant.  These attributes are driven by having a thorough and timely understanding of the changes that are occurring in the external environment, including industry trends, technologies, and marketplace developments.  Too often, business leaders focus primarily on what’s occurring inside of their company, with a “they need us” mentality when it comes to customers.  This mindset is one that greatly jeopardizes the future of a company.
  • Resource reckoning.  New business models utilize resources differently; examples include the need for fewer people, different skillsets, roles that are held by technology, and utilizing strategic partnerships.  Each of these bring changes in workflow design, systems, processes, and costs (remember that costs directly impact pricing!).  Companies that do not proactively pursue the need to change how they work tend to get left behind at the worst of times, when more savvy competitors have implemented these methods, making it impossible for others to catch up and compete; which leads to this last point.
  • Financial shortfall.  Integral to a successful business is the ability to generate at least good financial performance (strong results are, of course, better), thereby creating the fuel to invest, grow, and sustain over the long term. When a company does not have the right business model, it isn’t in a position to build the appropriate strategies to utilize resources well and be competitive over the long term, which leads to poor financial results; it’s all connected.  Companies in this situation lack market relevance and are, too often, left without a future.  Think about what this means to a business leader who is depending on the transition of their company to someone else, as the basis to fund their retirement.

The reality is that many of the advancements that we live with today represent technologies that much of society could not have imagined even five years ago.  What will the next five years bring?  The next 10 years?  As technological advancement continues to accelerate, even the next two to three years will be highly significant.  Is your company ready to face this challenge?

Remember that challenge also brings opportunity, but only for those who are well positioned to approach it.  Learn more about the profound impact of disruption in the external environment, as well as how to take control and benefit from it by reading Defusing the Family Business Time Bomb.  The future of any company is based on its ability to continue to be relevant to the marketplace over the long term.  In today’s world, this is anything but a given.

Defusing the Family Business Time Bomb: 4 Important Threats to Understand, Now!

This article was published by CMC-Canada in the Winter, 2019 edition of Consult


The Top 4 Threats to your Family Business in 2019
Many of us are familiar with family business leaders in our community; perhaps, you were raised in this environment or are managing a company yourself.  Family businesses represent a considerable segment of the Canadian economy and have the potential to be unstoppable; where everyone works together to move forward with common purpose.  Family businesses, however, can also be plagued with the conflict and strife that tend to be associated with relationships that are close, personal, and longstanding; this reflects the other side of the coin.  By their very nature, family businesses can be tricky.

There is something more, however, that business leaders need to be concerned about; something that could impact the future of both their company and their family’s wealth, and it is simply this: Family businesses are facing the most explosive challenge in a generation.  The reason?  Seldom have so many potential threats been evident in our external environment, many of which make headlines on a daily basis.  Consider the following:

  • Demographic factors.  Experienced advisors know that the majority of aging business owners do not have a succession plan and research has supported this finding over the years.  They also do not fully appreciate the reality that there are a limited number of potential successors, in terms of those who have the necessary skills, interest, and capital to take over a company.  This fact alone has the potential to halt business transition in its tracks.
  • Disruption of key industries.  The manner in which we live has, and continues, to change.  Consumers and companies procure goods and services differently than in the past, resulting in the need for new and complex business models, many of which are supported by rapid digital and technological advancement.  Companies that do not keep up with marketplace expectations not only face declining demand, but also the risk of obsolescence, in terms of transition to someone else.  This can be a sobering and disappointing reality for many business leaders.
  • Significant change in the global economy.  The daily headlines in our world are often characterized by widespread change, including in areas such as trade, tariffs, political alliances, and business requirements.  This ongoing evolution brings uncertainty, with the potential to significantly impact a company’s planning efforts, financial results, and valuation upon transition.
  • Uncertain financial times.  Recent tax changes in a number of areas have generated many questions from family business leaders, impacting areas such as income distribution and investment opportunities.  When coupled with increasing interest rates, accessing the capital that is so integral to business growth and transition strategies could become increasingly difficult, a challenge that especially impacts young entrepreneurs and potential successors.

Any one of these developments can have a significant impact, but when combined, it could create a situation that is impossible for an unprepared company to overcome.  When these areas are considered in the context of typical family business problems, the stage is set for unprecedented challenge; one that impacts families, companies, and Canada’s business community as a whole.

The reality, however, is that many business leaders are unaware of the degree to which these factors have developed, often as a result of not spending a sufficient amount of time to fully understand the external environment, including industry and market trends and developments.  Since this is clearly a critical time for business leaders and their families, Evelyn Jacks and I decided to write our latest book, Defusing the Family Business Time Bomb.  This isn’t just another “family business book”; rather, it brings a common-sense approach to addressing the many challenges that are associated with building a company that has the potential to be sold to someone else in the future, all during highly uncertain times.

Here’s a final thought: As business leaders in great numbers face retirement, it is only the well managed and strategically positioned companies that will have relevance in the future, enabling them to be transitioned to someone else for a “good to great” level of value.  This stark reality is something that must be recognized by both founders and successors alike.

Escaping the Demographic Trap

Many family business leaders have the expectation that their company will eventually be passed to the next generation and maybe even to the one after that.  Perhaps this is why they established the company in the first place: to provide for the family’s financial needs over the long term, building wealth and security in the process.  Having possession and control of this type of “economic engine” brings with it the power of options and the benefits that are associated with not having to rely on others to earn an income.  Achieving longevity isn’t so easy, however, as research indicates that successful passage of a company to future generations is not typical.

The current environment in which we live is characterized by a number of important realities that impact long term business survival: many companies are led by aging business leaders, most do not have a formal succession plan, and the next generation is getting restless.  Couple this with a backdrop of significant disruption, in terms of technological, economic, political, and social factors and it’s easy to recognize that these days are like no other.

Let’s briefly consider what the current demographic environment means, in the context of family businesses:

  • Business leaders are remaining engaged with their companies for a longer period of time, as traditional retirement has become less of a rite of passage and people are more inclined to lead an active life that includes work.  The other side of this trend includes realities such as needing to work longer to support lifestyle expenditures and indecision around how a company should be transitioned (and family squabbling doesn’t help).
  • Potential successors are seeing little advancement in terms of succession, resulting in the decision to consider other options, beyond that of the family business.  As successors themselves get older, this is understandable, however, it can blindside a founder, leaving them to wonder how their “succession plan” could have gotten away.  This could have serious implications for the future of a company, leaving the business leader to revisit the issue of succession entirely or little in the way of viable transition options.
  • The number of potential successors is limited, in that the next leader is only a realistic option if they have the necessary skills, interest, and capital to undertake a transaction.  This group is further reduced by family members who have moved on to pursue other opportunities, in a demographic group that is already smaller than the generations ahead of it.

When it comes to demographics, you can run, but you can’t hide.  At some point in time, all companies will require new leadership if they are to continue to operate, and the extent to which this can be done successfully is largely dependent on one thing: thoughtful and formal transition planning.  As simple as it might sound, research has shown that the vast majority of business leaders do not do this.

Learn more about the implications of demographics and how you can avoid the “trap” by reading Defusing the Family Business Time Bomb.   Use promo code familybusiness to save on the price of multiple copies, and pay no taxes and shipping costs on all purchases of our book, through January 27, 2019!  The future of your company and family’s income stream will thank you for it.

BOOK RELEASE: Defusing the Family Business Time Bomb

I’m pleased to announce the launch of my new book, Defusing the Family Business Time Bomb!  This isn’t just another family business book.  Why?  Because family businesses are facing the most explosive challenge in a generation.

The reason?  While it is quite normal for a typical family business to be inundated with challenge and change, seldom have so many potential threats been evident:

  • Demographic factors.  The majority of aging Baby Boomer business owners do not have a succession plan and don’t appreciate the reality that there are a limited number of potential successors.
  • Disruption of key industries.  New, complex business models and rapid digital/technological advancement have the potential to reduce valuations and make transition to new ownership either irrelevant or much more costly.
  • Dramatic change in the global economy.  Makes strategic planning difficult, increases competition, and could escalate the cost of doing business, thereby shrinking profit margins.
  • Uncertain financial times.  Complex tax changes, restrictions to family income sprinkling, and a new clawback of the small business deduction all impact profitability, investment opportunities, and access to capital. This challenge could be especially difficult for young entrepreneurs or successors.
  • Typical family business problems.  The conflict, apathy, sudden or emerging illness, or control issues can affect relationships, decision-making and, ultimately, the health of both entities: the family and the company.

Business leaders are under siege, but do they know it?  These issues are significant and very much present in the current business environment, with additional evolution and challenges occurring with each day that passes.

Whether you are a long-time business owner getting ready to transition out or a new entrant to the “gig economy”, poised to grow and expand, you will appreciate this book for its contemporary and practical advice. It brings a common-sense approach to the challenges associated with building a company that has the potential to be sold to someone else in the future. This from two experienced authors and business leaders who have helped the owners, executives, investors, and professional advisors with whom they work to prepare for the most explosive challenge in a generation: the retirement of the Baby Boomers and transition of their companies to a new guard, who face pitfalls and opportunities of their own.

Join me and Evelyn Jacks on this important journey for your business and your family.  Order your copy here!

EVENTS: Coming to a City Near You!

Just about to hit the road on my speaking tour, as part of the Knowledge Bureau CE Summits! This series focuses on year end planning for investors and small businesses, designed for advisors who work with these important clients. I’m looking forward to speaking about challenges that family businesses face in two sessions: The Family Business Time Bomb: Transition, Improve, or Wind up? and a case study discussion, Embracing Disruption and Risk in Succession Planning (yes, you can!).

While it’s typical for a family business to be inundated with challenges and change, seldom have so many potential threats been evident: demographic factors, disruption of key industries, dramatic change in the global economy, and uncertain financial times.  It’s no longer sufficient for leaders to focus their efforts primarily on addressing typical “family business” problems.  Doing so puts the very future of the company and the family’s finances at risk and makes successful transition less likely.

Business owners need to take action now, in order to defuse the ticking time bomb that puts the family’s opportunity for future wealth creation at risk.  Advisors can play a key role in this regard, but only if they bring the value and expertise that business leaders are seeking. Key areas of assistance include the ability to:

  • Work with clients to build value;
  • Develop goals and implement strategies, in terms of business modeling, track record, competitive advantage, and other growth related factors; and
  • Initiate transition planning in a manner that addresses the “time bomb” factors that business owners are facing.

In order to get there, professional service providers need to understand the advisory skillset that business leaders are seeking.  Doing so provides the foundation for differentiation in the marketplace, as well as building a robust advisory firm over the long term.  It’s up to you to ensure that your firm doesn’t get left behind.

Join us for this valuable session by registering here.  See you on the road!