Thursday, May 26, 2011

It Really is All About Family

As a very proud grandfather,

I would like to introduce the world to my new granddaughter –

Heidi Eva Moyer who arrived safely Sunday morning - May 22, 2011 - at 1153 weighing in at 9lbs 9oz and measuring 22 inches long. She is perfect!

She joins my son, daughter in-law, and her big sister, Lydia.

What a joy and blessing Family is.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What to do - Best and Worst Practices in Family Businesses

In a recent on-line seminar Frederick D. Lipman, Esq. discussed the Best and Worst Practices in Family Businesses. Fred is an internationally known authority on business law, has authored 12 books with his most recent being The Family Business Guide. He has lectured internationally and nationally including at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and is with Blank Rome LLP Counselors at Law.

Fred began his discussion by describing what he believes are four Success Factors for the successful transition of the Family Business.

1. The Economic opportunity the business provides the family.

2. A business with a stable product.

3. Clearly defined and explicitly written Dispute Resolution policies.

4. The positive mentoring of successive generations.

Fred reiterated, throughout his presentation, that he believes Divorce is the major risk in every family business and therefore requires the proper agreements and policies, in writing and signed. It is the responsibility of the founder of the business, or the senior generation, to put in place legal mechanisms to resolve disputes and not allow the business to be jeopardized.

A few of the topics that Fred provided the Best and Worst Practices included; Mentoring the Next Generation; Succession Planning; Shareholder / Owners Agreements; Pre-Nuptial Agreements; Selling the Family Business; and Taking the Family Business Public to name just a few.

This virtual seminar provided many golden nuggets of information, do’s and don’ts for the Family in Business that truly desires to build the business legacy for the family.

There are four key items that families need to begin working on immediately:

1. Examine your family’s position and/or policies for these critical issues and determine what your family wants and needs as they establish the transgenerational legacy.

2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate clearly and appropriately with the family what is going on, be transparent in the goals and put the protection in writing.

3. Then sign and execute to documents, agreements, and policies to protect the business and family.

4. This process requires a team of experts; a Family Business Consultant, a Family Business Attorney, and a Family Business Accountant.

If you would like to discuss these critical issues in greater detail, please contact me, I would be happy to talk with you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Family Business Check-Up

As we looked at in a post earlier this year, Physicians encourage us to have annual check-ups. This is critical in order to understand, prevent and address potential health risks.

Family owned Businesses, of any age or generation, also need to take routine assessment of the health of their business, family, and individuals in the business. To get a clear true understanding, the assessment should consider, separately and in combination, all the factors that enhance the health of the Business Family. Critical areas that should be evaluated can include: Leadership; Values; Change; Goal Orientation; Empowerment; Communications; Team Work; Interpersonal Relationships; Familiness; Customer Focus; and Individual Recognition.

The best way to find out what is actually going on in the family and business is to ask those in the family and in the business. Last time we considered Familiness; this time the check-up considers the area of Values.

A recognition and adoption of the values, guidelines, and way of behaving that a Family has declared by which family members behave, make decisions and take actions. When there is strong commitment and agreement to those values family members and employees are able to focus on the family needs and the business needs and mission.

Each Family Member should address the following statements:

1. Our family has written Values that motivate, guide, and impact our family’s actions and behaviors.

2. Our Family Values are sometimes compromised to attain the business goals.

3. Our Family traditions often interfere with clear thinking and effective decision-making.

4. One of our Family’s strengths lies in the strong commitment of doing the right thing because it is the right thing.

5. As a Family we ‘audit’ ourselves to determine if we are living and practicing our family and business values.

How would your family, employees, and customers, clients, or vendors, answer these questions about the Values of your family and your family business?

We will continue to explore critical areas for the annual check-up of Family Owned Business in later posts.

What are your thoughts regarding the annual check-up?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Best and Worst Practices in Family Businesses

The Network of Family Businesses has scheduled an on-line educational seminar with Frederick D. Lipman on The Best and Worst Practices in Family Businesses. The seminar scheduled for Tuesday, May 17th at 11:00 AM EST.

In a White Paper found at Fred begins to explore best and worst practices for Mentoring in a Family Business, Succession Planning in the Family Business, a Shareholder Agreement for the Ownership as well as numerous additional critical items for Business Families building their family legacy.

Fred is an internationally known authority on business law and has authored 12 books, including his most recent, The Family Business Guide. He has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, and Chinese television and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, and other publications. He was a lecturer in the MBA program at the Wharton School of Business for five years and at the University of Pennsylvania Law School for ten years. He has lectured in China, Thailand, and India. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he has more than 40 years of experience in corporate governance (including special committee and controlling shareholder representation), trust law, mergers and acquisitions, insurance, private equity, and IPOs.

We at The Network of Family Business are excited to have Fred presenting.

Registration for the On-Line Educational Seminar is available at: