Monday, July 30, 2012

How Your Family Business Can Benefit From Telling Your History

Our next Webinar is scheduled for August 21, 2012 at 3:00 PM EST, with Bonnie Hurd Smith, President and CEO of History Smiths. Bonnie desires to help Business Families achieve business results AND make a significant difference in the communities they serve.

This webinar will help Business Families learn to tell their story. Telling the story of your family business can show what makes your family unique, build an “emotional connection” with your customers, and deepen their loyalty.

No one else can tell YOUR story! And the fact is, people love a warm and fuzzy family story. No one is interested in the occasional family conflict. Instead, people want to hear stories about multiple generations working together and passing down knowledge from one generation to the next. They want to hear proud father/son stories, or mother/daughter stories, or husband/wife stories. Why? Because it’s what we all want in our own lives.

Bonnie is an experienced organizational/project manager, cultural tourism and public relations professional, event planner, and fundraiser. She is also a respected historian, the author of numerous historical books and articles, and a popular public speaker. She has served as the board president of the Sargent House Museum (a historic house museum in Gloucester, Massachusetts), as executive director of the Ipswich (MA) Historical Society, and she currently serves as a commissioner of the Essex National Heritage Commission and as a member of the Massachusetts Historical Records Council.

Registration to join The Network of Family Businesses and be eligible for the On-Line Educational Webinar is available at:

For additional information email:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why an Exit Strategy

Mark Lee and Karen Benz of, Business Legacy Consulting, began their discussion of “How to Ensure a Legacy for a Business Family with this quote by a famous philosopher.

            “You got to be careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there.”
                                     Yogi Berra

Mark stated if you don’t put together a plan to accomplish something, there is a good chance you won’t attain what you want and need to.  That could not be more true in the area of exiting a business. Research shows that many business owners just don’t ever plan on leaving their businesses or believe that there will always be a tomorrow. 

These reasons contribute to what Mark and Karen call the “Ostrich Syndrome” or the excuses why individuals do not plan their exit.
A.   “Too early”?  --  They suggest you start planning 3 -5 years before you leave your business.
B.    “Too complex?” – Yes it is!  That’s why you need help.  Exit planners work to coordinate the work of your advisory team.
C.    “Too time consuming?  -- Yes, if you do it alone.  Again, exit planners will do the planning and coordinating of the work to be done.

An Exit Strategy includes the written goals for the succession of  business ownership and control, derived from a well-thought out and properly timed plan that considers all factors, all interested parties, and the personal goals of the owners in a manner and a time period that works best for the business, its shareholders, potential buyers, and Family.

Mark and Karen left our members with much to think about as well as these three takeaways a Business Family can begin to immediately process:

1. Every business owner will eventually leave their business.  The question is, will they leave on their   
    terms or on someone else’s?

2. The most important aspect of exit planning is going through the process of setting goals.

3. Those who are the happiest with their position in life after the transition are those who planned for it.

The majority of business owners spend an average of 80 hours developing a business plan –this at a time WHEN THE BUSINESS HAS LITTLE TO NO VALUE and yet they spend only 6 hours planning for their exit – WHEN THE BUSINESS IS WORTH SO MUCH MORE.

Plan for your transition – on your terms –and protect your Business Legacy and your family…

Mark and Karen, thank you for your insight and wisdom on the critical issue for Business Families.

They can be contacted at