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Family Businesses – Resilience and Legacy

A recent white paper by Deloitte explores strengths intrinsic to family business that may give these enterprises a relative advantage during this unusual year. Interestingly, the subject of business culture is once again comes into focus. “Alongside the millions of healthcare professionals and volunteers, some family businesses are being branded as ‘heroes’ by their local and national communities in the current crisis,” the paper states. “This often comes down to the family values that have been instilled for generations across the business, in family members and employees, and then ultimately imparted to customers. It is these inherent values and solid organizational purpose that can secure loyalty far beyond the crisis.”

The paper also points out that this may be the perfect time to elevate the involvement of the next generation in your business’ succession plan. The up-and-coming entrepreneurs of the family may be “readily available “extra pair of hands” in a time when resources are either scarce or not available, as well as a valuable sounding board or source of fresh ideas.” Digital natives, they might also be poised to lead new and innovative efforts during a time when digital interfacing with clients and vendors is increasingly vital. “Not only does this give the next generation a chance to prove themselves, but their active engagement in the business at this time could be the difference between success or failure.

While resilience and core values are often inherent in family businesses, family tensions may also be built in. Generational differences in vision or priorities can be tricky to navigate. The current crisis has led many older business owners to weigh risks to their health and safety alongside normal cost-benefit considerations of doing business.  If you find yourself in this position, it may well be that now is the right time to officially pass the baton to your next-in-line.

Even when the sale is to a trusted family member who has grown up with the business, selling a family business can amplify all of the tensions that go along with running one. You may discover that the sale could be very disruptive for you personally.  All too often, people fail to recognize the emotional and mental stress that comes along with selling a business.  Many owners begin the selling process only to discover that they are not emotionally ready to do so.  While everyone wants to be unemotional in making their business decisions, this is not always the case.

For help navigating the challenges that come with this opportunity, contact us!

See the Deloitte infographic below for insights. Deloitte will be publishing a series of articles on this subject in the coming weeks. If this feels close to home, stay tuned!

LET IT GO? SHOULD YOU SELL YOUR FAMILY BUSINESS?

When the variable of family is added to the equation of selling a business, the situation can get rather messy.  Family usually complicates everything and businesses are, of course, no exception.  Ken McCracken’s recent article “Family business: to sell or not to sell?” 6 questions to help you make the right decision,” seeks to decode the complexities so often associated with family businesses.

Consider the Market 

The foundation of determining whether or not now is the right time to sell must begin with market forces.  Determining how much your business is worth is a key variable in any decision to sell.

The best way to determine the worth of your business is to have an outside party, such as a business broker, evaluate your business.  What you believe your business to be worth and what the market dictates could be very different.  You may discover that your business does not have the value that you hoped for.  If this is the situation, then selling simply may not be an option.

What is Next for You?

Tied to knowing your market value is understanding what you will do next after you sell your business.  For example, do you have a family member who can run the business without you?  What will you and any family members who work for the business do after the sale goes through?  You may discover that the sale could be very disruptive for you personally.  All too often, people fail to recognize the emotional and mental stress that comes along with selling a business.  Many owners begin the selling process only to discover that they are not emotionally ready to do so.  While everyone wants to be unemotional in making their business decisions, this is not always the case.

Due Diligence

You will also need to deal with the issue of due diligence.  Working with a business broker is an excellent way to handle the due diligence process.  Business brokers usually vet prospective buyers ahead of time, which can save you a great deal of aggravation and wasted time.

McCracken believes business owners should investigate how the prospective buyer handled previous acquisitions.  Specifically, McCracken believes that business owners should look to how well the prospective buyer honored previous commitments, as doing so is an indicator of how trustworthy a buyer may be.

Planning for Negotiations

Finally, McCraken believes it is essential to know who will oversee negotiations.  It is key to note that many deals that could have otherwise been successful, fall apart due to poor negotiations.  A business broker can be invaluable in negotiations.  After all, who wouldn’t want someone with dozens, or even hundreds, of successful transactions advising them?

Selling a family business can be emotionally charged and can cause significant life changes for not just you, but for members of your family as well.  Often, family businesses were built up over a lifetime or even over generations, which can make the decision to sell quite emotionally charged. Contact us for help navigating the challenges that come with this opportunity.