Blog

Do “fossilised” owner/parents threaten the survival of their own family businesses?

      An increasing number of family business owners are now past their best decision-making days. With many over 70 years of age they are fossilising on the job, risking the survival of their businesses and families, and the jobs and families of the employees who depend on them. This is not a criticism […]

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Parenting Styles and Family Business

“As ye sow, so shall ye reap” Recent conversations with other family business advisers confirm increasing exposure to business families with serious “fossilisation” issues. Naming no names, the problem seems most prevalent in families with seriously aged founder/owners (70 and 80-year-olds) from traditional European backgrounds.  However, they don’t own all of this space – it’s […]

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Succession – are we missing the point of the economic challenge?

I think we’re missing the point.  I’ve just attended, and presented, at yet another seminar on “Succession Planning” where, as usual, almost everyone talked about:  maximising the value of the business for sale;  tax and asset structures;  insurance;  financing the deal and buy/sell agreements. Don’t get me wrong – they were all good sessions – […]

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Saltwater Crocodile

Family Conflicts:  The Apex Factor The challenges presented by dominant parents/entrepreneurs The Australian saltwater crocodile is an apex predator – it sits at the top of its food chain.  An adult croc faces few natural threats, other than man, and ferociously uses its considerable bulk to assert dominion over its chosen territory. Many family businesses […]

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Risk Management for Business Families

A key characteristic of all enduring business families is their willingness to do whatever is necessary to adequately and appropriately manage all significant risks and threats to their continuity, as a family group.  This applies however the group re-invents itself, from generation to generation. Conversely, the most common cause of business family failure is the […]

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Practice Succession: passing on a legacy, or just selling-out?

A tale of two practices … In 2011 the first Baby Boomers reach 65 – the traditional retirement age for western males. The Boomer generation’s enormous energy, fed by aspirational consumerism and decades of relative peace and prosperity, spawned an explosion of entrepreneurial businesses and professional practices.  Many of the owners and leaders of these […]

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Keeping it (your business) in the Family

The Challenge So you’ve built a good, even a great business, and it’s getting towards that time when, for whatever reason, you want to step out, back, or sideways.  You need someone else to take over the helm.  But, the last thing you want to do is desert everyone who’s supported you over the years, […]

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Governance and the Role of Non-Executive Director

Essentially the non-executive director’s role is to provide a creative contribution to the board by providing objective criticism. they: “should bring an independent judgement to bear on issues of strategy, performance and resources including key appointments and standards of conduct.” There is no legal distinction between executive and non- executive directors. As a consequence, non-executive […]

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Governance Functions and Boards for Family Businesses

Governance Corporate governance refers to the structures, strategies, principles, policies and processes by which businesses, and the senior executives thereof are led, managed, supervised, measured and controlled. Governance style defines the attitude, culture and integrity of an organisation.  It therefore forms a major component of risk management. In many family business environments, executives involved in […]

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Family Business Best Practice – A Magic Toolbox?

What is Family Business “Best Practice”? One of the primary goals of any family business adviser is to increase the effectiveness and success of Australian families in business – helping them attain greater peace and prosperity. Such an outcome suggests that a family has achieved a level of excellence, or “best practice”, but here’s the […]

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