Family Business Challenges
Family Business Challenges are a comprehensive series of guides for family business owners (and those working in family firms) that set out how to identify and tackle some of the issues that are commonly faced. These guides include case studies and useful links to further reading. You must be logged in to download these pdfs.
Understanding Family Business
What makes family firms different and how can you identify these distinctions and make the most of the unique advantages that family companies enjoy? This guide explores the three-circle model of family business, and some of key actions for owners to consider when assessing how to identify and manage their business and family objectives. This guide includes a case study of north-east family pork butchers MI Dickson.
Maintaining Family Values
Developing a shared vision based on family values is usually essential for long-term family business success. How can families learn to acknowledge and explore their values, helping them to stay united? This guide explores how values can be used to enrich the business and family, and looks at how Benfield Motor Group live and communicate their values.
Successful owners aim to pass on the business to the next generation in a healthier condition than when they inherited it. They work to maintain family agreement around the idea that the business is a shared asset to be used for the long-term benefit of the family. This guide looks at how this can be developed within your business, and includes a case study of Bettys & Taylors Group - ‘a great Yorkshire family business’.
Sustainability is about managing transitions within the family, but also about taking a long term outlook on the wider sustainability agenda – promoting economic, environmental and social responsibility. This guide explores strategies for promoting sustainability and includes a case study of OCS, one of the UK’s largest privately owned companies.
Building Family Governance
Successful family business owners learn to manage two facets of governance – family and corporate governance. This guide looks at how families can develop the rules and objectives that govern their relationship with the business. It also includes a case study looking at how famous shoe company Clarks rejuvenated their family governance structures.
Family businesses are especially vulnerable to conflict. This guide looks at the common causes of tension, how to identify likely flash points early, and what can be done to prevent and manage conflict. It also includes a case study of Glasgow-based music and home cinema systems company Linn Products.
Strengthening Family Communication
Good communication is at the heart of any successful business. Families can often fall into bad habits of presuming that communication is good because they are close. This guide looks at how families can improve communication about the business, and how to deal with difficult conversations when they arise. Included in this guide is a case study of 150 year old Leicestershire business M Wright and Sons.
Fostering Responsible Ownership
Family business owners have special responsibilities. The business often represents a key part of a family's financial wealth but also of that family's tradition and legacy. This guide looks at common attitudes of responsible owners, how these can be developed amongst family members, and includes a case study of third generation food and drink suppliers A F Blakemore and Son.
Managing Communication - Owners and the Board
There's a danger of role confusion when family business people think about ownership and management. It's important to build a set of principles and processes governing how shareholders interact with independent directors. This guide looks at how those processes and principles can be developed, and includes a case study of Strutt and Parker (Farms) Ltd.
How can a family firm stay competitive and renew itself through each generation? How can it balance stewardship and entrepreneurial risk-taking? The guide features a case study on family business entrepreneurship, profiling the Timpson Group.
Professionalising the Board
Family business people sometimes resist recruiting outsiders who can strengthen their board of directors. It's important to overcome this resistance if you are to build a professional, effective board. This guide also discusses how to organise the board so as to maximise its contribution, and includes a case study of fourth generation food producer Samworth Brothers.
Maximising People Capital
Family businesses create a special and positive relationship with their employees, but they can face issues when seeking to recruit non-family talent into the firm. As family businesses grow, challenges can arise. This guide looks at how to attract, retain and develop talent in your family firm, developing best practice, and includes a case study of sixth generation firm William Jackson Food Group.
Branding the Family Business
Family firms are held in high regard amongst consumers, but not all family firms make the most of the competitive advantage this gives them. This guide looks at the public perceptions of family firms, and the four keys to successful family business branding. Included in this guide is a case study of 300 year old wine merchants Berry Bros & Rudd, taking a look at how they draw on their heritage.
Family businesses can outgrow their traditional advisers. Becoming more open to outside influences, including talented advisers and consultants, marks an important step, making family businesses more sustainable. This guide looks at the areas where advisers can add value, and includes a case study of scotch whisky distillers William Grant & Sons.
Engaging the Next Generation
As well as benefits and opportunities, the next generation face special obstacles and pressures. What is the best way to inspire and equip the next generation to become effective and responsible owners? This guide looks at when to start talking to children about the family business, a framework for building stronger relationships with the next generation, and includes a case study of pharmacy firm Day Lewis.
The willingness to plan for succession often determines whether family businesses survive or fail. How can you structure a systematic approach that helps overcome all the forces favouring doing nothing? This guide looks at the transition process, how to involve multiple generations in that process, and includes a case study of how construction firm Wates Group managed their own succession planning.
Selling the Family Business
Family management succession isn’t realistic for all companies. Whether or not you are looking to sell, it's important to make contingency plans. There are also the emotional aspects of a sale to consider. This guide looks at assessing whether sale is right for you, the emotional and financial considerations, and includes a case study of bed retailer Dreams.