Family businesses

Alongside the standard problems and successes that any business experiences, family businesses have an additional raft of issues and prospects to contend with. For example:

  • finding an acceptable family business code to guide decision making, remuneration and relationships at work
  • succession planning – including choosing between family members and the difficulties current leaders often have in letting go
  • multiple family shareholders (including extended family members)
  • practical issues of handing over from one generation to the next
  • getting the best contribution from and appropriately rewarding non-family management
  • personal and family differences interfering with the business
  • next generation family members who don’t want any involvement with the business
  • inheritance tax planning – including appropriate trusts set up
  • emotional and practical implications of selling the family silver
  • holding onto tradition at the expense of business success or even survival.

Our approach to helping our clients address these issues is sensitive, practical and informed. We find that there can be many elephants in the room where family businesses are concerned and it’s only by involving an experienced, impartial and skilled adviser that matters can be brought out into the open and dealt with constructively.

Our specialist family business services include:

  • developing a family business code
  • succession planning
  • supporting the next generation.

Developing a family business code

By conducting individual interviews and questionnaires with key stakeholders, combined with a series of facilitated discussions, we work with family businesses to develop a tailored family business code.

This is essentially a documented charter or blueprint for the business covering areas such as:

  • long-term strategic aims, visions and values
  • how the family (or families) will be involved in the business
  • distinguishing between family and business
  • roles and responsibilities (including documenting appropriate and unacceptable behaviours)
  • decision making processes and attitudes to risk
  • how leadership succession will be managed
  • principles of ownership, control and remuneration
  • involvement of non-family senior managers
  • management and family meetings.

No two family businesses are ever the same and reaching a consensus is rarely easy. Articulating and explaining deeply held convictions and addressing longstanding taboos can be emotive and difficult – especially within a family environment. Our experienced facilitators can use their experience to guide you through what is an inevitably challenging and complex process.

Succession planning

When the principles of succession planning are clear, we can advise on the tax implications and help you to act to optimise the tax position for the family.

Supporting the next generation

We can provide specific training or act in a more general and wide-ranging mentor role for the next generation of (family or non-family) business leaders.

Our clients in the next generation tell us they greatly value us as a sounding board and an experienced “friend” to turn to outside of the family business. Call us to talk about how we can support your family business. Dial 0113 297 6789 and ask for Susan Seaman, Kevin Hoult or Paul Lodder.