FAMILY BUSINESS EXPERTS SOUTH AFRICA
Family Business Experts South Africa (FBESA) is all about helping South African families in business together!
Our family business consulting expertise is recognized internationally - for helping family businesses to grow, significantly; to help maintain healthy family relationships; and when the time is right, to help transition the business to the next generation - or to prepare to sell the business if that is the better option for the owner.
Family Business Experts South Africa is affiliated with the Atlanta-based Family Business Institute – the very first, world-wide, multi-disciplined family business consulting resource exclusively serving family-owned businesses. FBESA is based in Johannesburg.
Family Business Experts South Africa is based in Johannesburg and services all the major centers across Southern Africa. This includes:
Our services are
provided across all sectors and to family businesses of all ages. We advise business families - from helping to guide and organize new start-ups to helping multi-generational family-owned businesses dealing with complex governance, succession planning and succession management issues - helping them to pass their wealth and wisdom to the next generation.
Don Schwerzler is the founder of the Family Business Institute. A pioneer in the field of family business consulting, Schwerzler began studying and advising family business entrepreneurs in 1967 – a career span of more than 40 years.
Our Family Business Experts South Africa director grew up as a fourth generation member of a family
business that is still in operation today. He earned his MBA at Europe’s top
business school before returning to Johannesburg to assist other family
businesses. Prior to this he spent a decade working in asset management. His
asset management career began in South Africa and also included a four year
stint in Dubai. During this time he has structured investments in some of the
most highly regulated environments, including Jersey and Luxembourg. A member of
the Indian-Muslim community, he has been assisting family businesses since 2012.
Did you notice that the "logo" for the Family Business Institute is three inter-connected circles?
Each circle represents a major “system” that is at play in a family business: The family system; the business management system; and the ownership system.
For a family business to be successful, all three “systems” need to be in balance. What makes a family business so complicated is that when a problem occurs in one system, it will almost always cascade into tone or two of the other systems.
For instance, the death of the owner not only impacts the ownership system, it will also impact the family system and the business management system. The constant re-alignment of these “centers of influence” makes family business dynamics very complex - and very challenging.
Family Business Experts is the web organization for the Family Business Institute. It is the highest-ranked, full-service family business resource site on the Internet. Each month they register more than 100,000 page views and each month they host visitors from more than 100 different countries. Family Business Experts South Africa is part of this network.
One of the most popular pages on the site is the Family Business Help Desk – where a family business can get answers for problems they are experiencing in their family business. There is no charge for this consultation. We invite family-owned businesses in South Africa to visit our site. You have a question - and we have the answers!
If you are a family business owner, you may be interested in completing the Family Business Succession Survey.
It only takes a few minutes to complete the questionnaire. The Survey will be reviewed by one of our Family Business Experts South Africa experts and will report the confidential results to the business owner.
Getting a better understanding of the succession issues will help a family business owner beat the “Succession Odds”. Why does FBESA think this is important? In the USA, only about 30% if family business successfully transition to the next generation; only about 12 % successfully transition to the third generation; and only about 3% successfully transition to the fourth generation! The succession statistics for South Africa mirror those in the USA.
GROWING THE FAMILY BUSINESS
One of the most frustrating problems that confronts family business owners – how to grow the business, significantly. Change Management is often not a priority, particularly for mature family businesses, but it is essential. Coming back to the three-circle model, the business system and its environment is changing all the time. It’s important for families to adapt to changes in this environment – and that might encourage changes in the other two systems to keep everything in “sync”. It is important to understand that family business dynamics are in a constant state of flux. If your family business is not reaching its full potential, Family Business Experts South Africa can help! Simply use the ASK THE EXPERTS form at the bottom of this page to arrange for a no-cost consultation.
For example, in the digital age, that change may involve taking the family business online. An online presence has become essential in today’s market. Developing a website is becoming easier, with “do it yourself” template solutions available online. One of the questions FBESA poses to our clients – “why build a web site - why not build a web business?”
Building a business around that web site does not take a great deal of technical expertise – and help is always provided by the web site development platforms like SiteBuildIt.
Web sites, Google AdWords and social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn have changed the way family businesses communicate with their customers and their vendors (external communications) as well as with their employees and family members (internal communications).
It is not unusual for “business families” to grow faster than the family’s business. In those cases, the financial needs of the family compounds with each generation. A generational family business can easily go from supporting 5 people to 10 or 12 in a few years. Entrepreneurial ventures soon morph into "sibling partnerships" (second generation) and then into "cousin consortiums" (third generation). It is important that families manage growth and build infrastructure to support the next generation. Family Business Experts South Africa helps family businesses to build the infrastructure needed to sustain profitable long-term growth an firmly establish the family's business legacy.
A smart option for family businesses to build infrastructure, quickly, is using an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. It can play an important part in creating the infra-structure necessary to grow the business, increase profits and to help transition the business from one generation to the next.
Why do we have a South Africa Franchise Expert as part of our team? In the past few years, more family businesses are considering franchising as an option to grow their core business and/or as a component of the senior generations succession strategy.
MAINTAINING HEALTHY FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
Family feuds are some of the most complicated issues to deal with in a family business. Like a cancer, they eat away at the fabric that holds a family business together and left unaddressed, can ruin the business and wreck family relationships.
Because these issues are generally emotionally charged, family businesses often try to avoid dealing with family feuds - they bury their heads in the sand hoping that issues will get better over time. Unfortunately, just the opposite is true. Over time, family business issues, left unaddressed, get worse and more destructive. And the longer these problems persist, the more expensive the remedial action required for getting the family and the business back on track. If your family business is embroiled in on-going family feuds, Family Business Experts South Africa can help! Simply use the ASK THE EXPERTS form at the bottom of this page to arrange for a no-cost consultation.
Obviously the best action is to avoid family business feuds – to ensure that the family is not spending time and money that could be better spent building the business. Conducting regular family business meetings and retreats are the most effective action to avoid family feuds - and hiring an experienced family business facilitator to help organize and conduct the meetings simply makes good sense. If you need a family business expert to facilitate a family business meeting, Family Business Experts South Africa can help! Simply use the ASK THE EXPERTS form at the bottom of this page to arrange for a no-cost consultation.
“There are many success strategies available to family business owners, but if I had only one strategy to recommend to the business owner, that one strategy would be to create a Family Business Advisory Board,” suggests family business expert Don Schwerzler. “An advisory board can be a wonderful safety net for both the family and the business, especially if the owner becomes incapacitated or dies”. If you are a family business owner and are interested in establishing a family business advisory board, Family Business Experts South Africa can help. Simply use the ASK THE EXPERTS form at the bottom of this page to arrange for a no-cost consultation.
SUCCESSION – BUILDING THE FAMILY BUSINESS LEGACY
Succession planning and succession management are arguably the most important tactics for building a family business legacy. Succession time is a “hinge” moment in the process for transferring wealth and wisdom to the next generation.
A critical component of the succession process is how the “Nexters” get involved in the family business. The Nexters can be integrated into the routine activities of the family business – as well as when they are away from home. For instance, kids in college can be a great resource for creating web sites, blogs and developing social medial strategies.
One of the common points of friction during succession time occurs when there are two different and competing leadership styles at play. “Transactional” leadership has to do with the day-to-day running of the business while “transformational” leadership tends to be more focused on making succession time a time to review and to "re-think" the family's business and how best to maximize the potential of the business. Often the differences play out in generational disputes because both leadership styles are competing for the same resources! Objective, third-party advice from Family Business Experts South Africa can make a huge difference in how well-organized a family business is organized!
There are two schools of thought regarding integrating Nexters into a family business. The more traditional school of thought suggests developing the Nexters from grass roots level, building their knowledge base from the bottom up. This involves employing Nexters as lower level employees and not fast tracking their promotion for fear of jeopardizing their development or having employees speculate about "nepotism" or being overly bias to a family member. The purported benefits of this are:
- Assists the Nexters in understanding departmental operations
- Gives other employees the opportunity to get to the know the Nexters and vice versa;
- It is an opportunity for the Nexters to prove themselves without their appointment being seen as favoritism or nepotism.
The second school of thought encourages Nexters to leave the nest and learn from other businesses. Once they've got a thorough understanding of the working world they are then integrated in to the family business. As one of our clients observed, " I think that makes a lot of sense - let them make their mistakes on some other company's payroll!"
The benefits of this approach are:
- Allows the Nexters to learn best practices from other companies;
- Increases the family business' relations with other companies and its combined professional network; and
- Allows the Nexters to develop in an environment where the playing fields are level for all.
- Enables the Nexter to enter the business at a higher management level since they have earned their “credibility” outside of the family’s business.
Should you need help, our Family Business Succession Survey is a helpful planning tool for helping to design and implement a succession strategy that makes sense for your family. Family Business Experts South Africa can help. Simply use the ASK THE EXPERTS form at the bottom of this page to arrange for a no-cost consultation.
When we are called in to help a family business, the first step is the Family Business Assessment. The Assessment is a series of confidential conversations with each member of the family – and that enables our family business experts to become advocates for each family member as well as being an ombudsman for the business – recognizing and addressing the needs of the business, not just the needs of the family members.
Succession planning can also be part of the “New Nepotism” – where the Nexters are not brought into the core family business – but where the core family business acts as an “incubator” for new businesses. For instance, one trend is for the senior generation to help finance a new business for the Nexters. A strategy that is becoming ever more popular is franchising.
Sometimes, the best succession strategy is to prepare the business for sale and to distribute the proceeds of the sale to the family. For the family business owner interested in Retirement Planning (“cashing in”), the process is “slightly” more complicated than putting a “For Sale by Owner” sign in the front yard, certainly if the owner wants to maximize the transaction. If you are a family business owner and have questions about your retirement planning, Family Business Experts South Africa can help. Simply use the ASK THE EXPERTS form at the bottom of this page to arrange for a no-cost consultation.
As you read the information on this page, don't forget to share the information with your family and friends! As you can tell, we are very passionate about our work with family-owned businesses - and we have an arsenal of PROVEN tips and success strategies, that have been developed over many decades and working with many hundreds of family business entrepreneurs.
Family Business Experts South Africa can help. Simply use the ASK THE EXPERTS form at the bottom of this page to arrange for a no-cost consultation.
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