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UFB Newsletter #089
April 28, 2011

Do you have a strategy in place to future proof your family business?

“That is a question every family business owner should be asking – and answering,” according leading family business expert Don Schwerzler.


Best selling book EVERY FAMILY'S BUSINESS advocates an interesting exit strategy option every family business owner should consider. When we begin working with a family business client, we start our discussions with the family business owner talking about the owner’s exit strategy options. The most commonly held notion is that the family business owner would like to pass the family’s business to the next generation of family to own and manage – the idea of creating a family business legacy is very compelling. But is the “legacy” option the best decision in terms of protecting family wealth?


Family Business Experts editors sat down with best selling author Thomas Deans Ph.D., to learn more about his ground breaking and what some would describe as a controversial book Every Family’s Business.

THOMAS DEAN INTERVIEW - Every Family's Business

We have added new sections to our web site, where we invite family business owners and key executives to share their thoughts, ideas and recommendations with other family businesses.


Our Family Business Forum section is a "soap box" where family businesses can offer fresh ideas to the politicians in Washington who are considering new polices to help improve the success of family businesses. We also encourage family businesses to offer cost saving suggestions that could prove helpful to other family businesses.


Family businesses often are victimized by trusted key employees who embezzle money, inventory and services. We invite family businesses to share their experiences in dealing with fraud and other types of crime - to help other family businesses better understand how important it is to be ever vigilant. Here is an opportunity to help other family businesses from becoming a crime victim!


The growth and profits of a family business are influenced by the infra-structure of the business - the process from moving from an entrepreneurial style of management to a more formalized or professionalized style of management. Developing an effective mission statement for the family business is often the first step in that process. We invite family businesses to post their mission statement so others can see "real world" samples of family business mission statements.

Family Businesses should have a contingency plan in place – a “What Happens If” plan.

One of the remarkable stories out of Katrina was Oreck, the company that manufactures and sells/services vacuum cleaners. Their plant on the Gulf Coast was heavily damaged – but because they had a well thought out contingency plan, they were able to be back in business 9 days after Katrina hit. FEMA could take some lessons…. You can read about Oreck’s success story by clicking on the link at the bottom of this Blog.

Contingency planning can cover many different situations – from natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, fire, floods, swine flu and including the unexpected death or incapacitation of key members of a management team.

To read more about contingency planning for your family business,


ERP Application Software comes in many shapes and flavors. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) was originally designed for large international type businesses. As the technology was perfected, the ability to apply ERP techniques to small and medium-sized businesses became an affordable strategy for many businesses.

Why is ERP important to family businesses - AS A SUCCESSION MANAGEMENT TOOL!

“A proven methodology for better organizing a business, ERP is also a smart management tool to use as part of the succession management process” according to leading family business expert Don Schwerzler.

Mike Roman, one of the leading ERP experts in the country has joined the Family Business Institute to lead our ERP technology team.

To learn more about ERP application software, we invite you to review our new section on Enterprise Resource Planning.


Given the mess in Washington DC and Wall Street, we are advising our family business clients to take action – to create a stimulus package for their own family business!

If you are a family business owner, it is time to circle the wagons and do a complete “up and down” analysis of your business. Simply put, what can be done to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your business?

One approach, probably the most effective methodology for a family business owner to analyze their business and assess the various components, is to do a SWOT ANALYSIS.

It is easy to do and the SWOT process can produce powerful results, quickly.


All that is needed to do a SWOT ANALYSIS is a pencil and a pad of paper – and then asking some basic questions about the “whys and what fors” of your business. It is literally that simple!

Obviously, the better the questions, the better the results the SWOT ANALYSIS will produce.

A clever tool to help generate questions is an inexpensive tool called CHAOS BUSTERS – The Management Guide. It presents 160 key business questions one can use when doing a SWOT ANALYSIS. Think of the SWOT ANALYSIS being the pistol and Chaos Busters being the bullets!

Chaos Busters can be used for more than SWOT ANALYSIS – it really is a multi-purpose tool that can be used for many different kinds of applications.

Family business owners report how they use Chaos Busters as a way to better organize the focus of the management team – to help them see and get connected to the “big picture”.

Executives seeking employment report they are using Chaos Busters to help them ask better (more effective) questions during the interview process.

Management consultants and business advisors use Chaos Busters to better understand their client's businesses, to prioritize problems and to provide better (more comprehensive) solutions.



It costs you nothing... zip...nada... to ASK THE EXPERT. Most of our site pages have a link to a form that lets you submit your question to one of our experts. We try our best to respond within 48 hours.

Our Family Business Blog [Blog is short for "web log"] mini-journal will keep you updated about site changes and other family business matters. Check it out regularly on the site from the NavBar button. Better still, subscribe to the blog using the RSS feed information on any of our pages, such as

Understanding Family Business.

And remember to Take our fr*ee assessment on the 29 Leadership Practices...

That's it for this issue. If you have any comments, or if there are any topics you'd like to see covered, please let us know.

Comments, requested topics, blog messages...!

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