Family Business Experts - Client Testimonials


Our client testimonials speak volumes about how we do business and have helped our clients.

These client testimonials are from a broad spectrum of family-owned businesses, large and small, that we have been privileged to serve. To protect the confidentiality of our clients and the special nature of our work, we do not release any specific client information.

"Our mission is to help family businesses grow, maintain healthy family relationships and then, when the time is right, to help manage the transition from one generation to the next," says top family business expert Don Schwerzler Schwerzler has been studying and advising family business entrepreneurs for more than 40 years and he is the founder of the Atlanta-based Family Business Institute

"They really are Family Business Experts!"

We are a third generation interior design and floor covering business. I took over the business from my parents over 20 years ago. When my son wanted to come into the business, I felt we needed an outside expert to help us with the details. Don Schwerzler is a process consultant not a content consultant. What that means is that he customizes the solutions for each client. The reason Don does that is to insure that the owners and the other people involved get the outcomes that they want and need.

When we picked Don up at the airport, he immediately began asking us to tell him our story. Over the next two days, he interviewed my husband, my children and their spouses. His methodologies are unique and contribute to the powerful results he achieves.

We have experienced vicissitudes because of the nature of a family owned business. Family Business Experts have been a lifesaver more than once. If you run your business by the financial numbers, you will be very impressed with the return on investment (R.O.I.) that Don achieves.

"They were professional and objective ..."

We are a third generation building products business with 37 locations. My younger brother and I took over the business when my dad died. My mother was active in the business into her later years until her health started failing. I did not have any children in the business but my brother had three of his sons in the business. Two of their wives worked part time in the business. My brother and I each owned 50% of the business. The plan was for my brother to buy me out when I decided to retire. When we started talking about my retirement, we ran into a lot of problems in terms of what the value of the business might be. My brother and his family felt the business was worth much less than I thought it was worth. I started working on a part-time basis - started to get out of the business. We never got the problem resolved. My brother died unexpectedly and as a result of an old agreement worked out by our dad, I became the sole owner of the business. My brother's family had their lawyers and accountants and I had mine. It was a terrible time - perhaps the worse time of my entire life. It seemed the financial security I had planned for was falling apart. I had read about the Family Business Institute and called for help. They were able to help us find fair and equitable solutions. They were professional and objective - they did not take sides in any of the disputes. I only wish we had brought them in before my brother passed away - it would have saved us a lot of time, money and hard feelings.

"...helped us establish an action plan that was fair... to everyone ..."

We are a second generation insurance agency.My son decided he did not want to be in the business so I was delighted to have my son-in-law come into the business. He had a good education and helped to increase the size of our business greatly. After 10 years I decided to retire and turn the business over to my son-in-law. My son was outraged as he felt that the company was part of his legacy - he wanted to own 50% of the business with his brother-in-law. The problems we were experiencing shut down my plans to retire. My son-in-law and my daughter were upset with me as they felt I was going back on promises I made to them and my son was saying I had betrayed him and his financial legacy in the business. We had heard about the Family Business Institute in the WALL STREET JOURNAL and decided to give them a call. They made an assessment of the business as well as meeting individually with each member of the family. They were able to help us establish an action plan that was fair and equal to everyone. They worked with us in implementing the succession plan for myself and now my wife and I are enjoying our retirement and our grandchildren!

"...they saved my family and my business."

My daughter and I got along fine. We operated a high-end retail specialty gift business with about 30 employees. She married and our personal and business relationship fell apart.Her husband was telling her how she should run my business. The problems impacted other siblings as well. Everyone was taking her side against me. Because of all the family problems, I was losing my business focus and the business was suffering as a result. Key employees were beginning to be concerned about their own security. I called the Family Business Institute and they were able to quickly assess the business and family issues. First we worked on the business issues. We were able to stabilize the business and to position it for significant growth. Then we were able to reconcile the family problems. The professionals we worked with from the Family Business Institute were absolutely the best - they saved my family and my business.

" to tell me something that other key managers... were unable to tell me..."

I started this manufacturing company 22 years ago. We started on a shoestring and grew the business to where it was doing about $12 million a year. My son came into the business having worked for another company for about 5 years after he finished college. He was a good salesman but was not a good "people person". He was creating a lot of problems on the shop floor by changing production schedules to accommodate his customers. This was causing problems with our other customers as well as with our sales force and the rest of our management team. One of my friends had used the Family Business Institute and was impressed with the results of their work. The family business consultants were able to tell me something that other key managers of the business were unable to tell me - that perhaps my son was not competent to run the business. One of the recommendations was to establish an advisory board to assist me in making decisions about my son's ability to run the business. The Family Business Institute helped me to recruit seasoned business professionals to serve on my advisory board. They helped establish the performance benchmarks we would use to determine my son's ability to run the business. Within 5 years the advisory board reviewed the goals and objectives that had been set forth by the board and my son had met or surpassed every one of them. The board recommended my son for the job of CEO. My management wholeheartedly agreed with the board's recommendation. At this point I was comfortable with how much progress my son had made and was able to initiate the ownership transfer of the business.

"...the best decision I ever made!"

We are a third generation contracting company. My dad started the business and I now have two sons and a daughter in the business. We were having a lot of problems. I was interested in retiring but the kids did not seem ready to run the business. Our planning meetings always seemed to turn into shouting matches. The only thing we seemed able to do was to hurt each other's feelings. I decided that the best course was to sell the business. I would rather close the business than ruin the family relationships. My daughter told us about the Family Business Institute. She had heard one of the principals speak at a trade show meeting she attended. I contacted the Family Business Institute about their services and decided to give it one more shot. Each of the family members was interviewed separately and then we conducted a family business meeting that was facilitated by one of the family business consultants from the Family Business Institute. Things improved 100%. It took three years and a lot of hard work to train-up the kids in areas where they needed additional seasoning and training. We established performance goals and objectives. This was all part of formalizing the business planning processes and management decision making processes. It was a wonderful experience watching the kids making quantum leaps in their business training and experience. Having them mentored by the Family Business Institute was the best business decision I ever made!

"Being introduced to Don Schwerzler... was the best thing that ever happened to me and my company."

Being introduced to Don Schwerzler and Family Business Experts was the best thing that ever happened to me and my company. I only wish it happened years ago.

Manufacturer of Industrial Supplies

"... identified opportunities for revitalizing our entire operation. I am having fun again with my business."

My staff and I had become "stale" doing the same thing day in and day out. I had gotten to the point where I really hated to go to the office. Working with Family Business Experts has changed everything. The analysis techniques used by Family Business Experts identified opportunities for revitalizing our entire operation. I am having fun again with my business.

Health Spas and Exercise Salons

"What is really amazing ... is the simplicity of it all"

What is really amazing about the approach to identifying and resolving problems and issues used by Family Business Experts is the simplicity of it all. It is nothing fancier than just plain old-fashioned common sense being applied at the grass roots level of my operation.

Vice President of Operations
Machine Shop

"...reduced the labor costs by at least 25% in every department..."

The WORK MANAGEMENT SYSTEM designed for us by Family Business Experts reduced the labor costs by at least 25% in every department of the bank in which the new system was installed.

Executive Vice President
Regional Bank

"...will help us from becoming complacent now and into the future."

Our business had experienced rapid growth for almost five years and then we began losing money. We had been so busy we did not notice we had drifted away from those very principles that had made us successful. Quality and customer service had been compromised in the process. Family Business Experts helped us to re-design our basic work flows and work routines. The old methods had simply become obsolete. The WORK MANAGEMENT SYSTEM designed by Family Business Experts will help us from becoming complacent now and into the future.

Chairman of the Board
Electronics Engineering Firm

"...approached the change issues from a "bottom's up" perspective."

Family Business Experts did for our company what I had hoped we would be able to do by installing a more elaborate computer system. We were trying to accomplish change by management decree and sophisticated technology. After spending months of time and a lot of money we were being only marginally successful in reaching our objectives. Organizationally, Family Business Experts approached the change issues from a "bottom's up" perspective and within six months had enabled our people to make significant and dramatic changes in almost every aspect of our company.

National Chain of Convenience Stores

"...helped to shape the future for both our family and our business."

My two sons represented the fourth generation of our family business. There were major differences in the vision the three of us had for the future of the business. Those differences had become very emotional and volatile. Those differences had caused the company to lose its focus and our family relationships were suffering as well. Family Business Experts helped us change our basis for debate and discussions from the emotional screaming at one another to a rational and orderly process. We are now using hard operational facts for our planning and in how we make decisions. Family Business Experts helped us to get through the problems posed by generational succession. Family Business Experts helped to shape the future for both our family and our business. We could not have done it without them.

Family-owned Construction Business

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