Family Business Blog



The Family Business Blog [short for "web log"] is our mini-journal about Family Business Experts. It lets you know...

  • whenever we add or update pages at the Family Business Experts web site
  • about new products and services that we are bringing online
  • about features and specials that are available from time to time
  • when FBE principals are in the news
  • when we issue our Understanding Family Business e-zine newsletter (for those of you who don't like to give your e-mail address, or if your ISP's filters are too aggressive and cause you to lose mail). The e-zine is posted to the web site as well as being e-mailed, so you can click right to it from this blog. Easy!
Check out our blog archive.






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Checks and Balances Prevent Employee Theft

Family-owned businesses are easy targets for employees who are intent on theft and embezzlement. When family businesses first start out, they reason that since family members are involved with almost every operation, the need for a system of checks and balances seems unnecessary. But as the business grows and more non-family employees are hired, these trusting family businesses are terribly vulnerable.

Electronic Design for Industry is a company in Marietta, Ohio. In 2002 Rich Wynn, president, hired a new manager for the office. In three months the woman had embezzled over $60,000 and left their book keeping system in complete chaos.

“We were a small family-owned business that had built itself on trust. We trusted our employees our customers and considered them part of our family. It was how we had done business for over 20 years and ultimately we became so trustworthy that we were burned,” Wynn said.

The problem that hit EDI is not an isolated incident – it is reported that each year that employees embezzle and steal more than $652 Billion dollars from US businesses.

Many family-owned businesses are learning from the experiences of others and are taking time to develop proper accounting practices that include an effective system of checks and balances – and are performing routine audits to ensure that the policies are being followed.

For family business owners who think that they have a problem but are unable to put all the pieces together - the best option is to consider doing an accounting and security audit by a professional security firm. Many members of these firms are former FBI types who are trained and experienced at ferreting out all types of white collar crime. One of the best known private investigators for family-owned businesses, Harold Copus, heads up the security division for the Family Business Institute in Atlanta.

To learn more about how a security professional can save you money – maybe even save your family’s business, check out our web site: Family-Business-Experts.com

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Checks and Balances Prevent Employee Theft

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What is ERP

What is ERP - a question with many different answers!

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Medical Innovation: Doing More With Less

Dr. Michael Stein had a medical practice in Concord NH – a medical practice that made some significant changes from the conventional model. The innovation is called “patient financed medical care”.

A primary care doctor, he employed 10 people, had 4,000 patients and made $300,000 per year. He was working a 12 hour days and seeing 25-40 patients a day! The hectic pace was not good for the patients – and certainly not good for the doctor.

The chicken or the egg conundrum was that he had to have that kind of volume to cover the overhead and still make a comfortable living.

Dealing with patient health insurance was a primary driver of costs in the profitability equation of his medical practice.

The “What if” idea that Dr. Stein started to ponder is what would happen if he stopped accepting insurance. “What if” he charged a patient an annual fee for unlimited access to his professional services?

Today his practice has 250 patients and he sees perhaps 6 patients a day. Each of his patients pay an annual fee of $1,000 – some with special needs pay an additional $500 per year. His labor costs have gone from $350,000 for the 10 people to $50,000 – his only employee is his wife, Gena.

By removing the insurance companies from the equation, he no longer has to practice medicine by the rules and guidelines established by the insurance companies that drive so much of the overhead in a conventional medical practice.

The innovation in his medical practice is a win-win situation for the patients and the doctor.

To learn more about leadership and innovation, check out our web site: Family-Business-Experts.com

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Medical Innovation: Doing More With Less

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Family Business Conflict Negotiations

“Family businesses generally start out with a very informal management system. The loose and informal style of management offers a high degree of flexibility – not of lot of rules, regulations and red tape. There are not many standard polices and practices to get in the way of the entrepreneurial spontaneity associated with start-up family businesses,” suggests leading family business expert Don Schwerzler.

“However, many family businesses never evolve beyond this level of management style. It is one of the reasons that only about 30% of family businesses successfully transition to the second generation; only about 12% successfully transition to the third generation; and only about 4% successfully make it to the fourth generation.”

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Family Business Conflict Negotiations

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Outliers

Outliers - The Story of Success provides interesting observations from Malcolm Gladwell that can be applied to family-owned businesses.

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How To Better Organize Your Business

Family-owned businesses often have self-imposed restraints on growing their business.

While the owner/entrepreneur may have a technical expertise that enables the business to survive, growing and expanding the business often requires business building skills that the owner does not have.

One good source for business owners who are intent on gaining better business skills are local colleges. Talking with the small business development center at the school could help the business owner in deciding what courses might be of the most benefit.

Distant learning options are getting to be very popular. Most state university systems now offer a wide range of on-line classes for students who do not have the time or the inclination to be involved in the traditional college on-campus programs.

Another consideration for business owners to better organize their business is a fantastic, easy-to-read management handbook called Chaos Busters – The Management Guide. It contains 160 tips for helping a business owner to grow the business and to increase their profits.

To learn more about Chaos Busters, check out our web site: Family-business-Experts.com

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How To Better Organize Your Business

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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

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Client Testimonials

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Creating A “Think Tank” For Your Business

One of the most powerful strategies a family business owner can consider is creating an Advisory Board. Many family businesses operate in an insulated environment – where there is little opportunity for objective input from outside of the family. While the business owner may feel comfortable with the growth and profitability of the family’s business, a new and fresh set of eyes might see opportunities to make a good business, better. In some cases, the family business owner will be totally unaware of how much money is being “left on the table”.

The Advisory Board can be a safety net for both the family and the business should the family business owner die or become incapacitated.

The Advisory Board can help the family business owner make decisions about the management and leadership skills of the next generation – and can be an additional resource in the “seasoning” and training of the next generation of ownership.

For more information on the benefits of having an Advisory Board for your family business, check out our web site: Family-Business-Experts.com

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Creating A “Think Tank” For Your Business

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Family Business Experts

Family Business Experts is the best family business resource on the Internet. We offer hundreds of great strategies and tips for families in business together.

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Family Business Insurance Checklist

An insurance checklist to help with Risk Assessment and to provide guidelines for discussions with your insurance professional.

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Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is the vital first step of risk management. Learn how to consider the scope of all your possible losses so you can develop a realistic, cost effective strategy for dealing with them.

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Search Our Entire Site

Our search form will open up the entire site to you in moments. The navigation index will show you the entire site at a glance.

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Family Business Or Risky Business – a Checklist

Risk Management involves: Risk Assessment, Loss Control, Risk Transfer and Risk Monitoring. Insurance is the most common form of transferring risk from the business.

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Family Business Or Risky Business – a Checklist

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Family Business Advisor

Family business advisor Don Schwerzler, top family business expert and founder of the Family Business Institute has been studying and advising family businesses for more than 40 years.

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Nepotism and The Family Business

Adam Bellow wrote “In Praise of Nepotism” – a great read for anyone involved in a family business. He addresses the “New Nepotism” and based on our experience, he is right on target.

When we talk about “nepotism” the conversation is usually about business but “nepotism” occurs in every field including politics (the Kennedy and Bush families) and religion too.

Will Graham, 31, has entered the family business started by his grandfather, Rev Billy Graham. Speaking at his first celebration in NC, Will noted, “"There's pressure on this one because it's so close to Charlotte, so close to headquarters, there's always pressure when you go into the family business." Grandfather’s advice to his grandson, “study, study, study” and “pray, pray, pray”.

To read an interesting interview of Adam Bellow, check out our web site: Family Business Experts

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Nepotism and The Family Business

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Functional Alcoholic

A functional alcoholic is a person fighting alcoholism without the classic signs of full blown alcoholism.

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SWOT Analysis – A Family Business Success Strategy

“Every success is usually an admission ticket to a new set of decisions”, opined Henry Kissinger. This is sage advice for family-owned businesses about the need to be constantly seeking ways to improve the performance of their company.

One of the easiest exercises to improve the performance of any organization is the SWOT Analysis. All the tools required are a sheet of paper, a pencil, an open mind and the courage to motivate the management team to challenge and improve “the way it has always been done”.

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SWOT Analysis – A Family Business Success Strategy

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Innovation

Innovation is a key leadership practice

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Family Business Executive Roundtable

Our online Family Business Executive Roundtable is designed to provide family business owners a platform from which they can discuss problems and issues with other family business owners as well as experts who deal with solving those difficult and complex issues that arise out of family business dynamics.

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Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust is used to benefit a person with a disability. Learn every single way to protect their future security.

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Organizing Post COVID Family's Business

One of the fears for many family business owners, who have had to reduce the number of employees because of COVID-19 is that many employees may find employment elsewhere and will force the businesses, when they go back to business, to hire and train new employees - in what had been a previously tight labor market.

“So, the question they may want to ask is how to better organize the business for the future. The first step would be to re-vision the family business - not just rebuilding the family business,” notes family business expert Don Schwerzler.

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Organizing Post COVID Family's Business

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COVID Changes - Working Remotely

Building Trust is a primary objective for family businesses investing in team building initiatives. With the surge in “working at home” situations brought on by Covid-19. Behavioral Assessments can be a huge influencer in making effective changes in the workplace – and especially team members working remotely.

Once the business is future-versioned, an important next step is to “know” what technologies are available to the business owner to better re-organize the business. For instance, Digital Marketing offers more than just sales and marketing information – it can also be used to better organize operations to be more efficient and effective. Digital marketing programs can control communications and customer relations management. Using smart technology is an important corona virus business recovery strategy.

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COVID Changes - Working Remotely

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Legal Forms

Legal forms can help formalize the management style of a family business

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Family Business Experts

Family Business Experts is a content-rich site that includes hundreds of pages of tips and success strategies for families in business together.

Our goal is to help family businesses grow, to help maintain healthy family relationships - and then, when the time is right, to help transition the business to the next generation OR to prepare the business for sale, if that is the best exit strategy for the owner.

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Family Business Experts

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Pruning the family business tree

Pruning applies to family businesses as well as trees. Prune to ensure that only qualified family members are employed. And learn what non-employee family members can contribute.

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160 Key Business Questions

CHAOS BUSTERS - THE MANAGEMENT GUIDE is an innovative approach to make a business more effective QUICKLY!

If you were to create a list of "160 Key Business Questions" you could ask yourself (and your management team!) "how best" to build better growth and profit strategies for your business - what would those 160 key business questions be?

If you were going to create 160 "topics" on which you could use to develop a training or team building guide for your management team - what would those 160 topics be?

If you were going to create 160 "categories" for your management team to investigate when they are doing a SWOT Analysis of their areas of responsonsibility - what would those 160 categories be?

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160 Key Business Questions

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Professional Intervention in the Family Owned Business

Professional intervention to resolve family business disputes is an effective strategy because running a successful family business is substantially more complex than running a non family business.

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Timing for Family Business Succession?

Is there just a right time to address the process or is it just a downright impossible task? Yes and no, says Don Schwerzler, as long as all relevant family members are involved from the start and the process is not left until the last minute

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How To Make A Website

How to make a website is the first question for a new web master.

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Client Comments

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 or to help prepare the business for sale, if that is the better option for the owner" says top family business expert Don Schwerzler

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Chaos Busters for Consultants & Advisors

Chaos Busters - A Management Guide for consultants and advisors. Ideal for improving your client's performance, creating a mission statement or doing SWOT Analysis

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Managing Succession

Our SUCCESSION MANAGEMENT PROCESS has gained international recognition.

The most frequent question we are asked at workshops and seminars is: "When is the best time to start planning for succession?"

According to Don Schwerzler a pioneer in dealing with family business dynamics, the best answer is: "Now!"

We were asked by Families in Business to describe our succession management process, which we do from the most important perspective - our client's!

FAMILIES IN BUSINESS is a prestigious magazine published in London, England, and distributed to large family businesses around the globe.

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Managing Succession

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Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction can destroy a family and the family business

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Funding Succession

Funding Family Business Succession - A good rule of thumb: The business needs to grow by at least 20 percent more than the normal growth pattern to offset the costs of succession & the cost of inflation without disrupting business cash flow & profitabilityfamily-business-experts.com/family-business-strategy-master.html

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Funding Succession

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Performance Metrics

Performance metrics requires that the major work functions in every department be identified both in terms of volume and time. The premise is that work not measured cannot be managed.

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Succession Planning Survey

Use this succession planning survey along with Don Schwerzler's no-cost assessment to help you beat the dismal 30% odds that your family business will transition to the next generation.

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COVID - Fight, Freeze or Flee?

If you are a family business owner, or a member of a family in business together, and you are being confronted by tough issues - we can help.

"Fight or Flee" are two basic instincts hard wired into our brains. Family business owners have to deal with another instinct - to "freeze" - to hope that if they wait long enough, troubling issues will resolve themselves and the owner can return to when the business ran well and the family enjoyed peace and harmony.

"Family business problems rarely go away when they are not addressed - just the opposite, the problems tend to get worse and end up wrecking family relationships and destroying the business," says family business expert Don Schwerzler.

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COVID - Fight, Freeze or Flee?

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Biggest Fear of Family Business Owners

Every business has risk factors that can affect outcomes – but the single biggest fear shared by family business entrepreneurs are not those external risk factors in the marketplace – it is the fear of self-inflicted internal problems caused by a family member(s) – those problems that fracture relationships with other family members, employees, customers, vendors and strategic partners.

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Biggest Fear of Family Business Owners

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Alcohol Addiction Intervention

Alcohol addiction intervention can save the life of an alcoholic, their family relationships and their family business

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Fixing/Avoiding Family Feuds

"Family business dynamics can be tricky - even a simple issue can escalate into a major problem that can ruin family relationships and hurt the family's business," notes family business expert Don Schwerzler.

If you are a family business owner, or a member of a family in business together, and you are being confronted by tough issues - we can help.

"Fight or Flee" are two basic instincts hard wired into our brains. Family business owners have to deal with another instinct - to "freeze" - to hope that if they wait long enough, troubling issues will resolve themselves and the owner can return to when the business ran well and the family enjoyed peace and harmony.

"Family business problems rarely go away when they are not addressed - just the opposite, the problems tend to get worse and end up wrecking family relationships and destroying the business," says Schwerzler.

Taking advantage of an opportunity to talk with an experienced and trusted family business expert can be the first step to resolving the problems that are hurting your business and creating disharmony in your family. Why wait? We can help!

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Fixing/Avoiding Family Feuds

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