Family Business Experts

multi-discipline approach to
solving family business problems

Family Business Experts is the online organization for America's Family Business Institute, the very first multi-disciplined resource for family-owned businesses.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, our 20 person team is nationally recognized for pioneering the multi-discipline approach to solving the unique and complex problems that impact family businesses.

Family Business Institute was organized in the early 1980s by leading family business expert, Don Schwerzler.

Schwerzler has been studying and advising family business entreprenuers for more than 40 years.

Meet DON SCHWERZLER... A Personal Interview

Our logo is three interconnected circles representing the three major systems or issues the family business must master and control to be successful. The first circle represents the FAMILY SYSTEM; the second circle represents the BUSINESS MANAGEMENT SYSTEM; and the third circle represents the OWNERSHIP SYSTEM.

The permutations are numerous, i.e., a son or daughter could be part of the family but not a manager or an owner in the business. You could have an owner of the business who is not a member of the family nor a manager in the business. You could have a member of the family who is a manager in the business but not an owner, etc. Each permutation has separate issues that need to be addressed and each requires a different approach for each permutation will likely have their own goals and objectives.

Sounds confusing? It is!

But it helps explain why only 30% of family-owned businesses successfully transition to the second generation, 15% of those make it to the third generation and only about 3% make it to the fourth generation of family ownership.

Another way of looking at the succession statistics, research indicates about 75% of family businesses are "single-owner" businesses, about 20% are "sibling partnerships" and about 5% are "cousin consortiums".

The critical nature of the succession issue is significant when one considers that almost 70% of the Gross Domestic Product is made up of family businesses!

Get Confidential Help For Your Family Business - Now!

What are the major contributing factors to why family businesses fail to reach their true potential?

More than 50% of marriages in the United States fail! Is that a contributing factor? Absolutely! Yet most family businesses do not have a divorce strategy as part of their risk management practices.

Another significant problem that hurts families in business together - alcohol and drug addiction.

Communication issues plague family businesses. One of the many elements of the communication issues is role confusion when parenting adult children.

A lack of proper and timely planning causes many family businesses fail to succeed. They fail to transition from an informal style of management to a professional or formal style of management - managing "change" in a family business.

Getting help - many family businesses operate in a "closed environment" - meaning that barriers exist to the input of new ideas, fresh concepts and performance & growth enhancing strategies. One of the proven stratgegies to overcome the problems of an insulated family business - family business advisory board.

Few family businesses take advantage of the succession process to address the mind-sets that inhibit innovation in a family business - innovation and the family business.

Lastly, family business owners often wonder why, when they started on the "right" foot, they end up on the "wrong" foot? Family business owners ask us "Why do we seem to have so many problems", problems that are like a cancers that eat at the family and the business. Often the root cause of many problems is in separating "rhetoric" from "reality". A good place to start is to conduct an Operations Analysis as part of our Family Business Assessment.

Family Business Experts (FBE) is unique because we bring a comprehensive and integrated approach to dealing with your business, family, personal needs and goals.

The mission for Family Business Experts is to help family businesses grow, help to maintain healthy family relationships and then, when the time is right, to help transition the business to the next generation.

Since the three separate and distinct systems are constantly interacting - sometimes in harmony and sometimes in opposition to one another - it is imperative that they be dealt with as a totality.


The key is opening up communications amongst owners, spouses, generations, brothers and sisters, non family key personnel, and family members active and not active in the business.

FBE provides professional services through a carefully designed, whole-oriented, highly focused approach. Our comprehensive perspective includes family, business and individual development as well as personal and corporate financial strategies.

Because the family, business and individuals are inter-dependent they need to be addressed simultaneously in an integrated way. Your advisers, likewise, need to be integrated so you do not waste time getting views that may yield conflicting or incomplete approaches and strategies for your family and your business.

This lack of coordination resulting from advisors who not managed as a cohesive team - often causes family business owners much confusion, frustration and limited decision making. FBE has resolved this major problem of getting wise counsel for business owners - you do, in fact, work with a real team of highly experienced, specialized professionals who know how to work well together to best meet your interests.

Family Business Experts has been featured in numerous magazine articles and newspapers including the WALL STREET JOURNAL - and recognized as one of the ten best web sites on succession by the prestigious Journal of Accountancy published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Statement of Purpose

Family Business Experts is the Internet organization for the Atlanta-based Family Business Institute. Don Schwerzler, who started working with family businesses in 1967, founded the Family Business Institute as a specialized resource for families in business together. Family Business Experts is the highest ranked, full service family business resource on the Internet.

We provide coordinated and integrated assessments and solutions for family issues; for business management issues; and for ownership issues.

FBE provides a single source for professional services to assess strengths and needs of both the business and family - to design and implement integrated business and family action plans.

Our specialization in family business coupled with our applied professional client service experience allows us to provide a service delivery format that is reliable, convenient and results oriented.

We are also sensitive to our clients' desire for privacy and maintain the highest level of confidentiality.

We are committed to the family and business values that have made the private enterprise system of the United States the most emulated democracy in the world.


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