Family Business Finance Expert

Family Business Finance Expert

Every family business owner should have and maintain a relationship with a family business finance expert – that is the advice offered by family business strategy master Don Schwerzler. 

At a recent family business roundtable attended by a group of family business owners, Schwerzler led the discussion about capital needs that many family businesses may require to grow and to remain successful.

In years past, family business entrepreneurs tended to rely on family and friends to raise money to start and operate their business. Many were immigrant families – where their financial “bankroll” was sweat equity – long hours and hard work!

As the family’s business grew, some were able to use a local community bank to get a loan or a line of credit. But as the local banks were swallowed up by the larger regional and national banks – banking relationships for many family businesses became more formal and less user friendly.

Going back in time, traditional banks had a terrible reputation after the Great Depression when so many small businesses, farms and ranches were forced into foreclosure or bankruptcy.

Those family businesses that survived the depression and those family businesses started afterwards were usually very risk averse when dealing with the financial aspects of their business –a  paranoia that many business owners had about the security of their livelihood that became part of the family’s DNA and passed down to future generations!

As the business took root and became profitable, the growth of the business tended to be financed internally - purchases came from cash flow, not money borrowed from the bank.  “Do not borrow money” became part of the process for passing on "wealth and wisdom" to the next generation.

 “Not having access to capital created a glass ceiling for many family businesses”, said Schwerzler, “they never were able to achieve the true potential of their business.”

Research indicates that only about 30% of family businesses successfully transition to the second generation; about 12 % successfully transition to the third generation; and only about 3% make it to the fourth generation.

“One of the major problems - not being able to deal with the financial issues associated with the unique and complex issues that confront a family business dealing with succession planning and succession management.”

Schwerzler began studying and advising family business entrepreneurs in 1967 – a career span of nearly 50 years. He is the founder of the Atlanta-based Family Business Institute and their web organization Family Business

Like the Bob Dylan song - “the times they are a-changin” said Schwerzler. As  family businesses are being readied for the transition to the Nexters – financing is becoming more crucial to the on-going success of the family business.

Family businesses now tend to consider a wide range of alternative business loans, including factoring and equipment leasing programs.

QUESTION? If you are a family business owner - do you have an objective and experienced family business financial expert who has a well-established track record as a trusted strategic advisor to many family businesses, large and small - and across all industry lines? If not - contact us and become better acquainted - don't wait until you need us!

Succession Question: Keep the Business - or sell it?

When it comes to succession – passing the business to the next generation may not be the best exit strategy for the owner. In many instances, the better strategy is "cashing in" - to sell part or all of their company. The reasons for doing so include:

  • Taking some chips off the table, to buy out non-active shareholders or to fund growth plans  
  • Selling a majority interest to a strong financial partner to convert illiquid stock into cash 
  • To sell 100 % of the company and retire… or to become a serial entrepreneur and start or buy another business! 

Who is the Best Buyer for My Family's Business?

Unfortunately there is no right answer for all situations. Our family business finance expert generally describes two types of buyers:

Strategic Buyers – a buyer that is a company in your industry or with the desire to enter your industry to accelerate their growth by expanding their product offering and/or their geographic reach.

Financial Buyers – are primarily private equity groups, public acquisition corporations and family offices that bring access to financial resources and top industry talent to reach the objectives and potential of the family business that could not be achieved by the owner alone.


Key Factors that influence “value” for buyers and investors in family businesses:

 Sustainability & Growth

Customer Base

Management Team


Family Harmony



Our family business finance expert has been developing financial solutions for family business financial problems for more than 25 years. Credentials include:

  • Served as CEO of three middle market companies successfully arranging for over $375 million of brokered lease transactions
  • Co-Founded a transportation and manufacturing company that grew to more than $150 million in annual sales
  • Acquisition and divestiture experience includes the placement of over $635 million dollars in debt and equity financing
  • Founded a highly successful boutique investment banking firm


Bottom line - if you are a family business owner and are seeking capital to grow your business, transferring the business to the next generation – or planning for retirement and want to “cash in”  - our family business finance expert can help!




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