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Being in business with your family is difficult. Family is about unconditional love and support, but business is about making a profit. These two things don’t always combine well. When business issues arise with family members, it can be difficult to say the things that need to be said from a business perspective, but that may also hurt the feelings of someone you love. Family business consultants, and Family Business USA in particular, understand the nature of this dynamic. We help you develop the skills, mentality, and environment your family and business needs in order for healthy and respectful communication to occur. Trying to accomplish this as a family member is extremely difficult – as you are part of the problem. Having a trusted, experienced, and objective third-party advisor enables all parties to come together.
We are only family business consultants. While we know a lot about insurance, accounting, and legal services, we do not sell these types of services. We know family businesses from a business and psychological perspective and our only goals are to preserve the wealth being generated by the business and to maintain family harmony.
Most other firms are a combination of a marketing organization and a consulting organization where the firm does the promotion but then hires outside consultants or professionals to do the work. Family Business USA is one of the only firms where the person you talk to on the phone is the same person who shows up at your family business to help.
The biggest difference is that we care. Why? Because we’ve been there. Our Founder, Henry Hutcheson, comes from two family businesses, Peerless Woolen Mill, once the largest privately held mill in the country, and Olan Mills, once the largest portrait company in the U.S. All of our other associates also have extensive personal experiences with family businesses. We know the pain that can come from a dysfunctional family business; the yelling, anger, frustration, and conflict that can occur, and the loss of wealth. But we also know that it doesn’t have to be that way. It can be fixed, with help.
Our pricing is correlated directly to the difficulty of the work. Because we do our own work, we don’t have the large organizational overhead of the other large consulting firms. This means we don’t need to charge as much as other consulting firms.
We do this via two meetings. The first one is over the phone. If it’s determined that the situation appears to be one where Family Business USA can help, then a second is arranged with the entire family. In this meeting, we thoroughly evaluate if we can help and gather data to determine the level of difficulty.
Family Business USA, while based in the U.S., not only covers the entire nation, but also the world. Moreover, the work that we do is very specialized and extremely important. What is more important than your closest relationships and your source of income and wealth? As such, Family Business USA will come to you to help, no matter where you are. We have consulted clients as far away as China, Africa, and Germany. We’ve helped domestic businesses from Alaska to Wyoming, as well as large and small towns all over the U.S. No distance is too great to ensure the successful continuation of your family’s legacy.
We’ve worked with a myriad of service and product providers from a vast variety of industries. We’ve worked with just as many more businesses in other professional careers. Regardless of the industry, we have a high level of business experience and education. This enables us to understand each function of the business very well. What’s important is: the assessment and development of the next generation, the engagement of the current generation to facilitate a successful transition, and the ability of the next generation to cooperate with each other.
We have a success rate of about 95%. There are usually three areas to cover. The first is the successful transition to the next generation. If the next generation is unfit or unwilling, we’ll help you develop an alternate plan everyone is on board with. The vast majority of our work falls in this area. In the second area, we groom the next generation to be good owners and have other folks run the company. Alternatively, sometimes the best thing to do is to sell the business. If we come to that conclusion as a team then we’ll also help you make sure the sale of the company goes smoothly. The last area concerns when a family member abuses their power to push the business towards a personal goal that is detrimental to the long-term health of the business or that is destructive to the harmony of the family. The vast majority of our clients have the next generation of their family positively invested in the future of their business, but there’ll always be outliers. If this is the case, we’ll help you get the future ownership figured out and ensure those who should be in the business are working well, fostering good communication, and doing everything they can to make certain that the next family reunion is a peaceful one!
All the time. We work hard with these next generation family members to get underneath what their true life goals are. We help get them on a track that will lead them to a happy and productive life. Most times that is in the family business, but sometimes it’s in another business. Regardless, we’ll help you figure things out and develop a plan.
Yes, we do windows. Let me explain. There is a stereotype of house cleaners who will clean the house, but won’t do windows, or this or that. There are parameters to their work. Not us. Our goal is to preserve your wealth and maintain the harmony in your family. We mean exactly that. How we get there depends on your family business situation. So we go anywhere and do anything we need to achieve the goal. During any engagement, we take the time to meet all the family in the business. We may also meet with family outside the business: spouses; employees; advisors; attorneys; accountants; close friends, etc. We’ve dealt with drugs, alcohol, and other addictions. We’ve dealt with everything from entitlement to mental disorders like narcissism and bi-polar disorder. We’ve dealt with unresolved historical injustices that are holding progress back and so much more. We’ve seen it all; we go where we need to go and we know what to do when we’re there.
As your family business partner, we’re here for you!
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