What It Means to Marry Into a Family Business

When a family business negatively impacts a courtship, strongly consider how it could destroy a marriage relationship by reading a recent blog post by Platinum’s Bill English, “I Can’t Marry Into This.” Bill says, “This story is a compilation of three different calls I received last year that were remarkably similar. All three found me via this web site and called me for advice: two […]

Building a Great Culture in Your Business

Everyone talks about culture. Everyone believes that a good culture is necessary to success in business. Yet, our understanding of what it takes to build a great culture is amazingly immature because, in part, we don’t know how to define what culture is. Consider these definitions that a quick Google search will give you:

“In other words culture can be defined as an evolving set of collective beliefs, values and attitudes. Culture is a key component in business and has an impact on the strategic direction of business. 

Best Practices to Proactively Track Business Performance

“How is my company performing and what, if anything, should I be doing to keep on track?”

That’s a common question owners should ask themselves daily. Just like going on a trip, they know their desired destination — sustainable profitability and working capital sufficiency. Yet without a series of early warning indicators, they begin to lose altitude and can be headed for a crash before they have a chance to make a course correction and save themselves.

When the Owner has a Distorted View of Reality

What are the elements of great owners (and great leaders)? According to Platinum Group’s Bill English, great leaders understand that their thoughts and ideas are not infallible and that they have room to grow – and need to grow if their business is going to get to the next level. They grow by letting others challenge the following areas: their job performance, their logic in reaching conclusions, their natural isolation and their tendency to blame others for their company’s problems.

Justice is Never Enough

Family members in family businesses suing each other is not uncommon. Just in the last few months, I’ve run across several situations in which family members sue each other for various reasons.

For example, in Newton, PA, Nina Kaplan was successfully sued by her father and is now required to pay $2.13 million because of poor business results and suspicions about embezzlement. Her business was forced to close. A sign on the door read, in part, “My own father suing me. There are no words for this.”

Cabins and Family Conflict

Did you know that cabins have the potential to cause more family disputes and litigation than family businesses? Platinum’s Bill English, a Minnesota psychologist, offers insights into the impact of sibling rivalry between the family cabin and the family business: “If you own a family business and are making plans on how to pass your business along to your kids, you’re headed in the right direction.

The Importance of Core Purpose in Family Succession Planning

“Any succession plan needs to start with a clearly defined core purpose, with the specifics of the plan building outward from that center,” writes Platinum’s Tom Hubler in a recent blog post. “Many succession plans by (otherwise successful) entrepreneurs start and stop with the notion of saving money on estate taxes as they transfer their wealth down to the next generation. Important as this may […]

Insights Offered on the Success of Family Businesses

Based on a recent article by Nextavenue.org writer Jessica Thiefels — “Five Benefits of Having a Multigenerational Family Business” — Platinum’s Bill English provided his insights from his work with family owned businesses in a recent LinkedIn post. According to Bill, the five benefits can only exist when other factors also exist, such as balancing roles, demonstrating unconditional love and acceptance, practicing forgiveness and celebrating […]

My business is losing money right now. What steps should I take to save my business?

Many business owners have been facing uncertain market conditions for the last year. Their customer buying patterns have been disrupted by the uncertainty facing all of us today. Unprofitable operations, a decline in the collateral value of assets used to support bank loans and erosion of working capital from ongoing losses are leading many owners to wonder if their businesses can be sustained.

Passing on the torch without blowing up the family

Our succession process began without a formal plan. I eventually realized that the do-it-yourself approach had lost traction on both the business and family fronts. Was it too late to create a proactive succession plan? I often refer to myself as the “illegitimate” third generation of Ostbye & Anderson, the Minneapolis jewelry manufacturer founded by my wife’s family in 1920. My father-in law never liked […]