How is Your Family Business’s Equity Holding Up?

By Tom Hubler, Executive Consultant When businesses talk about equity and value, they talk almost exclusively in financial terms such as how much the company is worth in dollars. This makes perfect sense given the purpose of a business is to make money to grow and sustain itself, its owners and employees. With family businesses, however, there’s another form of equity that must be worked […]

10 Most Prevalent Obstacles to Family Business Succession Planning

By Tom Hubler, Executive Consultant In a presentation at the University of St. Thomas Center for Family Enterprise Family Business Forum, John Davis, family business consultant, researcher and educator, commented that everything consultants like himself teach, their clients already know. In order to be successful, they need to confront or deal with the obstacles. Of course, the first question that popped into my mind was: […]

What to Do When None of the Kids Can Take Over the Family Business

By Tom Hubler, Executive Consultant James Schultz appeared to be at the top of his game. A locally recognized leader in his industry, he had earned a national reputation for craftsmanship and business acumen. But his dream to have his three sons work in the business had become a nightmare. While each had grown up in the company, none demonstrated the necessary skills to take […]

How (and Why) to Step Down Yet Stay Involved

By Tom Hubler, Executive Consultant Jim was rightfully proud of his company. He had nurtured it from a garage start-up to an enterprise generating $40 million a year in sales. To ensure a smooth transition, Jim met monthly with Robert to review the company’s performance. At one such meeting Jim noticed Robert’s last item on the agenda: “Jim’s Schedule.” When they got to it, Robert […]

Intellectual Property and the Succession Planning Process

By Tom Hubler, Executive Consultant Over the past 30 years as a family business consultant, I have come across many differences that have eroded family relationships. One involved Uncle Joe and his nephew, Bruce, as they were going through a painful succession planning process. In addition to the typical family business issues of ownership, estate and leadership, they were grappling with matters related to family […]

Betrayal: The Emotional Malady of Family Businesses

By Tom Hubler, Executive Consultant There may be no more debilitating force than betrayal when it occurs in a family business. Poet William Blake (1757-1827) wrote, “It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.” That’s because every betrayal begins with trust. It is “a violence against confidence,” an inside job. In my experience, it ranks as a top destroyer of otherwise […]

How to Ensure Your Life is Even More Fulfilling After Retiring

By Tom Hubler, Executive Consultant As a fan of classic films, I am always searching for films that apply to family businesses. I recently viewed the 1936 film, Dodsworth, that stars Walter Houston in the title role, as well as Ruth Chatterton and Mary Astor. Dodsworth, an entrepreneur, sells his automobile manufacturing company and retires without a plan for his future—not unlike many real-life entrepreneurs. […]

Crafting the Plan

By Tom Hubler, Executive Consultant With the New Year starting, it’s a great time to make sure you have a plan for your business (and if you do, that it’s as thorough and up to date as it should be). I always say a plan is better than a New Year’s resolution because it will guide you through the year with much better results. And […]