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Family Business Consulting

Fact: 90% of U.S. business are family owned or controlled.

Fact: More than 1/3 of the Fortune 500 companies are family owned or controlled by families.  The largest of this is Wal-mart.

Fact: Family businesses generate 50% of the GNP.

Fact: Less than 1/3 of family businesses survive the transition from first to second generation ownership.  About half don't survive the transition from second to third.

Fact: Scooters (http://scootersfrozencustard.com) offers no less than 20 flavors of frozen custard.

From Berkshire Hathaway and Wal-Mart to Scooter’s Frozen Custard (at the corner of Paulina and Belmont in my Chicago neighborhood), about 90 percent of all U.S. businesses are family owned or family controlled.  The issue with many family businesses is that they get stuck doing things the same way they have operated for 10, 15, or 25 years, even when the business outgrows that structure.  When this happens, the family has four choices:

  • Sell out
  • Stay the same
  • Seek outside help
  • Shut down

They must decide:

  • Do we all stay in this business together or does someone exit?
  • Is it time for the senior generation to pass the company on to the next?
  • Do we bring in a professional manager?
  • Do we merge with someone else?
  • Do we sell out and split the money?

A lot of times the company structure reflects how it was in their family.  The bully brother is the same bully in the business.  Whoever is seen as the head of the household wants to tell everyone else what to do.  The peacemaker smooths things over when tempers explode.  The mother controls the budget at home and wants to approve how every dollar is spent.  Regardless of what’s going on underneath, my family business clients come to me because the pain is so great that they can’t stay where they are.  It is not only tearing their company apart, but their personal and professional lives as well.  I help them get from where they are to where they want to be and need to go.

Barry has personal experience in every phase of business and is not afraid to ask his clients hard questions, the answers to which are critical to business growth.