FAMILY BUSINESS ADVISING 

For more than a decade, Box Family Advisors has worked with family-based businesses across the country. By providing a generalist approach to our consultation and without any products to sell, we believe we can more objectively analyze the needs of your family’s enterprise. Sometimes hiring a specialist for a job better suited to a non-specialist creates unintended consequences. It is possible that a specialist lacking the sensitivity for family systems can do more harm than good due to ‘scope creep’. They are initially brought in to fill a well-defined need. They complete that task and are admired for it. Then they take on a broader role, which they may or may not be well suited for. If left to run amok, such an advisor can create as many problems as they solve.

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WHAT WE DO TO HELP YOUR FAMILY BUSINESS

 

Family members who work together face enormous challenges. The complexity of these challenges can seem overwhelming to those who work for or run a family business. Box Family Advisors helps you find solutions to the many issues so often found in family business. As family business consultants, we provide the following services:

 

  • Assessment of family system & family dynamics
  • Analysis of family business system (SWOT analysis)
  • Communication facilitation & conflict resolution
  • Facilitation of family meetings & consensus building
  • Transition planning for ownership & management sucecssion
  • Entry & exit strategies

COMMITMENT TO MY CLIENTS

 

1. I will serve my clients with integrity, competence, independence, objectivity, and professionalism.

 

2. I will mutually establish with my clients realistic expectations of the benefits and results of my services.

 

3. I will only accept assignments for which I possess the requisite experience and competence to perform and will only assign staff or engage colleagues with the knowledge and expertise needed to serve my clients effectively.

 

4. Before accepting my engagement, I will ensure that I have worked with my clients to establish a mutual understanding of the objectives, scope, work plan, and fee arrangements.

 

5. I will treat appropriately all confidential client information that is not public knowledge, take reasonable steps to prevent it from access by unauthorized people, and will not take advantage of proprietary or privileged information, either for use by myself, the client’s firm, or another client, without the client’s permission.

 

6. I will avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of such and will immediately disclose to the client circumstances or interests that I believe may influence my judgment or objectivity.

 

7. I will offer to withdraw from a consulting assignment when I believe my objectivity or integrity may be impaired.

 

8. I will refrain from inviting an employee of an active or inactive client to consider alternative employment without prior discussion with the client.

COMMITMENT TO FISCAL INTEGRITY

 

9. I will agree in advance with a client to the basis for frees and expenses and will charge fees that are reasonable and commensurate with the services delivered and the responsibility accepted.

 

10. I will not accept commissions, remuneration, or other benefits from a third party in connection with the recommendations to a client without that client’s prior knowledge and consent, and I will disclose in advance any financial interests in goods or services that form part of such recommendations.

 

COMMITMENT TO THE PUBLIC AND THE PROFESSION

 

11. If within the scope of my engagement, I will report to appropriate authorities within or external to the client organization any occurrences of malfeasance, dangerous behavior, or illegal activities.

 

12. I will respect the rights of consulting colleagues and consulting firms and will not use their proprietary information or methodologies without permission.

 

13. I will represent the profession with integrity and professionalism in my relations with my clients, colleagues, and the general public.

 

14. I will not advertise my services in a deceptive manner nor misrepresents or denigrate individual consulting practitioners, consulting firms, or the consulting profession.

 

15. If I perceive a violation of the Code, I will report it to the Institute of Management Consultants USA and will promote adherence to the Code by other member consultants working on my behalf.

 

“Doug has been a wonderful asset to our family. His guidance has helped improve our communication within our business and enhanced our father/son relationship. He was quick and skillful in helping understand our issues and getting them resolved. He was able to pinpoint things which we couldn’t see.”

 

Larry and Brian Hanson

Correctional. Food Services, Inc

FAQ

WHAT IS A FAMILY BUSINESS CONSULTANT?

A family business consultant helps families work through issues such as succession planning, conflict resolution, and communication problems. Consultants come from a wide variety of professions such as law, psychology, management science, or financial planning. Therefore, each consultant takes on a slightly different approach in doing his or her work.

ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CONSULTANTS?

Yes and no. Professionals and specialists in other fields with business consulting knowledge and experience can provide insight and advice for small family business owners, but it is always best to work with an advisor who specializes in working with families.

Some consultants operate as individual specialists who provide focused consultation on a presumably well-defined problem. For example, tax and estate-planning specialists would fit this category. These professionals may not even call themselves “family business consultants.” For some issues, this might be the fastest and most efficient way to resolve a specific problem, but the disadvantages are that individual specialists might make assumptions in their approach which are incorrect in the family business environment. An intervention in one subsystem might have unintended consequences in another.

Another type of consultant is the individual specialist. These professionals are more likely to call themselves “family business consultants.” They understand that family business are uniquely complex and have the training to tackle most of the problematic issues which arise in family business such as succession, conflict, and communication problems. These consultants may have been educated in management but they also might have had training in family dynamics. They could even be clinically trained, with extensive practical experience in business settings.

Yes and no. Professionals and specialists in other fields with business consulting knowledge and experience can provide insight and advice for small family business owners, but it is always best to work with an advisor who specializes in working with families.

Some consultants operate as individual specialists who provide focused consultation on a presumably well-defined problem. For example, tax and estate-planning specialists would fit this category. These professionals may not even call themselves “family business consultants.” For some issues, this might be the fastest and most efficient way to resolve a specific problem, but the disadvantages are that individual specialists might make assumptions in their approach which are incorrect in the family business environment. An intervention in one subsystem might have unintended consequences in another.

Another type of consultant is the individual specialist. These professionals are more likely to call themselves “family business consultants.” They understand that family business are uniquely complex and have the training to tackle most of the problematic issues which arise in family business such as succession, conflict, and communication problems. These consultants may have been educated in management but they also might have had training in family dynamics. They could even be clinically trained, with extensive practical experience in business settings.

WE ALREADY HAVE A SET OF TRUSTED ADVISORS IN PLACE, AND WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER.

Advisors who are not sensitive to family dynamics can often do more harm than good. A family-based firm needs an advisory team that is grounded in systems theory and understands the emotional component frequently found in the family-based environment.

WHAT IS SYSTEMS THEORY?

Systems theory dictates that every event is interdependent; that changing one part of a system will change the entire system. Further, that a minor change in one system can trigger dramatic changes in any other system of which it is a smaller part.

“I’M TOO BUSY RUNNING THE COMPANY,” OR “IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT.”

Given that only about one-third of family businesses survive into the second generation and only 12 percent will survive into the third generation, it is quite possible that having an ongoing plan in place to manage the risk of generational failure could be one of your most important jobs as a family business leader.

WE ARE CLOSELY HELD AND VERY PRIVATE AND WANT TO KEEP IT THAT WAY — WE DON’T WANT SOMEONE FROM THE OUTSIDE ASKING A BUNCH OF QUESTIONS AND GETTING THINGS ALL STIRRED UP.

Consultants who work with families appreciate the sensitive nature of the client/consultant relationship and go to great lengths to protect confidentiality. The Institute of Management Consultants (IMC) promulgates an ethical code of conduct that each of its members must abide by. In addition, discussions between client and consultant are always bound under a “non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement” that is executed prior to initiating any new engagement.