Spotlight On: Defining Value
Determining What your Family Values Most
Defining your Owner Strategy
Determining how your family will define success typically translates into three possible outcomes for the business. You can aim for growth, looking to maximize the financial value of the business. You can seek liquidity, distributing cashflow to the owners to use outside the business. And you can want to maintain control, keeping decision-making authority within the ownership group. An Owner Strategy will help you determine what you want to do with your company.
Why You Need an Owner Strategy
For most owners, there are three questions to ask to help guide the tradeoffs and choices you are willing to make.
Build a Family Business That Lasts
Family businesses that endure generation to generation do five things right. Here’s what they do exceptionally well.
Every Business Owner Should Define What Success Looks Like
The best family businesses have a clear Owner Strategy that defines what winning looks like.
How is an “Owner Strategy” Different from Business Strategy?
Owner Strategy is different from business strategy. Here’s why your family business needs both.
What Sets Family Businesses Apart
Banyan’s Rob Lachenauer and Josh Baron discuss the power of ownership on the popular HBR Ideacast.
Which is the Most Important of the 5 Rights?
Determining what your family values is the “why” to the right governance structure’s “how”.
The Power of Family Ownership
The longevity of a family business lies in how its owners understand and exercise their power to make decisions.
Defining your Purpose
Why do you choose to own your business together with family members? If your family business is bound together only by a surface purpose, it’s unlikely to last in the long run. It’s not enough to live someone else’s dream or maximize undistributed profits. You can find a better answer to that question by working with other owners to identify a compelling reason to own the business together.
Why Do We Own This Business Together?
Family owners must have a compelling purpose for being in business together. This is essential for a successful Owner Strategy.
Discussing Purpose Across Generations
How do you start a conversation about purpose? Each generation may have a different answer, so it’s important to get on the same page.
A Culture of Continuity is the Key to Family Business Longevity
What makes family businesses successful across generations? A culture that enables the business, owners, and family to evolve.
How Defining Values Supports the Business Family
It’s essential to make the active choice to stay together as a business family rather than assuming a shared purpose.
The Importance of Renewing Purpose
What do enduring family enterprises have in common? Banyan’s Dennis Jaffe explains the “hundred year family”.
Setting Owner Goals and Guardrails
A clear definition of purpose will help you make concrete choices about, and see the trade-offs in, how and where to create value. We call these choices Owner goals. And then you have to set Owner guardrails, boundaries around standard business strategy decisions, to ensure that those running the business day-to-day are directing their energy and resources to what you care about most. Clear Owner goals and guardrails enable more effective ownership.
The Owner Strategy Triangle
A tool to help owners
decide what they most value: Liquidity, Growth, or Control?
Creating Owner Guardrails
Both financial and non-financial guardrails can help your board and management put your Owner Strategy into practice.
Finally Finding Common Ground
Going through the process of creating their Owner Strategy helped one family on the verge of splitting up find a path forward, together.
Setting Owner Goals
Family business owners have the right to choose how they’ll measure success, but they must make trade-offs to prioritize the options that most align with their values.
A Crisis Playbook for Family Businesses
Five actions owners need to take to ensure company leaders have the proper guidance and tools to respond to a crisis.
Owner Strategy Trade-Offs
A good Owner Strategy can help guide owners as they make decisions about what they value most.
Crafting your Owner Strategy Statement
Too capture and express what you value, owners should create an Owner Strategy statement, a document that articulates your purpose, goals, and guardrails. This statement becomes a sort of credo for your family business. A good Owner Strategy statement should form the basis of a dialogue among owners, the board, and management.
Developing your Owner Strategy Statement
Creating an Owner Strategy statement helps ensure alignment among family members and that the company is on track.
Case Study: Aligning on What We Value
Christian D’Amour, a third generation family owner, shares how his family worked through their Owner Strategy process.
Creating your Own Owner Strategy Statement
Josh Baron describes a step-by-step process for crafting your Owner Strategy statement.
Implementing Owner Strategy
Your family did the hard work of determining your Owner Strategy. Now what? Use it to guide important strategic decisions.
What Makes a Good Owner Strategy Statement
Description, Depth, Details, Discussion, Decisions, Consensus. Here’s what that looks like.
Philanthropy in Family Business
Giving back is a priority for most of the family businesses we know. Primarily, they do so to make the world a better place. But, the most successful philanthropic efforts are part of your Owner Strategy, too. It’s important to take the time to identify your philanthropic objectives, including how giving back can help you accomplish your goals.
Philanthropy and your Family Business
Giving back is a priority for most family businesses. Done right, philanthropy can also help sustain a multigenerational enterprise.
Approaching Philanthropy as a Family
It’s important to discuss your family goals in advance to be successful with your family philanthropic efforts.
Embracing The ‘I’ In Philanthropy
Focusing on the benefits that philanthropy creates solely for the good of society severely and unproductively limits its reach.
5 Tips for Running an Effective Charitable Foundation
Effectively giving back to society takes hard work, but the results will be more than worth it.
Is Doing Good “Good Enough”?
To make a difference in society, it is ok to unleash the power of self-interest in philanthropy.
Philanthropy for Family Bonding
Philanthropy provides an opportunity to bring the whole family together and connect to the family values.
Value Thought Leaders
Owners have the right to define what are the high-level financial and non-financial priorities for the businesses that they own together. When they are able to align and articulate those, it gives direction (goals) and limits (guardrails) for those making decisions on their behalf.
Families are often programmed from birth to avoid conflict in the name of preserving family relationships, holidays, etc. Unfortunately, in most cases doing that pushes issues of real important under the rug. Rather than trying to avoid conflict, focus instead on how to manage it. When you do, your family and your business will be far healthier in the long run.
Owner strategy conversations provide a special opportunity for family members within and across generations to share their goals and expectations. Working through differences can bring your family closer together and set a clear path forward.
Nick Di Loreto
Conflict, by definition, increases as families grow and their interests diverge. The most successful family business owners are those who know how to raise and harness, rather than suppress, their differences.
Family business owners benefit from thinking like investors by answering a few questions: What are we trying to accomplish with this business? What are our financial and non-financial expectations? What risks are we willing to take? How will we measure performance against our expectations? Alignment on the answers to these questions allow a family to commit financial and non-financial resources to a shared vision of long-term success.
Senior Research Fellow
In an uncertain, volatile world, you can’t anticipate what will happen or when. But there are two things you can do: create a structure and family mindset that is open, flexible and responsive to change, and put in place processes for managing the most likely disruptions.
One of the best things about family ownership is that you don’t have to define success the way other companies might. You can follow your own path in determining what matters most to you and your family.
Marion McCollom Hampton
Senior Research Fellow
In the best cases, people marrying in to a family business bring that outside culture of their own family, and that makes the business family stronger.