Family Business Director

Corporate Finance & Planning Insights for Multi-Generational Family Businesses

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Five Reasons Your Family Business Should Focus on ROIC

Return on invested capital is not a silver bullet – it will not solve all of the challenges facing your family business.  However, when we let the data speak for itself, the benefits of ROIC are undeniable. This week, we identify five reasons family businesses should focus on ROIC.

Are Metrics Really Undermining Your Family Business?

This month’s cover story in the Harvard Business Review takes aim at the misuse of metrics in businesses, highlighting the tendency of leaders to confuse numbers with strategy. In this post, we consider how to apply the authors’ suggestions in the context of family businesses.

Family Business Industry Spotlight: Auto Dealer Industry

This week’s post is a part of a periodic series called “Family Business Industry Spotlights.”  In these posts, we will share conversations with our family business advisory professionals who have deep experience working with family businesses in a particular industry.  We think the conversations promise to be of interest to family business directors regardless of their industry.  This week, we talk with Scott A. Womack about the challenges and industry trends facing families in the Auto Dealer Industry.

Buying Off the Discount Rack?

Recent headlines around publicly-traded family business Nordstrom, Inc. illustrate the challenges family business directors face when making hard decisions about family management, stock ownership, and whether to sell the family business. In this post, we take a closer look at where Nordstrom finds itself, and the range of options available to the directors for moving forward.

Return on Invested Capital: Digging a Little Deeper

The best performance metrics address not just “what” performance has been in the past, but reveal the “why” behind that performance and give direction for “how” to improve performance in the future.  In last week’s post, we introduced return on invested capital (ROIC) as a comprehensive performance measure for family businesses.  In this week’s post, we will dig a little deeper with ROIC, demonstrating how we can use ROIC to answer the “what,” “why,” and “how” questions for your family business.

And Now You Know… The Rest of the Story

Revenue growth and profitability are critical measures for the health of any family business, but by themselves, they tell only half of the story.  As a family business director, you need the whole story.  We’re not aware that Paul Harvey was a financial analyst, but if he were, we suspect his favorite performance metric would have been return on invested capital, because it tells you the rest of the story.

Innovation and Family Wealth

Recently published academic research from Vasiliki Kosmidou and Manju K. Ahuja highlights the relationship between innovation and family wealth. Our goal in this post is to introduce some of the authors’ most relevant findings to family business directors, translating, as we do, into a less academic idiom.

Q&A: Five Questions with Edward Jackson

Addressing topics such as share redemption programs to the role of non-family directors in a family business, Family Business Director speaks with board member Edward Jackson of H.G. Hill Realty Company for his insights on questions common to family businesses. This post is part of a series of interviews with family business leaders and experienced advisors.

FAQ M&A

Summer Reading

Family Business Director is off enjoying 4th of July festivities this week. For our readers that are looking for some beach reading, we thought we would direct your attention to some of our more popular posts in case you missed them the first time around.

Why Your Family Business Has More Than One Value

It is understandably frustrating for family business directors when the simple question – what is our family business worth? – elicits a complicated answer.  While we would certainly prefer to give a simple answer, the reality a valuation is attempting to describe is not simple.

The answer depends on why the question is being asked.  We know that sounds suspect, but in this post, we will demonstrate why it’s not.  Let’s consider three potential scenarios that require three different answers.

Tailoring Financial Decisions to the Meaning of Your Family Business

In a previous post, we identified the four basic economic meanings that a family business can have. For some families, the business is an economic growth engine for future generations. For others, the family business is a store of value. Alternatively, the family business can be a source of wealth accumulation or a source of lifestyle for family members.

As noted, there are certain family and business characteristics that can help family members discern what meaning “fits” their circumstances best. The meaning of the family business, in turn, has implications for the dividend policy, reinvestment, and financing decisions for the family business. In this post, we examine how the meaning of the family business influences these corporate finance decisions.

Five Takeaways for Family Business Directors from Kress v. U.S.

A recent federal court decision in a tax dispute represented a significant victory for family business shareholders.  The case (Kress v. U.S.) revolved around the value of a multi-generation family business, Green Bay Packaging (“GBP”). While we generally think family business directors have more important things to think about than tax-related judicial decisions, the Kress decision is one with which family business directors should be familiar.  In this post, we identify five important takeaways for family business directors from Kress.

Basics of Financial Statement Analysis

Part 4: Telling the Company’s Story

This post is the fourth installment from our Basics of Financial Statement Analysis whitepaper.  In this series of posts, our goal is to help readers develop an understanding of the basic contours of the three principal financial statements. The balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows are each indispensable components of the “story” that the financial statements tell about a company.

Family Business Industry Spotlight: Beverage Wholesalers

This week’s post is the first in a periodic series of “Family Business Industry Spotlights.”  In these posts, we will share conversations with our family business advisory professionals who have deep experience working with family businesses in a particular industry.  We think the conversations promise to be of interest to family business directors regardless of their industry.  This week, we talk with Tim Lee about the challenges and industry trends facing families in the beverage wholesaling industry.

What Does Your Family Business Mean to Your Family?

The meaning of a family business is a function of both family and business characteristics. In turn, it influences the dividend policy, investing, and financing decisions of the company. In this week’s post, we will identify the four potential meanings and correlate family & business characteristics with those meanings.

Basics of Financial Statement Analysis

Part 3: The Statement of Cash Flows

This post is the third of four installments from our Basics of Financial Statement Analysis whitepaper.  In this series of posts, our goal is to help readers develop an understanding of the basic contours of the three principal financial statements. The balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows are each indispensable components of the “story” that the financial statements tell about a company.  This week, we focus on the statement of cash flows.

Q&A: Five Questions with Dan Hatzenbuehler

From time to time, Family Business Director will interview family business leaders or experienced advisors to get their perspective on important questions common to family businesses.  In this first installment, we talk with Dan Hatzenbuehler, the retired Chairman and CEO of E. Ritter & Company.  Dan offers great insight that we know our readers will profit from.

The Financial Costs of Family Members Behaving Badly

The ongoing drama surrounding the behavior of Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has been a mainstay of the financial press over the past fifteen months. So what is the takeaway for family business directors from the Papa John’s saga? The most important lesson is this: the bad actions of family shareholders can have significant financial repercussions for the family business, and by extension, all the family shareholders.

Basics of Financial Statement Analysis

Part 2: The Income Statement

This post is the second of four installments from our Basics of Financial Statement Analysis whitepaper.  In this series of posts, our goal is to help readers develop an understanding of the basic contours of the three principal financial statements. The balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows are each indispensable components of the “story” that the financial statements tell about a company.  This week, we focus on the income statement.

Basics of Financial Statement Analysis

Part 1: The Balance Sheet

This post is the first of four installments from our Basics of Financial Statement Analysis whitepaper.  In this series of posts, our goal is to help readers develop an understanding of the basic contours of the three principal financial statements. The balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows are each indispensable components of the “story” that the financial statements tell about a company.  This week, we focus on the balance sheet.

Shareholder Redemptions in Family Businesses

Are They Good or Bad?

Over the weekend, the New York Times published an opinion column by Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders in which the senators decried the increasing prevalence of stock buybacks among the country’s largest publicly traded companies. Reading the column made us think about shareholder redemptions for family businesses. Do shareholder redemptions hurt or help family businesses?  Of course, that question does not have a simple answer.  Not all shareholder redemptions are created equal, so in this post, we’ll outline three possible redemption scenarios and identify what attributes suggest whether a given shareholder redemption will help or hurt a family business and its relevant stakeholders.

Is Your Family Business Ready for the Next Recession?

Now is the best time to think about how your family business is positioned for the next recession, whenever it comes.  In this post, we review some ways family business directors can prepare their companies to survive (and perhaps even thrive during) the next recession.

Consulting Services

Family Business Advisory Services

Mercer Capital provides financial education services and other strategic financial consulting to family businesses