Family Business Director

Corporate Finance & Planning Insights for Multi-Generational Family Businesses

Special Topics

Diversification and the Family Business

The Family Business Director To-Do List

The tyranny of the urgent imposes itself on family business directors just as it does on everyone else.  In this series of posts, we offer various to-do lists for family business directors.  Each list will relate to a particular family business topic.  The items offered for consideration will not necessarily help your family business survive the next week, but instead reflect priorities for the long-term sustainability of your family business.

Capital Structure

Should You Diversify Your Family Business?

The intersection of family and business generates a unique set of questions for family business directors.  We’ve culled through our years of experience working with family businesses of every shape and size to identify the questions that are most likely to trigger sleepless nights for directors. Excerpted from our recent book, The 12 Questions That Keep Family Business Directors Awake at Night, we address this week the question, “Should We Diversify?” 

Special Topics Taxes

A 2021 Estate Planning Reader

While we are not political prognosticators, the recent Senate runoff results appear to have given new life to the Biden Administration’s tax policy goals. Numerous publications have written about the Biden Administration’s tax plan and do not want to duplicate them here. However, we want to take the opportunity to highlight other thought leaders we are reading and what family business owners should be thinking about given recent political developments.


6 Valuation Principles Family Business Directors Should Know in 2021

Family business directors will make plenty of difficult decisions in 2021, and many of those decisions will require assessing the value of the company’s shares, a particular business segment, or a potential acquisition target.  What should you and your fellow directors know about valuation?  In our experience, there are six basic valuation principles that can guide directors as they make tough valuation-related decisions in the coming year.

Planning & Strategy

Taking Stock: Thinking About the Pieces of Your Family Business

Returns, Growth & Risk

In this week’s post, we conclude our series on taking a year-end strategic inventory in your family business.  Family business directors and managers need to think like a chess player when thinking about different business units within the company.  What are they capable of individually, and how do they work together?

COVID-19 Coverage Planning & Strategy

Taking Stock: An Asset Class Checklist

Last week, we introduced a series of posts about taking a strategic inventory of the assets of your family business. As the calendar turns to December and 2020 (thankfully!) comes to an end, it is an appropriate time for family business directors and managers to take stock of just where their family business is at this stage in the pandemic. Doing so can help give needed context to discussions about where the family business should be headed.

We tend to think of a family business’s primary assets under seven broad headings. In this week’s post, we offer a checklist for directors and managers.

Planning & Strategy

Taking Stock: Taking a Strategic Inventory of Your Family Business

As the year winds down, we recommend setting aside time to look beyond survival tactics and re-engage in some strategic thinking about your family business.  Much like an asset manager would review the portfolio they have constructed with their client, family business directors should review the current asset allocation in their family business.  Doing so can help uncover fresh insights and challenge conventional thinking that is due for an update.

Planning & Strategy

Family Business Director’s Top Ten Questions Not to Ask at Thanksgiving Dinner

For most of us, Thanksgiving is a time to disregard normal dietary restraint in the company of extended family members that one rarely sees.  For some enterprising families, however, Thanksgiving quickly devolves from a Rockwellian family gathering to a Costanza-style airing of grievances.  So, in the holiday spirit, we offer this list of the top ten questions not to ask at Thanksgiving dinner.  If you have trouble distinguishing between the board room and the dining room, this list is for you.

Performance Measurement

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.

Special Topics

The Buyer You Might Be Overlooking

Considering the Role of an ESOP in Your Family Business

One obstacle many families face when it comes to selling the family business is the potential loss of identity, culture, and jobs that such transactions often leave in their wake. A recent article, however, in the New York Times highlighted an option available to family shareholders: selling the family business to the employees.  In this post, we highlight three potential benefits and drawbacks to ESOP transactions for family shareholders.

Consulting Services

Family Business Advisory Services

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