Here at Family Business Director, we are focused on the numbers of family business: measuring and assessing financial performance, establishing dividend policy, setting capital structure, making capital budgeting decisions, and structuring shareholder redemptions. All that said, we also recognize that family business leaders face many other critical challenges. So, in this week’s post, we provide a quick roundup of some of the best pieces we’ve come across recently dealing with management succession, governance, attitudes toward wealth, family relationships, board dynamics, and more.
Capital budgeting tools are ideal for answering the question: Is the proposed capital project financially feasible? Too often, however, we see these tools being used to answer what seems to be a related question, but one that the tools are simply not designed to answer: Should we undertake the proposed capital project? The first question opens the door to the second, but the tools of capital budgeting – no matter how sophisticated or quantitatively precise – cannot answer the second. To answer the second question, family business directors need to consider three qualitative questions identified in this post.
Kicking off with the inspired lyrics, “Down dooby doo down down,” Neil Sedaka assured legions of teenage girls in 1962 that “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.” Sixty years later, the actions of the Follett family are telling family business directors that maybe breaking up is not so hard after all. In this week’s post, we explore the question “Why do different businesses sometimes need different owners?” by examining the Follet family’s recent sale of each of its three operating divisions to a different buyer.
Family business directors are often afforded a luxury that their publicly traded counterparts are not: the ability to focus on and plan for the long term rather than solely the next quarter’s earnings report. While family businesses may not have the in-house economists and research departments of the larger public, it is crucial for the management and boards of family businesses to keep tabs on the overall economic environment in which they operate, as an understanding of the metrics and trends driving or hampering growth in the economy can inform effective and relevant strategic, tactical, and operational planning and decision making aimed at maximizing long-term shareholder returns. With that, we take a look at a few of the broad trends that bore themselves out in the U.S. economy through the end of 2021 and the first months of 2022.
While there are likely dozens of lessons to be learned from Publix, family business owners and leaders should consider three areas key to Publix’s success over the last 90 years: long-term planning, smart diversification, and strong family culture.
Dealmakers logged record levels of merger and acquisition activity in the middle market (deal values between $10 million and $500 million) in 2021. In this post, we highlight a few of the trends that bore themselves out in middle market M&A activity in 2021 that family business owners and directors should keep in mind when evaluating potential transactions in 2022.
Barring a change in the economic backdrop, the availability of debt financing for most family businesses in 2022 should be good; however, the cost of borrowing probably will rise in 2022. Market participants are highly certain the Fed will raise short-term policy rates to address high inflation that massive growth in monetary aggregates since March 2020 unleashed on financial markets initially and now the broader economy.
As 2022 kicks off, tax policy largely remains unchanged from a year ago. President Biden’s Build Back Better Act went through numerous iterations over the year and was politicked down from a headline program cost of $3.5 trillion to $1.7 trillion before ultimately being kiboshed by Senator Joe Manchin in late December.
But where does that leave estate planners and family businesses? There are three things estate planners and business advisors need to keep top of mind regarding tax policy in 2022.
Capital Allocation in Family Businesses
How are you and your fellow directors deciding what to decide? Is there consensus around the economic meaning of your family business to your family? Gaining consensus around the meaning of your family business can be a crucial first step to making all the strategic finance decisions you make line up with one another.
Our family business clients naturally want to know what their business is worth today. But an even better question asked by many of them is what they can do today to make their family business more valuable tomorrow. While the specifics of value creation are unique to each business, we like to use a common framework to help our clients identify pathways for creating value.
We present key elements of this framework in this week’s blog post, to get your family business ready for 2022.