Family Business Director

Corporate Finance & Planning Insights for Multi-Generational Family Businesses

Shareholder Engagement

You Can’t Spend the Same Dollar Twice

In the world of family-run businesses, the task of capital allocation poses unique challenges, especially with a diverse shareholder base that includes family members with varying financial needs. While some depend heavily on dividends to fund their lifestyle, others focus more on long-term capital appreciation. This article delves into how successful family businesses strike a crucial balance between fueling business growth and meeting shareholders’ liquidity needs, exploring the tough decisions that can make or break both family harmony and business success.

Shareholder Engagement

Five Reasons to Conduct a Shareholder Survey

New Video Released on Family Business On Demand Resource Center

In this video, Atticus Frank breaks down the top five reasons why your family business should consider conducting a shareholder survey. He emphasizes how these surveys can provide critical insights into shareholder perspectives, facilitate informed business decisions, and enhance communication among family members involved in the business. From uncovering deeply held views to promoting educated and engaged shareholders, the video offers valuable guidance for multi-generational family businesses looking to align interests and build trust.

Special Topics

Review of Key Economic Indicators for Family Businesses

The U.S. economy defied expectations by growing at an annualized rate of 2.4% in the second quarter of 2023, outperforming consensus estimates and showing resilience against the Federal Reserve’s ongoing rate hikes. While inflation rates have moderately stabilized, economists forecast a potential slowdown in GDP growth for the upcoming quarters. Explore this delicate economic balancing act, including insights from the Fed’s latest meetings and how these developments could influence both consumer and investor behavior.

Planning & Strategy Taxes

Navigating the Estate Tax Horizon

The Time Is Now

There is an urgency to consider a range of estate tax strategy options in order to maximize gifting family wealth rather than family drama. The options range from straightforward gifts to heirs, accelerated gifting, use of irrevocable trusts, and other estate freeze tactics to lock in assets at current value and transfer future appreciation to heirs without triggering additional taxes. Why? The current basic exclusion amount ($12.92 million per individual) is due to sunset to its pre-TCJA level of $5 million, as adjusted for inflation, at the end of 2025. Tax planners expect a spike in estate planning transactions between now and then. Don’t be caught unprepared. Read more in this week’s post.

M&A Planning & Strategy

Private Equity (Still) Wants to Buy Your Family Business

Private equity and institutional investors have been increasingly targeting family-owned businesses for potential acquisition. Recent industry data shows that smaller deals account for over 61% of all private equity transactions in the first quarter of 2023, and founder-owned business purchases, especially those valued under $100 million, are rising. In this week’s post, we look at some of the pros and cons of private equity investment in your family business.

Dividend Policy

Dividend Policy for Family Businesses

New Video Released on Family Business On Demand Resource Center

Travis Harms provides an insightful examination into the important topic of dividend policy in family businesses. He explains how to go about the decision-making process regarding distribution and why considering various shareholder characteristics and business attributes matters. He breaks it down into four types of dividend policies, highlighting the balance between shareholder certainty and board discretion, fostering a better understanding of maintaining the sustainability of the business, and promoting positive shareholder engagement.

Planning & Strategy

A Tale of Two Shoes

The contrasting fates of shoe brands Hoka and Allbirds in recent years have provided a couple important lessons for family business directors. As part of its growth strategy, Hoka harnessed the value of scarcity. Allbirds, on the other hand, stumbled by losing sight of its core customer in the race to pursue continued topline growth. In this post, we review these contrasting narratives to help family business directors evaluate their own growth strategies.

Capital Budgeting Capital Structure Dividend Policy

Managing Your Complete Family Business Balance Sheet

Your family business may likely be one of your largest assets, but not the only asset. Thinking holistically about your family’s complete balance sheet, not just the operating of the business, is a good mindset for fostering longevity, family harmony, and shareholder engagement.

In this post, we discuss three key financial areas that family businesses generally focus on. Having an accurate picture of the complete family balance sheet will help inform the ultimate decisions made at the family business level that optimize shareholder returns and maximize total family wealth.

Planning & Strategy

Earnings Season

As the U.S. enters another earnings season with anticipated profit drops, family businesses are encouraged to leverage these reporting periods for enhanced internal communication and strategic planning. Unlike public companies focusing on quarterly results, family businesses prioritize long-term decision making, but can still improve shareholder relations by consistent, contextual, and future-oriented reporting. Family businesses should identify if they are in a “planting” or “harvesting” phase, as it may significantly influence their growth strategy and investment decisions.

Consulting Services

Family Business Advisory Services

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