Takeaways from General Electric
The recent announcement that General Electric is slashing its shareholder payouts by more than 90% has put dividends in the headlines in recent days. The news coverage provides an opportunity for family business directors to re-visit dividend policy at their own companies. While we wouldn’t want to suggest that the GE dividend news tells savvy family business directors anything they didn’t already know, a few reminders about dividend basics seem fitting.
It may be a tiresome cliché, but your family business really does make money buying low and selling high. It’s important to think about gross margin, because it tells you how much of a “mark-up” your customers are willing to pay for your good or service. The higher the “mark-up” the more revenue will be available to cover operating expenses and generate an operating profit.
The income statement is a natural place to begin analyzing a company’s financial results, and revenue is the natural starting point for that analysis. We recently heard someone remark that everything good in business starts with revenue, and our experience working with family businesses of all stripes confirms that sentiment. While the absolute amount of revenue can be instructive (i.e., are we looking at a $10 million business or a $100 million business?), it is the trend in revenue that is most revealing. Is the business growing, treading water, or shrinking?
Talking to the Numbers Introduction
Reading financial statements well is all about asking the right questions. In this series of posts, our goal is to help family business directors ask the right questions of their financial statements. Asking better questions leads to better financial and business decisions.
If family business directors are going to make good capital allocation decisions, they need to know what the right hurdle rate is. If the hurdle rate is set too low, the family may experience weak future returns. Setting the hurdle rate too high, however, introduces the risk that the family business will pass on attractive investment opportunities. In this post, we consider how the hurdle rate relates to the weighted average cost of capital.
Stewarding a multi-generation family business is a privilege that comes with certain responsibilities, and each family business faces a unique set of challenges at any given time. For some, shareholder engagement is not currently an issue, but establishing a workable management accountability program is. For others, dividend policy is easy, while next gen development weighs heavily. Through our family business advisory services practice, we work with successful families facing issues like these every day.
Corporate Finance & Planning Insights for Multi-Generational Family Businesses
This is the inaugural post for our Family Business Director blog. By way of introduction, we thought we would anticipate a few questions that you might have.