Balancing the Family and its Business: Checklist Before Hiring a Family Business Consultant

Balancing the Family and its Business:
Checklist Before Hiring a Family Business Consultant

Business Journal
by Jill R. Lock
Simon Master & Sidlow, P.A.

Before a family business owner hires a consultant for the firm, she must take into account many qualities that a consultant should possess.To fully understand the family business, the consultant needs to grasp the family’s relationships and aspirations. Knowledge of both organizational behavior and family systems is crucial.The consultant should have professional training in their area of expertise.Ethical marketing should be the foundation of the approach.In addition, the consultant and the organization must reflect a commitment to family issues.This commitment is reflected with the resources available from the organization.

How does the family business owner know when it’s time to seek outside advice?Here is a list of some signals of when it’s time to get help externally:

  • Lots of secrets and secret alliances among family members;
  • Tension or hostility in the business environment;
  • Owner needs to put out lots of fires;
  • The owner’s spouse being frequently brought in to be the peacekeeper;
  • Lack of communication among family business members and/or key non-family members;
  • Uneasy feeling about the future of the business;
  • Employee dissatisfaction (this may manifest itself in excessive employee turnover or absenteeism);
  • Excessive overlap of personal matters into the business;
  • Emotional outbursts in the workplace;
  • Owner unaware of what other key employees are doing that greatly impacts business; More…