Advisory Services

We work pro-actively with business families to help them discuss the topics they may otherwise be reluctant to address. Working collaboratively, we help families uncover creative solutions to the challenges they are facing. We also help with the development of decision-making processes for family enterprises that assist in navigating the choppy waters and conflicting priorities faced during the succession process.

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Family Enterprise Priorities

Did you know there are three “Top Priorities” which all family enterprises must address? (*)

  1. Hold regular family meetings to develop improved communication
  2. Recruit independent board members to support high-quality decision making
  3. Create a formalized strategic planning process for the company to ensure stakeholder alignment

(*) Based on a Kennesaw State University study of 18,000 family enterprises.

Who makes decisions in the company and on what issues? Our ‘Decision-Making Matrix’ can help you clarify and streamline how decisions are made.

How do you handle conflict? Using Conflict Style Assessment, we can give you the insight and courage to “lean in” that will help you proactively address opposition and conflict.

What are your values? With the help of our Values Discovery Workshop, we can help you identify and honour those things which have the power to unify and inspire your family.

What is your vision? Through our Visioning Process, we assist families in developing a comprehensive and cohesive vision for the future.

Our Process

Our proven step-by-step methodology is designed to help identify root issues and vulnerabilities that may be hindering the success of your family. Once these have been determined, we collaborate with you to create a customized action plan for addressing your priorities, we then provide the advice and support required to improve the health of your family enterprise and the relationships in your family.

The X Factor: Virtually every one of our family enterprise clients has enjoyed the potential to “turbo-charge” their progress either through the introduction of successor coaching, career planning and/or relationship counselling. Depending on your needs and circumstances, we work with you to help identify what you can do to accelerate your family’s progress.

Confidential Interviews

Starting with one-on-one interviews with all family members, we create a safe and confidential environment where individuals can share their perspective, desired involvement and vision for the future of the enterprise.

PULSE® Report

Our unique, trademarked process summarizes the common themes gathered from the individual interviews in five key areas: perceptions, underlying threats, limiting factors, strengths & successes and everyone’s expectations.

Family Round Table

With all family members at the table, our Advisors present our PULSE report and work with the family to determine and prioritize next steps for addressing key themes. Desired outcomes are established, and an action plan is created that includes clear milestones, assigned responsibilities and personal accountabilities.

Ongoing Advice

Follow-up meetings and annually scheduled sessions are pre-planned to develop momentum and to ensure your family achieves your agreed upon goals and objectives.

How Next Step Advisors Can Help Your Family Enterprise

How to avoid becoming one of those families whose relationships are torn apart…

Tragically, many successful family enterprises disintegrate over time, often due to factors which could have been managed with just a modest amount of foresight and support. David Bentall’s family is a prime example. Once a prominent, successful real estate and construction conglomerate, his family business was torn apart as it approached its 100th anniversary. By rigorously assessing the mistakes he and his family made, David has discovered over twenty-five key things that they could have done that would have dramatically improved their prospects for family harmony and business success. Now, through Next Step Advisors, he and his team can help you identify and evaluate more proactive and productive options that will help guide you and your family through times of stress, conflict and uncertainty.

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  • Create a shared vision for the future
  • Understand future ownership plans for the family and business assets
  • Determine how decisions will be made within the family and ownership groups
  • Find a strategy for resolving disagreements and conflicts
  • Create an employment policy for those working in the family business
  • Determine how the future CEO will be selected
  • Define how much money needs to be set aside to fund the elder generation’s retirement
  • Remove and invest retirement funds outside the family business
  • Establish a board of directors or advisory board including independent members
  • Create a written strategic plan for the family business that all shareholders, board and management agree on
  • Have at least three facilitated family meetings annually
  • Develop a formal dividend policy to balance reinvestment and distributions
  • Set clear lines of communication for family members that are both inclusive and solution-oriented
  • Define how shareholders can exit from ownership
  • Outline how to provide career coaching for next generation family members
  • Facilitate successors obtaining experience outside the family business, especially for those aspiring to leadership roles
  • Provide education and training for future family owners
  • Encourage all family members to pursue their individual goals and aspirations – even if it means they may not end up working within the family owned company
  • Define what it means to be a non-owner, managing owner, governing owner or an investing owner and help successors to determine which kind of ownership option would be best for them
  • Determine how to support entrepreneurial and “intra-preneurial” initiatives which may come from members of the “rising generation”
  • Develop improved communication skills between all family members and learn to facilitate both compromise and collaboration
  • Help family members understand the decision-making responsibilities of shareholders, board members and management
  • Clarify expectations for the next generation regarding wealth transfers and career-building
  • Clarify financial expectations for teenage family members when they become adults
  • Include input from the next generation in shared decision-making processes regarding important topics related to the future of the family and the business
  • Agree on how the family’s wealth may be used to give back and help others through charitable giving and philanthropic initiatives
  • Develop a Family Constitution to help guide both current and future generations while simultaneously ensuring alignment and structure for family decision-making
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Is your family business prepared for transition and succession? See how it compares. Take a short 5-minute quiz created by Next Step Advisors David Bentall.