We have helped over 200 family businesses from 20 countries on six continents prepare for family business succession.
Our clients’ operating businesses span many industries, including manufacturing, luxury and consumer goods, industrial services, real estate, communications, and more. They generate revenues from hundreds of millions of dollars a year to multiple billions. They are the world’s leading privately-held, family-owned or controlled businesses.
Here are some representative examples of the challenges family businesses face:
The Founder’s Dilemma:
A true “rags to riches” story, the founder built a $500m business from the ground up. In his twilight years, he wondered, should I pass the business onto my three children, choose one to lead, or sell it now? Will they be able to work together to steward the business or will the process incite conflict?
The Unprepared Owners:
Sometimes tragedy limits choice. An unexpected accident left no one at the helm of the family business. The next generation were thrust into the spotlight suddenly, without preparation. What does it mean to be an “owner”? What guidance do we need to provide the board and management?
Transform or Else:
The business’s performance was stagnating. The family was as committed as ever and the business was as efficient as before, but something wasn’t working. The approach that had worked for decades wasn’t winning in the marketplace anymore. What kind of strategic changes did the owners need to make to evolve and thrive?
Three equal owners in different stages of life were locking horns over what to do with the business. One wanted to invest everything back in the business, the other wanted to exit and diversify. The remaining owner is trapped in between two behemoths. Tensions were so high that the family could no longer get together for holidays. How do you manage conflict when you have fundamentally different positions? What is the way out when you’re “stuck”?
Looking for a Place to Land:
The senior generation was in their 80s. They had devoted their entire lives to growing the family business. The next generation was in their 50s. They were eager to put their mark on it, but the senior generation was not ready to let go yet. What would it take to make the transition work? Was there a place for the senior generation to “land”?
The business had grown to be a giant conglomerate with many non-family executives and board directors. The family had owned it for five generations, moving to six. They were proud of their success together. But they worried the business was outgrowing their ability to oversee it, especially since they were spread across the world. How could a large, diverse group of family owners continue to steer the business?
In a family business, ‘’Everything is on steroids. Governance. The internal politics. It’s so much more stressful than running another type of company. But after working with Banyan, my stress level is 10 times less than it was 2 years ago.’’ – Family CEO
Shaping Your Family Business with an Owner Council
While classical family business consulting focuses on the family – drafting family constitutions or creating Family Councils – our work centers around the family as owners. We are the pioneers of an innovative concept, the Owner Council. The Owner Council is vital to the success of and succession in a family business a business family because the decisions of the owners will ultimately shape the course of the business and family. Family dynamics should not steer the business – that would be the tail wagging the dog. The owners must take control and make smart decisions from the top down.
We Advocate for the Family Business Owner as a Whole
Much of our work centers around establishing forums for owners to make effective ownership decisions together, such as agreeing on a dividend policy that takes the interests of the shareholders and the business into account, creating a buy/sell agreement that balances the needs across the shareholder group, or electing a strong board of directors to supervise the business. We work for the owners as a whole, as opposed to advocating for the interests of any one individual or group, and often focus on family business succession planning.
Our recommendations are highly customized
Every family business is unique. Our services are highly customized to the specific needs and challenges of each family and their family business. Before we make any recommendations, we must get to know you first.
We start our engagements with an in-depth discovery period where we listen to what all owners have to say, individually and confidentially. Based on what we hear, we will then create a custom roadmap that addresses their ownership, business, board, and family needs. We layer our knowledge of family business succession best practices into our recommendations, but we recognize that in order for our proposed approach to be successful, it has to work for you.