One of the features of family businesses is the strong commitment of the staff and owners, and their focus on the long term. Because of this, family businesses appear to be more resilient to economic downturns. The main way they differ from other companies is that the family ultimately decides on governance, ownership and employee participation. Business plans, investment decisions, tax issues as well as the ‘succession to the throne’ call for a different approach at your family business compared to the way other businesses are run. So you’re looking for a consultant who not only gives advice on the facts of the matter, but also has an eye for the emotional and social side of your business.
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Strategy and continuity
Your company’s environment is in a constant state of flux. Is this the time to invest in new technology, or should you be reorganising instead? As a family business, you always approach major decisions from the point of view of family governance. Together you decide on challenges like ESG legislation, price increases and disruptions in your supply chain make. A good consultant not only provides advice but also acts as a confidante.
Family charters and conflicts
A family charter lays down rules and agreements on how the family wants to deal with the business. Family charters are all about balancing family and business interests. It’s important to reach agreements with all those involved so that the roles at your company are clear. Laying down your agreements in writing clarifies the consequences that agreements have for both the company and the family. Even if there is a conflict, you can then always fall back on the agreements you made.
The next generation(s)
Preparations for the succession of your business can start once it is clear which family member is the designated successor. A succession plan defines what needs to be done, when and by whom, to make this future scenario possible, including from a technical perspective. Coaching is key to this, and the legal and tax implications need to be identified too. We are happy to help you to arrange for the succession properly and in good time.
Retaining and engaging your existing staff and prospective employees: how can you keep your people? Depending on your sector, finding qualified staff can be a challenge. We can consult with you on matters such as your personnel strategy, leadership, recruitment and HR policies. We can also handle things like your payroll and applications for subsidies, including the government’s Incentive Scheme for Learning and Development in SMEs.
The role of IT
You need insights into your organisation for effective decision-making. Otherwise how will you know whether your goals are achievable? Unfortunately, the IT infrastructure at family businesses is often not set up properly. We can configure your own information system, or help you to set it up, so that you have a good understanding of what is and is not productive, and which business units are actually profitable.
Rising prices, scarcity in the supply of products and raw materials, delivery times, penalty clauses, project management, international enterprise and ever tighter ESG regulations are just some of the operational issues you face. We are here to advise you on how to guarantee the continuity of your organisation.
The three-circle model
The three-circle model analyses the three interdependent and overlapping dimensions that make up a family business: family, business and ownership. Those involved in a family business are aware of those dimensions and the overlap between them, each from their own perspectives, goals and dynamics. The long-term success of family businesses depends on the functioning of and mutual support given by the different dimensions. We can advise you on how to harmonise these dimensions and their associated dynamics.
Private equity within family businesses
Private equity has been playing a more dominant role in the SME sector in the Netherlands in recent years. The attitudes of family businesses towards private equity are gradually changing. We can inform you about the pros and cons and advise you about the role that private equity may play in your company.
Each family business has its own style of governance, but is it still in keeping with the company or the family? Governance, supervision and management issues are complex and demand customisation. How would the family like to govern, and how should it be supervised? How is governance structured and does it provide resilience in the long term? Our consultants will be happy to discuss these things with you.
How do you find enough staff when the jobs market is tight?
The tight jobs market poses a challenge for many family businesses. What should your strategy be for tackling this challenge? How can you appeal to Gen Z so that they choose your company to work for? Getting staff to commit to your organisation is now more important than ever, but this is often precisely where companies lack insight.
Family businesses prioritise corporate social responsibility and commitment to society. This may transcend the company’s day-to-day operations, and the family is often involved in good causes, giving back to the community on the basis of the family’s core values. This could be part of the company’s operations, for instance by means of doing voluntary work or through the investments the company makes.
The company’s and the family’s core values and philanthropic intentions can be laid down in the family charter. We would be happy to consult with you on these matters, and on how we can help you to give form and substance to the philanthropic efforts of your family and your company.
Across the border
We can also support you if your family business grows. Baker Tilly in the Netherlands is part of Baker Tilly International, a network of Baker Tilly member firms present in 145 countries worldwide. Your own Baker Tilly consultant in the Netherlands will be your contact person for the foreign consultants should you need them. We can arrange an introduction quickly and easily because we have good personal contacts with the other member firms.