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April 2012 Book Review

April 20, 2012

On the Shoulders of Atlas: A Story About Transitioning A Family-Owned Business

Written by Susan Latremoille & Peter Creaghan with Frank Archibald, Linda Betts, Arnie Cader, Sheila Crummey, Tony Ianni, Stever Landau, Ron Prehogan and Pearl Schusheim © 2010

 

This book is a very readable, if fictional, account of a family business founder and his wife wrestling with the choices surrounding their exit from a family business and the resulting wealth transition to their children.  This book’s authors clearly advocate for the value of an advisory team of family advisors including tax planners, estate lawyers, wealth management specialists, life insurance advisors and general family advisors.  Best practices for advisory boards and boards of directors, including compensation,  are also reviewed.  The fictional couple consider several options for exit and transition including outright sale of the business, succession to a family member and setting up trusts for their children.

This is an interesting and largely accurate look at some of the dilemmas that family business owners/founders will one day certainly face. Whether you choose to use a team approach or not, these are all considerations that are smart to be explored.

Renée Montoya Lado M.S., N.C.C

President, Strategic Designs for Learning

Family Owned Business Network  Book Review Chair & Editor

Natalie McVeigh, MBE

Research Analyst, Strategic Designs for Learning

Family Owned Business Network  Senior Book Reviewer

March 2012 Book Review

March 22, 2012

Preparing Heirs: Five Steps to a Successful Transition of Family Wealth and Values

Written by Roy Williams and Vic Preisser ©2003

This book is based on research of 3,250 wealthy families regarding their legacies.  It is extraordinarily insightful.  This book reveals what these successful families had in common—how they achieved and maintained family harmony, and ensured the smooth transition of their wealth to well-adjusted heirs.  They also warn of the wide range of factors that cause  families to be unsuccessful in their wealth transition. It contains clear, concise, well organized, and easy-to-follow instructions that will enable family businesses to evaluate or create their plan for transitioning family wealth.

This book can help family businesses develop a plan based upon  family values underlying the accumulation of wealth and prepare heirs to be good stewards and thoughtful administrators of that wealth.  It is also an important resource for other family advisors  (i.e. estate lawyers, financial planners) to use with their clients.

This is a great resource for any family business owner contemplating a wealth transition.  It is an easy read and informative.

Renée Montoya Lado M.S., N.C.C

President, Strategic Designs for Learning

Family Owned Business Network  Book Review Chair & Editor

Natalie McVeigh, MBE

Research Analyst, Strategic Designs for Learning

Family Owned Business Network  Senior Book Reviewer

 

February 2012 Book Review

February 15, 2012

The Smart Divorce: Proven Strategies and Valuable Advice from 100 Top Divorce Lawyers, Financial Advisors, Counselors, and Other Experts

Written by Deborah Moskovitch ©2007

The enormous success of the “DUMMIES” book series is self evident.  If ever there was a ‘Divorce for Dummies’, this would be it —  meaning no disrespect.

It is at once a resource book replete with definitions, practical advice and lists and lists of resources.  It steps the reader through the ‘land of divorce’ with a straight forward pragmatism.  The book is an easy read and informative.  One can imagine it dog-eared and coffee stained on someone’s kitchen table.  Go right out and send this book to any of your friends that might be contemplating a divorce or worst case, who might have been served with papers asking for a divorce.  It will serve as an orientation — a travelers’ guide to the impending terrain.

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Renée Montoya Lado M.S., N.C.C

President, Strategic Designs for Learning

Family Owned Business Network  Book Review Chair & Editor

Natalie McVeigh, MBE

Research Analyst, Strategic Designs for Learning

Family Owned Business Network  Senior Book Reviewer

January 2012 Book Review

January 31, 2012

Seeking Succession: How to Continue the Family Business Legacy

Written by Loyd H. Rawls 2nd Edition ©1999-2004

 

The author of this book is a practitioner and a principal in his own financial planning firm.  We emphasize that because therein lies the value and credibility for any family business founder. 

This is an excellent resource for any member of a family business, particularly in the area of financial planning, whether or not one might be ready to ‘exit’ your business.  The information and advice regarding regulations, taxes, estate planning etc. will be invaluable.  Interestingly Mr. Rawls also ably tackles other management and family issues such as succession, communication and family relationships.

 

The format of the book is quite helpful, with case studies in each section which are additional learning options to the reader should they require more application to the concepts and principles he teaches.  We found the book quite optimistic about a family’s ability to grapple with and finally master major dilemmas in the areas of succession, exit or difficult familial relationships.

 

This book is not a quick or easy read per se but definitely a resource that any founder/owner would be remiss to have not read.  By the way, if you are going to order this book, be sure to order the 2nd edition, the changes from the first edition are very important.

 

Renée Montoya Lado M.S., N.C.C

President, Strategic Designs for Learning

Family Owned Business Network  Book Review Chair & Editor

Natalie McVeigh, MBE

Research Analyst, Strategic Designs for Learning

 Family Owned Business Network  Senior Book Reviewer

October 2011 Book Review

October 31, 2011

Exit Right: A Guided Tour of Succession Planning for Families-in-Business-Together

Written by Mark Voeller, PhD; Linda Fairburn, MSOD; and Wayne Thompson ©2002

 

This is a small but powerful book – the size was intentional to make it a sort of ready-reference.  It was written to tackle only one part of the sleeveless in three generations problem —exit/transition/succession planning.  The authors are adamant that people start the succession process when they start thinking about exiting without thinking of how it will affect business strategy and processes, the family members or potential successors. This holistically focused book would be a helpful and practical tool to start a discussion around this issue.

 

This book reinforces systems thinking, life cycles of a business and the role of a trained advisor in the exiting process.  The structure of the book is very unique.  Each chapter addresses an aspect of exiting a business and could stand alone if need be, but definitely do build upon one another. These chapters are process oriented with key questions, underlying issues, exploration questions and action steps for the founder/current owner to consider. Although this book seems to be written for the owner/founder it would be useful for any member of a family business or advisor.

Renée Montoya Lado M.S., N.C.C

President, Strategic Designs for Learning

Family Owned Business Network  Book Review Chair & Editor

Natalie McVeigh, MBE

Research Analyst, Strategic Designs for Learning

 Family Owned Business Network  Senior Book Reviewer

September 2011 Book Review

September 30, 2011

The Keys to Family Business Success

Written by Leslie Dashew, Sam Lane, Joe Paul, Darrell Beck, and Williams Robert ©2011

 

This recent addition to the Family Business literature is exceptional.  The book’s content is drawn on the expertise of the authors (more than 30 years respectively) who are members of the Aspen Family Business Group.  The Keys to Family Business Success would be helpful for anyone who is in a family business or who works with one.  The overall tone of the book is positive and realistic and is intended to be a helpful resource for family stakeholders who want to know how to deal with some of the challenges that arise whether on their own or in conjunction with the right advisors.  

 

 

The structure of the book is very pragmatic.  It begins with a lengthy case study outlining a family in crisis: how they are in crisis and their engagement with a consultant, then the beginning stages of the consulting process.  Each chapter addresses a different challenge and includes helpful activities, checklists/evaluations, and works of literature (poems or fables) to tackle the issues presented.

 

 

The authors provide a practical framework for recognizing a challenge before it becomes insurmountable, and is, therefore, a great contribution. 

 

Renée Montoya Lado M.S., N.C.C

President, Strategic Designs for Learning

Family Owned Business Network  Book Review Chair & Editor

Natalie McVeigh, MBE

Research Analyst, Strategic Designs for Learning

 Family Owned Business Network  Senior Book Reviewer

August 2011 Book Review

August 31, 2011

Family Business Secrets: How to Keep Your Business Thriving from Generation to Generation

Written by Irving Katz, MBA. ©2010

 

Family Business Secrets is a book that reminds family business owners how easy it is to only focus on our clients or products and services, and to forget about our business as a business

 

The author’s expertise as a family business advisor really helps make this book a practical support to bringing the business of our business back into focus.  Mr. Katz effectively incorporates case studies from previous clients as well as more well-known family businesses to further illustrate critical family business issues i.e. cash flow management, strategic planning, and succession planning .  His use of self-assessments at the beginning of each chapter helps the reader create a pragmatic baseline from which to learn from the material. 

 

This is a quick read that is quite useful for family business owners, family business members, and family business advisors alike.

Renée Montoya Lado M.S., N.C.C

President, Strategic Designs for Learning

Family Owned Business Network  Book Review Chair & Editor

Natalie McVeigh, MBE

Research Analyst, Strategic Designs for Learning

 Family Owned Business Network  Senior Book Reviewer