• Trevor Dickinson

STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR THE FAMILY & BUSINESS

Updated: Apr 28

Fostering alignment of family and business perspectives in the following four critical areas is essential to optimize the health of the company and enable its long-term success.

  • Business Strategy,

  • Employment,

  • Compensation, and

  • Shareholder Liquidity.



Strategic planning is a common best practice in business today. Family businesses pursue strategic planning processes like those found in other companies. Professional managers work closely with boards of directors to develop the vision, mission, and goals of the business.


They use various planning techniques to develop a rigorous strategic view of the business and its environment, and they identify the most critical strategic business initiatives to undertake. Family businesses, however, face the additional challenge of assuring alignment of business strategies with family ownership objectives.

Family business strategy, therefore, must take into account the family ownership’s vision and values, including ownership expectations for return on investment and distribution of income. Every family business develops an embedded shareholder value proposition, encompassing the desired investment characteristics and objectives of the company.


These include well-defined target levels of risk, return, liquidity, and growth. This value proposition is the foundation for all strategic decisions made by the company, but it not fixed. In fact, its potential for flexibility is one of the great advantages of family businesses. Family businesses can be more responsive to the strategic needs and opportunities of their companies, but to accomplish this, the family ownership must pursue a parallel planning process.


Just as business planning is an ongoing process, the owners’ planning should also be ongoing. The family ownership needs to keep up with the strategic developments in the business, and prepare itself to be responsive and supportive of the business.


In addition, family ownership groups themselves are not stable, and can change dramatically over time. Keeping up with the business and the family creates a continuing need for constant planning. Growing families need to continue to formalize and communicate clear and comprehensive ownership objectives and policies regarding the shareholder value proposition, succession, and governance. Continuous planning around all three of these areas is critical to the family business longevity, and is particularly important with each change of generation.


The following list of family business parallel planning questions demonstrates a balanced approach to family and business planning:

  • What are the family’s core values?

  • What is the family’s vision of their relationship to each other and the business?

  • What is the Family Business Philosophy?

  • What is the family’s level of commitment to business ownership?

  • Is the family will to participate actively in supporting the business?

  • How will the family prepare family members for management and leadership roles?

  • Who will own the business in the future?

The answers to these questions will shape the Family Business Continuity Plan. As the family centers on the framework for discussion, management address specific questions about the business:

  • What is management’s business philosophy?

  • What are management’s long-term goals?

  • What is management’s vision of the business?

  • What is the Strategic Potential of the business?

  • What are the possible business strategies?

  • What is the business strategy and required level of investment?

The answers to these questions frame the Business Strategy Plan.


See blogs article titled – Goals of the Parallel Family & Business Planning Process

Family Legacies www.family-legacies.com is a multidisciplinary family business consulting company. Our consultants are leaders in their respective fields including; Family Business Consulting, Strategic Planning, Financial Planning, Wealth & Risk Management, Corporate Finance, Business Transitions & Exit Planning - Buy, Improve, Grow & Sell Businesses, Commercial & Family Law, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development & Facilitation, providing our clients with a professional and integrated multi-disciplinary service.


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