It has been a busy winter. The holiday season is now long past, except for the memory of our family who were gathered for Christmas dinner. We gave thanks for all that we have and enjoy the conversations about what our hopes are for the year to come. There were four generations of women; my wife Cathy, her Mom, our daughter Natasha and grand-daughter Jocelyn (17 months old), seated around the table. Mixed in among them were our two sons Ryan and Todd with their partners and two older grandsons of 9 and 12. My youngest daughter Shaylyn, husband and 8 month old grand-daughter Aliana, visited from Vancouver via Skype. Like many of you, Cathy and I find these are some of the most special family times and communication technology helps to keep us connected.
This is year-end time for our businesses, so I tend to be very busy with the accountants and book-keepers, staff and partners, finishing off 2016 and planning for 2017. Many family business owners find this a very stressful time. Whether looking at red or black ink on the financials, you know the family present and future depends on the upcoming business plan. How we handle our business affairs and communicate with our staff and clients is high on the agenda. What about our children, our nephews and nieces and their children? How do we communicate with them about the business? Do we understand about emotions that are stirred by hope or worry and how they impact the way our family members interact and make plans for their futures?
We raise our children to be good citizens and help them understand about studies, opportunities, work ethics and core values that are embedded in our families. I suggest that many of us want to teach our children about the pros and cons of being a business owner so they can help carry it into the future. Perhaps you will be one of the five whose business will carry forward to the next generation. It is true that many businesses will sell to an outside interest or merge to build a larger entity. Either way, successful transitions are great for the economy.
I talked today with an old friend who is well into his 70s. He is still working his business, but has lost hope that one or more of his children will take over his company. We talked about why his children were not interested in the family business and settled on two main reasons; the work days were too long and hard and they couldn’t see how they could make enough money. “Was it the truth”, he asked, “or did I just fail to show them how they could make a good life and do better than I did." He has only one grandchild so it is not likely that his business will survive to see that generation take over.
It means a great deal to our regional prosperity for businesses of all sizes and types to succeed. My musings today, circle around how I will help my family business survive and prosper into the future.
In spite of the many challenges we face operating a family enterprise in this region, my involvement in FBA-Atlantic excites me. The dedicated FBA-Atlantic Board of Directors is making tremendous headway with a strategic plan that will ensure growth of the Association, through an expanded target of family businesses. FBA-Atlantic will create opportunities for life learning experiences with events like the upcoming Peter Wilson dinner and the celebration of our 2017 Family Business Excellence Award Luncheon, which will profile our finalists, MacGregor Industrial Group and Stanhope Simpson Insurance Ltd. New education and marketing initiatives are being stimulated and supported by new funding partnerships. Our membership is growing and as a result our networking circle is growing. This growth will create even more Peer Groups. where confidential, highly important issues are discussed. This growth offers opportunities to connect for success and provides hope for our futures.
I invite you to get excited about Family Business Association – Atlantic and work with us to foster happiness and health in our family businesses that will lead to our greater prosperity within Atlantic Canada.
Caroline Wood and Father David Bentley to Speak at
2017 Peter Wilson Dinner
We are delighted to welcome these two seasoned journalists to the family business dinner stage. Keynote Spotlight: Caroline Wood is a journalist and entrepreneur who with her father, David Bentley, launched allNovaScotia in 2001. Raised in Sackville, NS, Caroline has a business degree from Dalhousie University. David arrived in Canada through Pier 21 in 1966 to accept a job with the Halifax Herald. He has had a rewarding career in the news business, launching three publications including allNovaScotia in 2001
Early bird tables of eight are available until March 17 so reserve yours today!
Thank you to our many sponsors who are showing their support for family enterprises in Atlantic Canada!
FAMILY BUSINESS MATTERS
by Leslie McNabb, B.Comm., FEA, Director, Centre for Family Business and Regional Prosperity
We all know the importance of regular check ups for our personal health, but what about for the health of your family business?
Family businesses are sometimes criticized for not being “professional enough." This often happens innocently rather than intentionally. When an entrepreneur opens a business, they are focused on getting established and making money in order to keep the lights on. In the start up phase, they are not necessarily thinking of future generations. As a result, the knowledge, processes, strategy and vision for the company are mostly in their head and not always formalized. This approach seemingly works… until the business starts to grow.
As family involvement in a business increases so does the complexity. Along with regular business worries about factors like market share, customer service, and competition, family businesses have added concerns about things that the average person doesn’t normally have to worry about in the workplace. Why won’t Mom or Dad give me more responsibility? My brother is not pulling his weight at the office, how can I talk to him about it without ruining our relationship? The non-family employees treat me differently because I’m related to the owner. Which of my children is capable of taking over the leadership when I retire? Family relationships inevitably add a layer of emotion that can impact how some business and ownership issues are managed.
When the lines between the three circles of family, business and ownership become blurred (and they most certainly will), the more structure you have in each, the better. Entrepreneurs who have grown their family businesses to include future generations, need to share what’s in their head. This means talking about the big picture (vision, mission, values), business continuity planning (leadership, ownership and emergency planning) and expectations (job descriptions, performance evaluations, growth targets). Clarity is your friend. Uncertainty is not.
Taking an objective look at how your family business is operating in each of the three circles can be a valuable exercise. Much like building a strategic plan or conducting a SWOT analysis, it can provide insight into structures, processes, and tools for mitigating issues that often arise as a result of family dynamics. Developing an understanding of best practices in each of the three circles can help to leverage the strengths in your family business and identify gaps that require attention.
Do you have a sense of how your company measures up in each of the three circles of the family business system?
If no, our Centre can help. As an educational partner of FBA-Atlantic, we are offering a complimentary baseline “check-up” to organizations with FBA-Atlantic family memberships. To learn more about what’s involved or to sign up, contact me at email@example.com.
John Abbass Sr. Memorial Scholarship Deadline Looming
The John Abbass Sr. Scholarship Fund was established in memory of John Abbass Sr. by Family Business Association-Atlantic. This annual $2,000 scholarship is awarded to children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews of Family Business Association – Atlantic members or family business owners in Nova Scotia and helps to promote post secondary business education pursuits. Applications are reviewed by the John Abbass Scholarship Committee with the award disbursed to the winning candidate’s post secondary educational institution.
Click here for a copy of the application form – all submissions are due by March 31, 2017.
Your Membership Benefits Continue to Grow!
Dalhousie Centre for Family Business and Regional Prosperity
As noted in Leslie McNabb's column, she will be offering complementary family business consultations to FBA-Atlantic members. This is a perfect opportunity to take the temperature of your family business health check up! Contact Leslie at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to schedule your session.
Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education Skills and Training Programs for FBA-Atlantic Members
We will be rolling out some customized courses for our members in the upcoming weeks. These courses will be funded by the Department and will consist of 10-12 individuals per course. The course content is currently being reviewed based on the recommendations that came out of the focus groups that were held in January. There will be courses for family members and for their staff. Please stay tuned for more details and registration deadlines.
Predictive Index Personality Survey
Members are offered a Predictive Index Survey and a personal review with a local PI consultant who will help you gain a better understanding of your primary personality characteristics.
Contact the FBA-Atlantic office for more details
FBA-Atlantic Welcomes Newest Member - Armco Capital
Warm welcomes to Armco Capital - our newest FBA-Atlantic members. Founded in 1982 by members of the Armoyan family, Armco Capital Inc. has grown from a small business run almost entirely by two brothers into a diversified and dynamic group of companies. Recognized as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies for three consecutive years, Armco is among the largest organizations of its kind in Atlantic Canada. We are delighted to have Armoyan family as members. Welcome to FBA-Atlantic!
Boyne Clarke Pro Bono Law Days
In celebration of Law Day 2017 Boyne Clarke LLP will be holding free legal consultations on April 18, 19 & 20, 2017. This initiative is intended to give residents in the HRM access to justice and all pre-approved applicants will be offered a free legal consultation. Interested? Click here to download the application form which are are due by April 7, 2017.
Congratulations to one of our long time FBA members, A.P. Reid Insurance, who have been recognized as one of the top 10 brokers in Canada by Insurance Business Magazine! A well deserved recognition!