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Relationships And Dynamics

Emotion, loyalty, money – a potent mix for family business disputes

Unlike other business structures, family businesses have their own dynamic at work which incorporates a raft of cherished shared values and aspirations as well as potential sources of conflict as the complexity of family relationships impact on decision-making and long term success. In other words, family and business can be two very different and conflicting systems trying to work together – sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

Disputes in any business take their toll. Customers can get caught in the crossfire and employees are remarkably adept at spotting the symptoms. Sales, profits, cash flow and morale may suffer. These can range from feelings of resentment or entitlement, personality clashes, fear of change, reluctance to share information, financial disagreements or disagreements over whether to invest in the business or take dividends. The stress placed on family relationships can be the source of endless issues that hamper planning and growth.

Family tension arising from any source can make a family business difficult to manage and restrict its growth. It can have a damaging impact on decision making, planning, profitability and the long-term sustainability of the business if it is not managed correctly. Indeed, a breakdown in communication within the family can result in time and effort being wasted in managing relationships rather than focusing on the business and growing the family wealth.

It is rare to come across a business where conflict never happens but in family businesses, emotional factors are almost always part of the issue. Bringing in independent advisers can help manage this process, facilitate solutions and build bridges.

Every family business is unique and each requires different solutions to the challenges they face that are tailored for their individual needs. Our 360 degree business review service Family Business Connect has been specially designed to assist family and owner managed businesses access understanding, support and guidance.

The design is based on a house, with a room for every key element; working closely with our clients we are able to navigate the rooms according to individual or business goals. We are then able to examine all those challenges, opportunities and more, helping clients to properly plan and unlock the full potential of the business.

To look inside your business with a little more clarity and confidence, now and into the future, get in touch with one of our Family Business advisers at PKF Francis Clark and arrange a Family Business Connect Review.

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