This could almost be the book that Canadian Griffiths-Hamilton wrote because she needed it. Except that she probably wouldn’t have needed it. Griffiths-Hamilton knows of which she speaks as a third generation entrepreneur: her grandfather being vet Dr William Ballard, wealth creator and investor of a popular dog food formula which he then canned for distribution. Her father built a media and sports empire and owned national hockey team The Vancouver Canucks. Griffiths-Hamilton herself co-owned the team and financed the construction of a ‘state of the art’ area in Vancouver and bought one of the first National Basketball Association franchises, the Vancouver Grizzlies.
Griffiths-Hamilton bring her own and her family’s experiences and operations to the fore in putting together a comprehensive and eminently readable guide for owners and members of a family business as to how to they can ensure the stability and longevity of their business.
Griffiths-Hamilton refers to the family factor and the ‘family enterprise framework’ and repeatedly to building a successful ‘multigenerational family enterprise’.
Only 30% of family businesses successfully transition to the next generation and clearly there are myriad reasons for this. Successful families she says share a number of traits but these traits ‘seemed lost in a sea of unnecessary complications’.
Instead of business governance implying a complex, rigid structure, Griffiths-Hamilton refers to ‘family enterprise framework’ something ‘both flexible and solid enough to allow for sound decisions to be made by future generations ‘which in turn allows your family enterprise to evolve and thrive for many generations to come’.
Griffiths-Hamilton starts with outlining the processes one could or should go through when deciding whether to sell or not sell the business. That of course could mean to the family. But the key thing is to plan – as Griffiths-Hamilton says plan, don’t avoid – ‘If the future ownership of the family business remains unclear, the best and brightest key stakeholders may well leave the business or abandon efforts to prepare themselves for joining it, preferring to align their talents and efforts with a future opportunity they can reasonably depend on.’
A chapter on family offices covers the start of what ought to be thought through when managing the wealth a family has amassed.
This is the sort of book one can read at a sitting or dip in and out of as required. It is almost certainly business owners will refer back to as their businesses and their plans develop, change or come together.
There are sections on ‘hard’ business considerations dealing with conflict resolution, shareholding, shareholder agreements, compensation policies, management structures and there are discussions of ‘soft’ but no less important considerations such as trust, communication and openness.
It’s all here and you know that why Griffiths-Hamilton is a successful business adviser what you are reading are the thoughts and words of a member of a family business – just like you.
The book is available on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Your-Business-Family-Their-Future-ebook/dp/B07C4K7NQ2), and is also stocked in Waterstones and WH Smith. RRP £16.09 Published by Figure 1. ISBN 978-1-77327-053-1.
Small Business has five copies available to give away on a first come first served basis. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org