3 key attributes to consider when choosing a family business advisor

Picture of John Broons
John Broons

John Broons is a globally awarded family business expert. One of only three people in Australia to hold the coveted title of Fellow of Family Firm Institute (Boston, USA), John has dedicated his working career to answering the question: how do I guide and support families in business to a place where they’re thriving?

We all know that running a family business comes with its own set of unique challenges. From succession planning to dealing with nepotism, underperformance, and communication issues, there’s never a dull moment. That’s why choosing the right family business advisor is crucial to navigating these complexities and ensuring the success of your family business for generations to come.  What are three key attributes you should consider when evaluating potential advisors?

Working with a family business advisor
1. Emotional fit

When it comes to family business, emotions can run high. That’s why finding an advisor who truly understands and can navigate the complex dynamics at play is essential. They should be experienced in handling family-related conflicts with grace and emotional intelligence. From disagreements over succession planning to managing delicate relationships, an experienced family advisor can effectively address these challenges and create a smoother path for your family and your family business. With their attention to detail and understanding of your unique circumstances, they’ll become an essential part of your business journey.

2. Skill fit

In addition to emotional fit, it’s crucial to consider the advisor’s skill set. Look for someone with a proven track record of successfully collaborating with professionals from various fields. They should possess the specific knowledge and expertise required to handle the complex projects that arise in family businesses, such as succession planning and family charters. Supplementing your family’s talent pool with specialised skills from professionals like lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors can bring immense value and ensure the long-term success of your business.

3. Cultural fit

Beyond purely business matters, a great advisor understands the importance of your family’s culture, values, and relationships. They should go beyond the surface and establish direct and clear communication with each family member, creating a safe and open environment for everyone to share their perspectives. The impact of family relationships on both the family and the business cannot be underestimated, and a neutral and understanding advisor will help your family work through these issues and build a stronger foundation for your business.

Taking the time to carefully evaluate potential family business advisors based on these attributes will ensure a successful partnership that propels your family business towards growth and sustainability. Remember, the right advisor is not just a partner in your business journey, but also an invaluable source of support and guidance for all members of your family in business.

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