1st Edition

The Survival Guide for Business Families

By Gerald Le Van Copyright 1999

    Meet the JacMar family: successful, committed, and--like every other business family--trying to strike a balance between their professional and personal lives. The JacMars are a composite of actual business families. As Gerald Le Van follows them from the bedroom to the board room, he identifies the key issues and problems faced by every business family today. Le Van, a highly sought-after speaker and consultant, has helped many business families successfully navigate through times of turbulence and transition. In The Survival Guide for Business Families, he makes his secrets available to the public for the first time. He leads the reader step-by-step through thirty-nine questions that everyone involved with a family operated business must address in order to plan for the future. Designed as a self-help book, The Survival Guide for Business Families teaches families to recognize the emotional and organizational work that only they--and not their lawyers, accountants or financial advisors--can do to secure their future. It gives them the communication and coping skills to get through crises, such as a leadership transition. Le Van shows that business families are not alone in their struggle, and that they can not only survive, but prosper.

    Introduction The 39 Critical Questions PART ONE: THE JACMAR BUSINESS FAMILY 1 Introducing the JacMars 2 JacMar's Business Profile 3 The Family Dimension 4 Restless Successors and Unspoken Opinions 5 Generational Issues 6 The Family and the Future 7 Today and Tomorrow PART TWO: THE 39 CRITICAL QUESTIONS 8 Commitment 9 Keep or Sell 10 Who's In and Who's Out 11 Growing Up Wealthy and Healthy 12 Results Count! 13 Fathers, Sons, and Succession 14 Succession 15 Activating Your Board 16 Reconciling Outside and Inside Shareholders 17 Buying Out Family Shareholders 18 Understanding Needs 19 Family Councils and Family Decisions 20 Key Employees 21 The Community 22 Jack's Dream 23 From Questions to Answers 24 To My Successor . . . Appendix A Lawyers, Families, and Feelings Appendix B Estate Planning for the Family Business Owner Notes Suggested Reading


    Gerald Le Van is founder and managing director of the Le Van Company, a national consulting firm specializing in family businesses. He is an attorney and former law professor with over thirty years experience in estate planning.

    "Analyzes the dynamics of family and business in a way that is easy to comprehend, allowing readers to apply sound management principles to their work." -- American Nurseryman 15 May 2002
    "One of the genuinely interdisciplinary leaders of our field LeVan has patiently allowed his magnum opus to develop through a couple of generations, and like the best kind of entrepreneur, he has the courage, generosity, and wisdom to pass along that intellectual capital to the rest of us." -- Kenneth Kaye, Ph.D. author of Workplace Wars and How to End Them: Turning Personal Conflict into Productive Teamwork
    "LeVan has made many of the complexities of family dynamics in a family business easier for insiders and outsiders to comprehend. His insights have been useful with each of the family businesses in which Sentinel has been involved. This book should be required reading for anyone who is part of a family business whether they are an owner, and employee (family member, or non-family member), advisor, or heir." -- Fort Flowers, President Sentinel Trust Company, Houston, Texas
    "The Survival Guide for Business Families is yet another highly valuable contribution to the family business field. It is precise and pithy, and reflects a wealth of experience in interdisciplinary consulting to family firms. Like his prior publications, his newest book provides significant insights both to family business members and to their advisors." -- Michael Fay, Attorney, Hale and Dorr, LLP
    "Le Van's approach is to tell one family's story, peeling away layers of the onion as the reader becomes more sensitive to key issues... He tells the story with compassion for all family members, as he frankly summarizes their mixed emotions... Le Van provides hope to the reader; others have traveled this road before." -- Kenneth Kaye, Family Business Review
    "... offers a lot of advice and skills to help family businesses avoid some common pitfalls ... Check it out." -- Small Business Opportunities