Value the path
So many business owners are driven by successful outcomes, but in planning for family business wealth, the process itself can yield significant returns because the journey can lead to values and answers that might have been otherwise elusive.
Secure appropriate advisers
Advisers who find this work challenging and rewarding are key to making the process work. Successful families find advisers (e.g., attorneys, accountants, consultants, psychologists) who love this work and enjoy working together to find creative solutions.
Without a core set of values to drive big family decisions, even small decisions become difficult. Successful families develop and document these values in a family constitution that can help guide the family for generations.
Adopt a governance structure
Some families find outside boards useful for their businesses, while others use family meetings and councils to build a strong family team. Whatever structure is adopted, some structure is critical to lasting success.
Utilize available resources
Many, many families are going through this process and can learn from each other. The University of Wisconsin Family Business Center (http://fbc.wisc.edu) and the Family Firm Institute (www.ffi.org) are two organizations that can provide valuable resources and support.