Ownership & Leadership Transition

Idea Bulb Concept Drawing on Blackboard

The Non-family CEO in the Family Business

In June of this year, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP hosted its fourth annual Farm to Label summit in Portland, Oregon.  One of the programs of the day was a panel mediated by DWT’s Drew Steen on the role of a non-family member executive in a family enterprise. Appointing a non-family member executive can be the step that takes a family business to the next level, but it must be done with ...Continue Reading

Top Washington Winery Looks to Next Generation

Recap: Powell’s Books | The Rise of an Empire

Who Owns the Family Name?

Passing on the Business to the Next Generation: Not for Everyone

Parent, Child and Participation vs. Ownership: A Family Business Dilemma

Governance & Business Operations

cargo freight, container ship in sea

Perils in Family Business Succession: Dynasty or Meritocracy?

Big family business conglomerates can get into big trouble when impacted by negative global market forces.  That’s the story of Hanjin Shipping Co., a family-owned Korean shipping company (and part of a large Korean chaebol, or conglomerate) that filed for bankruptcy protection in late August 2016. But, according to this linked article in the Seattle Times by Youkyung Lee, market forces were not the only cause of the company’s troubles.  South Korean ...Continue Reading

Separate but Equal

Proposed Regulations Would Curtail Most Valuation Discounts for Family-Owned Businesses

Do Securities Laws Apply to the Family Business?

Earn-out Pitfalls for Business Owners

The Next Generation

Growth & Exit Strategies

Funnel flow flat line style concept illustration

Top Ten Seller Mistakes

In his recently published book, Perfect your Exit Strategy:  Seven Steps to Maximum Value, Seattle investment banker Thomas Metz highlights what he sees as the top ten mistakes made by sellers of businesses.  Family-owned businesses are not immune from these mistakes.  We present a brief summary of the list with Mr. Metz’s permission:  Confusing Price with Value. The buyer and seller need to agree on price, not value.  The price can be ...Continue Reading

The Difficulty of Succession Planning

What’s Next: After the Sale of a Family Business

Family Business in China – Is There A Succession Crisis?

Valuing Interests in the Family Business

Deferred Payments and Earnouts – A Potential Source of Family Discord

Estate Planning


Be Careful with Living Trusts that Own S Corporation Stock

In many states, Living Trusts are a person’s key estate planning document.  Living Trusts are created to hold assets during life and then dispose of those assets at death according to the person’s directions (here, we will call the person making the Living Trust the “Grantor.”  Living Trusts thus operate much like a Will, but, unlike a Will, Living Trusts have the benefit of avoiding probate.  This makes them common ...Continue Reading

Succession & Estate Planning Fundamentals for Business Owners

Plan to Communicate

Preserving Your Family Business (or Sale Proceeds) for Generations

Effectively Utilize Your Combined Federal Gift and Estate Tax Exemption

Your Estate Plan – Four Documents You Should Be Considering


Social Media Likes

Social media research reveals insights for retaining top talent.

Successful companies depend on finding and retaining talented employees. Attrition, on the other hand, is expensive. A constantly revolving door means more money and time spent training new employees, makes it hard to build effective teams and can undermine company morale. Family businesses may have a particularly difficult to path to tread in this regard: retaining non-family member employees is a constant issue in family businesses. Even beyond the family/non-family concerns, ...Continue Reading

Harder to Let Go?

The Cowles Company

Does “Hobby Lobby” Apply to My Family Business?

Simple Cafeteria Plans – Key to Keeping Key Employees

Essential Employment Policies for Family Businesses, Part II

Beyond Business

Businessman looking out window

Reflections on Selling the Family Business

It is fall again.  A time for reflection.  In that spirit, we bring you an article published by the New York Times this past summer that describes the lessons learned by owners through the process of selling their family business. In addition to reflecting on the emotional aspects of selling a family business to which the owners have often dedicated their lives, this article contains practical advice that can be implemented ...Continue Reading

(Not) All in the Family

Around the Pacific Northwest: Family Business Events You Won’t Want to Miss

Seattle Family Business Exchange

Introducing: The Family Owned Business Guide

6 Tips for Rebuilding Trust in a Family Business