Ownership & Leadership Transition

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Family Business Succession Planning: Learning from the New York Times

On October 19, 2016, Arthur Gregg Sulzberger was named deputy publisher of the New York Times, paving the way for the fifth generation of the Ochs-Sulzberger family to lead the family enterprise. He was one of three cousins vying for the position and his appointment concluded a long and careful process designed to ensure a smooth succession from the fourth to fifth generation.  An important factor in his being chosen ...Continue Reading

Washington’s New Trustee Delegation Law: Allowing Fiduciaries to More Easily Keep Businesses in the Family

The Non-family CEO in the Family Business

Top Washington Winery Looks to Next Generation

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

Who Owns the Family Name?

Governance & Business Operations

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Consider The Risks Before Electing S Status For Your LLC

Family-owned businesses are often formed as LLCs.  For federal tax purposes, an LLC with two or more members is treated as a partnership unless it elects otherwise.  Income earned by a partnership is not subject to a separate entity-level tax under federal tax laws.  Rather, net profit or net loss of the partnership passes through to its partners who must report their respective shares on their personal tax returns.  It ...Continue Reading

Success in Succession: Using Strategic Planning to Address the “Missing Middle”

Three Governance Myths at the Family Farm

The Importance of Leadership Training Outside the Family Business

Perils in Family Business Succession: Dynasty or Meritocracy?

Separate but Equal

Growth & Exit Strategies

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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

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Nurturing Entrepreneurs: Raising Kids in the Business

Ever wonder how to increase your children’s chances of becoming an entrepreneur? Raise them in the family business, according to one study cited by Onstartups, which found that 48% of entrepreneurs grew up in a family business. Some become entrepreneurs because they’ve seen family members do so successfully. Some don’t so much choose entrepreneurship as it “chooses” them – a serendipitious idea or transition from freelance to a successful business. Check out this ...Continue Reading

Upcoming: Family Business Programing in the Northwest

Coming Up: Seattle University’s Family Business Exchange

Reflections on Selling the Family Business

(Not) All in the Family

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