Archives: Governance & Business Operations

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How a Family Council Re-engaged Owners & Benefited Management

What is a Family Council and why would owners of a family business find the effort and time to form, organize and operate one worthwhile? To explain how the Family Council can operate and why it could be beneficial, this short article presents an example from a recent engagement with a client (identities changed to protect confidentiality).

First of all, a Fa… Continue Reading

Philanthropy and your Family Business

More and more family owned businesses, from the largest to the smallest, are engaging in philanthropy. Many family businesses use philanthropy as a way to develop and commit to fundamental family values for current and future generations; publicly express the values of the family business, support the community, and benefit from the attendant reputati… Continue Reading

Donate Publicly Traded Stock to Charity Instead of Cash

Computer key showing the word DONATE

Due to the general success of the stock market in recent times, many people are currently carrying appreciated stock as part of their balance sheet. Individuals who are charitably inclined and looking to make donations to a tax-exempt organization should consider using this appreciated stock from their portfolios instead of cash, as the tax savings can b… Continue Reading

Governance 101

The governance system for a family-owned business provides the structure through which the objectives of the owners and the company are set and the means for monitoring performance against them is established. This system balances the interrelationships among the family, the owners of the company, the company’s board of directors, and its managemen… Continue Reading

To Sell or Not to Sell, That Is the Question

money for startup, start capital for business concept

This market offers family businesses a multitude of alternatives to selling your company.

You are a family business owner. You continue to see the stock market appreciate, and you read about M&A activity and valuations being at a cyclical high. You likely have a number of friends who have sold their business, and hear from them about the available finan… Continue Reading

Every CEO’s Challenge and Obligation: Embracing Innovation as a Requirement of Leadership

In a brief piece for Strategy+Business titled “Business Leaders as Catalysts for Change,” Bob Woods recently interviewed George Oliver, a man with leadership experience as a senior executive at Johnson Controls, Tyco, and GE. Mr. Oliver talked generally about the changing role of the CEO in modern companies, but particularly highlighted the need f… Continue Reading

Changes to Partnership Audit Rules: What You Need to Know

While many of us were preoccupied with the sweeping “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” passed into law in December 2017, a less publicized change in tax law went into effect on January 1, 2018. For those family-owned business that operate as limited liability companies or partnerships, this is important news for you. The IRS is substantially changing the rules on a… Continue Reading

Protecting Your Family Business Name and Brand Internationally

The trademark laws of the United States provide businesses with significant advantages in protecting their brands, even without perfecting those rights with the state or federal governments. This is because the United States trademark law confers trademark rights based on use in commerce, meaning in many situations unregistered rights can be used as e… Continue Reading

Three Lessons Gleaned From the Wright Sisters for Strong Family Owned Businesses

Family businesses are fraught with challenges, but those challenges need not overshadow the benefits of maintaining a strong and successful family business. According to the Wright sisters, owners of an event production, design, and management firm in Los Angeles, there are a few important tips to consider when starting a family business.

First and for… Continue Reading

Four Reasons for Creating a Thoughtful Shareholders Agreement

Meeting of shareholders of company illustration

A thoughtful shareholders’ agreement can be one of the most valuable tools a family business has. It can serve several purposes. A few of the easy ones are:

Restrictions on Transfer. A shareholders’ agreement—or similar document—can place appropriate restrictions on transferring shares, particularly transfers outside of the family. It can d… Continue Reading

Succession Planning – Start Early and Revisit Regularly

Man placing adhesive notes onto window

Ross Henry, a client advisor at Laird Norton Wealth Management, recently published an excellent article entitled “Succession Planning is a Process, Not a Project.”*

While noting how critical succession planning is to a family and its business, and how easy it is to put the process off, Ross identified the three main components of succession planning… Continue Reading

Joshua Green Corporation: Nominee for Family Business Legacy Award by Seattle Business Magazine

Congratulations to our client Joshua Green Corporation on being nominated for the 2017 Family Business Legacy Award by Seattle Business Magazine. Davis Wright has had the honor of representing the Joshua Green Corporation for over 25 years.

Joshua Green Corporation had its beginnings in Washington State in the 1890s. It was actively involved in the fo… Continue Reading

Tax Reform – Good or Bad for Family-Owned Businesses?

At this point, no one knows exactly how or when changes to federal income tax, gift tax and/or estate tax will occur. What we do know now is that what has been proposed so far is likely not going to be the final product. So, stay tuned, but do not stop or delay your succession planning efforts. Instead, focus on your long-term vision and build flexibility into your … Continue Reading

Sibling Rivalries: Turning Competition into Collaboration When it Comes to the Family Business

Running a family business can from time to time strain family relationships.  This is especially true between siblings who may feel as if they are in constant competition to determine who is worthy enough to take over the family business.  However, a sibling relationship does not have to be strained so long as siblings work together to foster a respectfu… Continue Reading

Future Proofing Boards of Directors for Family Businesses

Michael Eisner, former CEO of Walt Disney, said it best that “management is not a science, it is an art.” But, not all art stands the test of time—and the composition of the board, and the way the directors manage a family owned business may very well determine whether that business even exists in the next 10 years.

The masterpiece that can be a family owne… Continue Reading

To Sell or Not to Sell Your Business? That is NOT the Question

Business buyouts are red hot, and pricing is back up to where it was before the Great Recession, thanks to cheap financing and a stronger U.S. economy.  The fact is that this market won’t last forever.

Feeling the pressure to exit?  That’s understandable, especially if you’re presented with what looks like an incredible deal.  But we suggest you t… Continue Reading