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5 Questions for Family Businesses Looking to Grow

Posted by Tom Garrity on Fri, Feb 7, 2020

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Compass-Point-2020-planning-questions-blogWe’re now a month into 2020. The holiday season is fully behind us and now is the time to enact your plan for the year ahead.

Earlier this year, we launched a new family business operating system called Value Points.  The three main principles of Value Points are building value, unlocking wealth and designing the next chapter.

Use the list of questions below to see how many ValuePoints benchmarks your 2020 plan can check off:

Building Business Value

  • Do you have a written three-year strategic plan? A plan that you've actually done together as a team versus one that was pieced together on the fly, in your head, then dropped on everyone.
  • Is everyone in the company aligned to our strategic plan? Is it crystal clear on where the company is trying to go as a business and what everyone’s role is to get there?
  • How much cash do you have on hand? Do you have “leaky buckets” within the business that need to be plugged up to stop losing cash? This is not an accounting problem – it’s a company wide problem, from customer service to production to shipping.

People & Leadership

  • Do you have all the right people on the bus, all the wrong people off the bus, and everyone in the right seat? Classic Jim Collins here. You need to get this right. No company can outgrow its leadership team.
  • Is your team structured correctly to achieve the growth plan? You may have a great plan but some of the wrong people to execute it. A great tool to evaluating your team can be downloaded here.
  • Is your leadership style holding the company back? The drive and tenacity that started the business may not be what’s needed to scale the business to the next level. Take an honest look at your investment in your leadership team. If leadership is not nurtured, it can stall the company’s growth.

Four Decisions Family Business Workshop

Unlocking Wealth

  • Do you know how much money you need out of the business to live the lifestyle you want? Unlocking wealth is all about creating financial certainty for you as the owner when you're no longer getting a paycheck from the business. Regardless of whether you are 35 or 65, unlocking wealth will only happen in a company that is growing in revenue and value.
  • As the owner, are your personal goals aligned with the business goals? This is critically important to your personal satisfaction and alignment with your leadership team. If there is a disconnect between the two, the business will drift.

Next Chapter

  • Do you know what you're going to do when you're not doing what you're doing now? When you're not knee deep in the business every day? This isn’t the retirement question it used to be. It’s about having the freedom to move from success to significance. Next chapter is just that – what’s next?
  • Are you thinking about a successor? Have you identified who is willing and able to step into that role? Are you already mentoring him/her so they're ready to run the business, and the business is ready for them?


  • Do you have a clear governance structure in the family business? Governance helps you with communication, decision-making and even conflict resolution. A must have for achieving family harmony and keeping family drama to a minimum.
  • Is there a board of directors? This is advisory group should include several non-family professionals who can provide outside perspective, clarity and direction to the business.

So how did your plan do? Where are your gaps? Is it people, strategy, execution or cash? Use the tools and insights we shared to dig deeper and learn more.

The best advice I can give business owners is to confront the brutal facts. This is a proven way to make the important decisions that will move the business forward and grow the bottom line in 2020 and beyond.

Take a first step in your 2020 plan by attending our upcoming workshop for family businesses. The Four Decisions Workshop for Growth-Minded Family Businesses will teach you how to take your leadership team and business to the next level. Learn more and register here.

Tom Garrity is the Managing Partner of Compass Point Consulting, Concannon Miller's business consulting partner.

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Concannon Miller’s unique, holistic and intimate approach to financial health sets us apart from smaller CPA firms with more limited resources as well as mega firms where mid-sized clients struggle for attention. Contact us here to talk about improving your business.

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