No Clear Leader

No Clear Leader. Six owners. Six officers. All related.

As a third-generation owner, Mom had seen her family business evolve from the days when her father, a leading authority on migratory waterfowl, collected exotic birds—a passion he shared with his father who ran a dairy and poultry farm. Since then, Mom, her husband and her brothers have taken turns at the helm building what is now New England’s largest live animal farm. But Mom, who had to quickly learn the business when her husband died, was unclear how she would make a tax-efficient transfer to the next generation while also ensuring continued financial growth for the $5-million per-year business.

“All five of the children had grown up in the business, but none was its clear leader.”

The Heart of the Matter

Who would be in charge? Granite Financial Partners was brought in to help identify the next leader and empower the family to play an active role. Since the business spanned nearly 200 years, we started at its very heart: Each person’s felt connection to the family legacy. Meeting privately one-on-one followed by open sessions in the family dining room, individual family members took turns stating their wishes until everyone had been heard.

The Business At Hand

Identification of a family mission and values was a natural outcome of these meetings. Granite Financial Partners recommended a five-person sibling partnership, helped to establish clear milestones and accountabilities, and transitioned Mom to a mentoring role. All estate planning documents, business agreements, and land trusts were completed and funded with insurance—and contingencies established.

A Family In Tune

As stakeholders each person is clear about the value they bring to the success of the business. As a family they are working effectively as members of a team. The past four years have been steadily the best in family business history in one of the worst U.S. economies. Granite Financial Partners continues to support the family as coaches and mentors and at quarterly business meetings to keep the business on track.