32 Ways To Increase The Value Of Your Family-Owned Business

  • Contributors:
  • Eric Larson
Image of owner of family owned business working in brewery

So you own a family business and are eager to boost its value. There’s just one question – how? Here’s a list of 32 ways to increase the value of your business. Too busy to do them all? That’s fine. Even if you only get around to doing one, it’ll still be worth it.

Think about family

1. Develop agreements around the composition and election of the company’s board, the appointment of the CEO, and the conditions in which family members can – or can’t – work in the business.

2. Institute arms-length compensation policies for any family members who are active in the business. Communicate them to shareholders.

Treating family as if they’re just another employee when it comes to compensation can help sort out lots of issues with employees and other family members.

3. Establish effective governance structures that separate family issues from the business.

4. Have honest conversations with your next generation about whether they want to take over the family business and whether they’re able to successfully do so.

Avoiding this difficult conversation won’t do any favors for your company.


Stay competitive

5. Keep an eye on your competitors. Invest in innovation to stay current and competitive, even if you’ve held the advantage for many years.

6. Diversify your customer base. Having one or two large public company customers send you most of your business is great. Unless they leave.

7. Diversify your suppliers as much as reasonable. This gives you pricing leverage and helps avoid major supply chain disruptions.

8. Be aware of macroeconomic trends and the likely impact on your family business. Plan accordingly.

9. Keep current with the latest trends in your industry and be responsive to them.

10. Update your website, as needed.

11. Add profitable revenue by creating new products and/or selling more of what you’ve got.

12. Marketing has transformed in recent years. Stay up-to-date with new trends and add them to your marketing strategy if appropriate.

13. Build and protect your intellectual property.

14. Revisit and strengthen your company’s competitive advantage. Build a bigger boat between you and the next guy who wants to get into your market.

Download your free exit planning workbook today!

Get creative

15. Clean up your physical location.

16. Keep investing in your brand.

17. Roll up your sleeves and find some basis points in your gross margin by seeing where you can reduce costs.

18. Tell your CFO you need to add 2% more profitability to the bottom line next year; see what he/she can come up with.


Plan ahead

19. Convert handshake deals into signed contracts. Buyers love this.

20. Professionalize your management team, if needed.

21. Reduce risk without harming financial return wherever possible.

22. Put a solid succession plan in place – ideally years before the actual transition takes place.

23. Write out a formal business plan. It’ll help you think through the areas you may tend to avoid. It’ll also serve as a document to help calm the nerves of potential buyers if you’re looking to sell.

24. If one person holds a disproportionate amount of company knowledge, customer relationships, power in the company (or all of the above), start delegating, training, and handing off parts of that throughout the organization.

Otherwise, if that person gets hit by a bus – as Warren Buffett likes to say – the company may die with them.

25. If you have a lot of debt, find a way to pay it down. If you have no debt, find a way to take a moderate amount on. Both will increase your return on equity.

26. Be aware of any risks specific to the geographies you operate in. Tornados? Limited talent pool? Mitigate them where possible.

27. Hire a great workforce.

28. Reduce the number of assets it takes to generate the same return.

29. Collect your accounts receivable faster.

30. Pay your bills later.

31. Adopt generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

32. Enjoy the ride. It may not directly add to the value of the company, but it’ll certainly add to your experience of it!


Have questions about increasing the value of your business? Let’s talk!