Rob Ferguson, Founder & Advisor with Ferguson Alliance, Interviewed on the Influential Entrepreneurs Podcast Discussing Family Business Exit Planning

Rob Ferguson discusses family businesses’ challenges and solutions.

Listen to the interview on the Business Innovators Radio Network:

Family businesses often have to grapple with the delicate balance of family dynamics and professional structures. This is because, in most family businesses, there is a mix of family members employed as employees and shareholders. This means that their familial relationship must not interfere with their business relationship. However, it can be difficult for families to separate these two elements and maintain a healthy work environment.

Another challenge for family businesses is succession planning. As founders age or retire, they must ensure that their company has a solid and competent leadership team before leaving. This requires careful planning and consideration of the skillsets needed by future leaders, as well as finding suitable candidates within the family. It may also require non-family members to be employed in leadership roles.

Family businesses also have to contend with the risk of ‘entrepreneurial drift’ when family members become too focused on their interests rather than the business’s long-term health. This can lead to a lack of oversight and poor decision-making, ultimately hurting the company financially.

Overall, running a family business involves navigating complex challenges that other companies may not encounter as frequently. It requires careful planning and consideration of familial dynamics and professional structures. However, with proper management, these challenging elements can be addressed successfully for the business’s future success.

 Rob explained: “Family businesses often struggle with communication issues between family members and employees. In most family businesses, effective communication is key to creating a successful working environment. This means that all family members must be aware of their roles within the business and must make sure that everyone has access to the same information. It is also important for family members to make sure that any decisions made are seen as fair by both employees and other family members. Failing to manage communication issues can lead to mistrust, resentment, and a breakdown in relationships between employees and owners, which can have long-term repercussions on the company’s success. Taking steps to ensure open dialogue between all stakeholders can help address these potential issues before they become problematic.”

Despite the challenges that face a family business, with proper management and communication, these companies can strive for success. Taking steps to foster an atmosphere of trust and respect within the organization will help strengthen familial and professional relationships, which are essential for any successful family business. By being aware of potential issues such as entrepreneurial drift or communication problems between family members and employees, owners can ensure that their company is well-positioned for future growth and long-term success.

Alison Moss Comstock, with Comstock Partners, says: “Rob’s your guy if you have a family in conflict and you want to save the business. He can quickly get to the root cause of disruption in a family-owned business. He brings focus to what should be driving decision-making – often with his very first question: do you want to be a business first family or a family first business? Rob is even-keeled when things get tough, or a situation is difficult. He always has the client’s best interests at heart, and he offers a calm and comforting presence. This work is personal to Rob, you’re not just a transaction, the relationship matters to him.”


 About Rob Ferguson

Rob has been a trusted advisor to family businesses since 2010.

Prior to becoming an advisor, Rob had a distinguished career in leadership – including ten years as a CEO at 2 different companies. One was a public company with $300 million in revenue, and the other was a family business with $100 million in revenue where he successfully managed the restructuring and sale of the company.

Rob has led companies through 10x growth, helped turn struggling companies around, and has conducted more than $100 million in acquisitions.

Rob’s company, Ferguson Alliance, is on a mission to increase the lifespan of family businesses. Rob believes that with the right foundation in place, businesses can live infinitely.

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