Chicago Develops Family Business Succession Program


CHICAGO, March 7, 2002 – Family-owned businesses are the lifeblood of our nation’s economy. More than 90 percent of all business enterprises in the U.S. are family-owned. These businesses account for 78 percent of all new job creation and 60 percent of the nation’s employment. However, without careful succession preparation, thousands of jobs will disappear simply because a family business leader did not take the time to plan.

In an effort to protect Chicago’s employment base, World Business Chicago, together with Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development, and Family Business Dynamics, a Chicago-based firm specializing in family business issues, created The Future of Family Business program.

This low-cost, full-service program consists of a series of monthly workshops and individual coaching sessions offering practical guidance and advice for every stage of the family business life cycle. The program is sponsored by Bank of America.

“Family-owned businesses are the backbone of Chicago’s economy,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley. “These businesses and their employees have been a driving force behind our economy’s growth in assets and productivity during the last decade. With the help of the Future of Family Business program, these businesses can continue to operate and thrive.”

One hundred percent of family business leaders need a support program. According to Arthur Andersen’s “American Family Business Survey,” and the University of Connecticut’s “Survey of Family Businesses,” seventy-two percent of family business leaders do not have a succession plan, and only thirty-three percent of family businesses successfully transfer to the second generation.

Nationally, between now and 2005, an estimated $2.8 trillion in company ownership and family-business-based wealth will change hands due to death and retirement. Chicago’s share is in the hundreds of billions.

“Family-owned businesses are, in general, stable and have long-term employees,” said Rob Hoffman, director of business development for World Business Chicago. “It is in Chicago’s best interest to ensure all options are explored in advance, to ensure the long-term sustainability of profitable and stable companies. Unexpected developments, accidents, and illness frequently lead to hasty decisions that ultimately destroy the business, eradicate good jobs, and deprive the economy of skilled and experienced teams.”

Many family-owned businesses fail to survive the transfer of ownership from one generation to the next, due to obstacles such as conflicts between the founding generation and the next, sibling rivalries or the founder’s failure to prepare for the transition to the next generation or an outside manager.

Three workshops are available to help family business leaders work through the aforementioned emotionally charged issues:

Success – full-day workshop providing family business leaders the opportunity to confront issues directly. Succession planning takes time and cannot be successful overnight – one should expect to “plan” for an average of three to five years. Fee is $500 and includes three individual coaching sessions.

Working With Family – half-day workshop focused on solving the problems of family business relationships — succession, bringing outsiders in, strained/damaged relationships, favoritism, etc. Fee is $100 and includes one individual coaching session.

Legacy – two-hour long workshops provide tools designed to help prevent problems before they take hold. Preserving relationships requires total commitment. Fee is $75 and includes one individual coaching session.

Individual coaching sessions set the Future of Family Business program apart from all other family business support programs. Individual coaching provides attendees the opportunity to raise larger issues and tailor what was heard in a prior workshop to specific family issues.

“Bank of America is proud to sponsor this exciting new program dedicated to preserving family-owned businesses in Chicago,” said Terry E. Perucca, president, Bank of America, Illinois. “Bank of America is excited to be part of this public-private partnership and has a strong commitment in supporting family-owned businesses whether they are single locations or corporations with global outreach.”

Accredited family business experts will lead all workshops and coaching sessions. Monthly program sessions are scheduled to begin April 8 and will continue through December 2. Family business leaders may register by calling (312) 201-4506 or at familybusiness@worldbusinesschicago.com.

Program details are also available at www.futureoffamilybiz.com.

About World Business Chicago

World Business Chicago (WBC) is a not-for-profit economic development organization chaired by Mayor Richard M. Daley and directed by Paul O’Connor. WBC leads in marketing Chicago’s competitive advantages, coordinates business retention and attraction efforts, and seeks to enhance Chicago’s business climate by being a thought leader in economic development policy. For more information, visitwww.worldbusinesschicago.com or call (312) 553-0500.

About Bank of America

One of the world’s leading financial services companies, Bank of America is committed to making banking work for customers like it never has before. Through innovative technologies and the ingenuity of its people, Bank of America provides individuals, small businesses and commercial, corporate and institutional clients across the United States and around the world new and better ways to manage their financial lives.

About Family Business Dynamics, Inc.

Family Business Dynamics, Inc., is a Chicago based business consulting firm. The group focuses on the relationship dynamics among family members and the impact those dynamics have on the operations, management, and strategy of the family enterprise.

Media Contact:

Megan Risch

(312) 553-4658

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