Business owners, professional advisors for privately held and family businesses, and educators share their thoughts on the concepts explained in THE BALANCE POINT.

This book is a “must read” for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. It is a practical and easy to read book with wonderful examples of how family business owners work through transitions. Three fundamental points are addressed – the role of family business owners, board members and senior management and how to reach a balance point between them. This book deals with challenges together with alternatives to overcome it. Congratulations Larry and Cary – This book is now part of my “Dantotsu Collection” (Best of the Best).

Danita Bye, Founder,
Sales Growth Specialists

I wanted to let you know that I have been reading your book. I am enjoying your material, experience and your thoughts on working with family business owners. Thank you for taking the time to write a great book!

Agatha Johnson, Wealth Advisor
Prosperity Wealth Management LLC.

This is an excellent book for the owners (and managers) of a privately held business. The book is filled with practical ideas that can help solve real world problems that are common in a privately held company.

David Bromelkamp, President and CEO,
Allodium Investment Consultants

Thanks for sending me a copy of your book. I’ve had an opportunity to look through it. Your notion of the balance point has resonances with one of the dimensions of CEBC’s model of ethical culture which we call stakeholder balance. If I correctly understand your concept, you are looking in depth at the balance between two stakeholder groups, owners/investors and managers. I very much appreciate your focus on clarifying roles and responsibilities. I hope the book is being well received and that it is helping grow your business.

Bob Schoemake, Director Programs and Membership
Center for Ethical Business Cultures

What a great book. For a closely held business, it really explains how to create a system that creates long term value. You can get lots of information from lots of other sources, but very few are as relevant to a family business. Especially, one that is thinking about growth and transition. Great job.

Patrick Duininck, Owner and President,
Royal Tire, Inc.

“This book saved me 20 years of research and experience.”

As an Organizational/Business coach based in Australia, I was excited by every page and chapter of Larry and Cary’s book. Working with SME’s (Small to Medium Enterprises) which by definition have Entrepreneurs as the driving force; I was finding the challenge of having Entrepreneurs engage with any Governance process such as a board of directors most frustrating and often impossible to implement. Since reading the book and understanding The Balance Point as a concept, I now find myself working WITH the entrepreneur rather than going against the grain. Congratulations Larry and Cary I am sure you are the vanguard of a new way to work with Family style business!! Thanks… as mentioned you have saved me 20 years of mistakes; tapping into your experience will make me a more effective business coach immediately.

Wayne Bubb, Managing Director and Senior Coach
Business Coaching Systems, Perth, Australia

THE BALANCE POINT is as much a “How to” on small business growth, control, and succession as it is about Boards of Directors. Boards of public companies is a model that simply won’t work for a closely-held or family business, which is what almost all growth-based entrepreneurial firms are. If I were still teaching Entrepreneurship in graduate school, as I did for ten years, this would be required reading.

Norm Stoehr, Founder,
Game Changer Negotiating

I read THE BALANCE POINT and found it helpful in understanding my role as an advisor on family farm boards.  I marked your comments on the “Board of One” on page 30.  This was useful to me in working with farm clients.  The “Board of One” concept seems to apply quite often in my engagements with farm clients in helping them to understand their future role with the farm. Being the “balance point” keeps them involved and makes them feel more accepting to the transition process.

Joe Kluender, Family Business Advisor
FarmFamilyDynamics, LLC

Their ideas are a real paradigm shift. People are used to the idea of boards that give advice to company management. This book will help owners understand the role of true directors, who balance the needs of the owners with the needs of the business.

Jim Burns, President
Burns Engineering

This book should be a terrific guide for all business owners.

Dianne Wilson Carlson, Owner
Wilson Tool International Inc.

This book should be a must read for owners and managers of any closely held company who want to minimize the significant risks associated with transitions among owners, managers, and family. A long-time client of mine has implemented many of the concepts presented by Cary and Larry. It is not an exaggeration to state that their approach has been life changing for the owners and nonfamily management of this highly successful manufacturing firm over the last five years. Among other things, the founder/owner/president/CEO/board chair evolved from [relying on] a strong board of advisors to an even stronger board of directors, hired a nonowner president, and is genuinely and comfortably pulling away from the business and recognizing the board as a true balance point between the business and the owners.

Orie Beucler, Business Consultant, CPA

THE BALANCE POINT offers practical guidance on a much deeper level than other books intended to help businesses in transition. This book explains what owners, managers, and directors need to learn to navigate transitional issues successfully.

Abigail Barrett, National Business Consultant/Owner
Leadership Transitions Inc.

I am halfway through THE BALANCE POINT and it is one of those rare texts that is a guide to real, practical action. Well done.

Anthony Keating, Executive Director, Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland

I learned that when I separate the roles of owners, board members, and management, I open up the possibility for my children… to continue to own this company.

Tom Schlough, Owner and CEO
Park Industries Inc.

Brilliant! Using the owner, board, management model with my business clients has met with resounding sucess. The authors have created a unique and in-depth relationship of accountability that points the way to smoother and more sustainable transition planning. Using this model, the family buiness can navigate the transition waters with a clear and exciting long-term plan.

Iris Cornelius, Ph.D., Consulting Psychologist
Cornelius & Associates, LLC

THE BALANCE POINT provides a fresh and thought-provoking perspective on the role of boards in private businesses. The enterprising angle from which the authors approach the subject creates exciting alternatives for business owners who have sometimes discounted the importance of process and governance. The book provides keen insights into the unique challenges business owners face; more importantly, it presents numerous examples of pragmatic solutions.

Ann Kinkade, Director
Family Business Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison

The Balance Point concept changes paradigms by recognizing the obstacles for family business that are as predictable as they are permanent.  It defines a system that can fairly and genuinely accommodate the challenge.

John Vamos, Founder
Business Coaching Systems, Sydney, Australia

The alternative board structures provide owners with practical information to help them put together and train a board that works for their unique situation rather than solely on a “one size fits all approach.”

Glenn Ayres, former President of the Family Firm Institute and
Business Consultant with Doud Hausner & Associates

The clarity in describing the problems and solutions is a welcome relief and will be a great help to readers. THE BALANCE POINT doesn’t shy away from the difficult issues, but offers pragmatic ways to solve them.

Marilyn Mason, Ph.D.
National Consultant and Noted Author

As a former practicing business and estate planning attorney, and current family wealth planning professional, I have helped closely held and family business owners work through transitions for most of my career. It is important to understand, that despite the best efforts of talented professionals, statistically 2/3 of all family business transitions fail. Why is that? In my experience, it is because much of the decision making processes for these businesses occurs within the entrepreneur’s mind, and there is a lack of structure and process for decision making when ownership is transitioned to multiple people or ownership and management are transitioned to different people. Add in some challenging family dynamics, and you have a recipe for disaster. What the authors have developed is a framework and process for decision making that entrepreneurs can understand and feel comfortable implementing, while at the same time, enabling family members and managers to understand their roles and responsibilities and operate together productively. The concepts presented are forward thinking and years ahead of their time. This book has literally challenged me to re-examine and refine every aspect of my professional practice. Highly recommended!

John Barone, Senior Director of Planning
Wells Fargo Private Banking

Thank you again for writing ‘The Balance Point’. It’s an excellent resource for any family enterprise that is serious about governance as well as their advisors ~ Regards

Douglas D. Box, MA, MB,
Box Family Consulting, LLC

Based on our recent meeting, and your presentation at the MSBA, I purchased your book and read it. I have found it very helpful in my work as a family director and attorney in advising closely held businesses. In fact, I think it is one of the most practical and helpful resources I’ve seen on the topic.

Todd Aldrich, Attorney
Soffer Charbonnet Law Group

As you know, I have used your Balance System for the past several years.  You may recall that I am a trustee of a trust that owns a business with about $60 million in revenue. I am also on the board of that company. As the technical “owner” of the business, I needed to make sure that there was a proper balance between the interests of the beneficiaries of the trust as the “true owners”, the trustee representing the income and remainder beneficiaries, the Board and Management.

After reading your book and some of your articles on these matters, I drafted an Owner Plan to make clear the needs and expectations of the owner as to the business’ future.  Then I shared that with the Board and Management for their input, questions and clarification. This led to an excellent discussion and understanding between the three parties and preceded the final draft of the plan. We have had this in place since 2006 with some revisions during that time. It has been a great tool for decision making during the good business years, the Great Recession, and the slow recovery years since then.

So thank you for sharing your system with me and helping me in the drafting and implementation of the Owner Plan for the company.

E. Thomas Welch, Manager, JD
Palisade Asset Management

FFI Practitioner
Volume 5, August 2009

In an economy full of chaos and uncertainty, The Balance Point by Cary Tutelman and Larry Hause offers structure and insight to assist family businesses as they navigate through this transition by providing a step-by-step process for developing a healthy, high performing governance system. Clearly defined governance processes and structures can infuse confidence and wisdom into any family business system. The Balance Point, itself, provides the structure and guidance that owners and their advisors need.

The murky waters of a family business system which lacks both structure and an understanding of the roles of ownership, management, and the board can yield substantial obstacles for any business. Combined with the emotional component of a family in business, these obstacles may be impossible to overcome: witness the fact that nearly 70% of family businesses fail to transition from one generation to the next.

The Balance Point is a practical how-to guide to help family owned businesses overcome these obstacles. Tutelman and Hause employ real-world case study examples, easy-to-understand diagrams, and detailed observations to describe why some family owned businesses succeed while others do not.

This book will be a valued resource for any owner or advisor who works with family businesses. The authors focus solely on the family-owned, privately held businesses. They accurately assume that not all owners or advisors understand the ideal characteristics and responsibilities of each component in a family business governance structure. As a result, they start with “the basics.”

Chapters 1-7 define and describe the essential duties of each component of the governance structure (ownership, management, and the board) in great detail. The authors provide clear, relevant examples which highlight the essential roles of each component of the governance structure as well point out common pitfalls.

As the reader moves through each chapter, the topics smoothly evolve into deeper complexity and detail. For example, in chapters 8 and 9 the authors provide examples of how to ideally structure a board based upon a variety of variables that often arise within the family business, while chapter 10 offers further detail by highlighting the critical responsibilities of the board chair.

In chapter 11 Tutelman and Hause address advisors who work with family-owned and privately held businesses. They offer guidance and concepts for family business advisors from any discipline to consider while engaging in their work within a family business.

Overall, The Balance Point’s primary focus is to help the reader learn how to successfully integrate the values, needs, and goals of ownership with the values, needs, and goals of management. The authors contend that “understanding The Balance Point is key to running a successful business, and transitioning the balance point is key to transitioning the business successfully.” (Page 3). Tutelman and Hause suggest that an effective board is the balance point. If the governance of an organization is properly educated on the ideal roles and functions of ownership, management, and board, the board will integrate – balance and align – the values, needs, and goals of ownership and management. This requires that the board members have the right knowledge, skills, and abilities to insure that the board is capable of supporting the organization at the balance point.

The Appendix includes guides and worksheets that can be used by advisors, owners, or other members of family business to steer transitions. The appendices and worksheet topics range from the guidelines and questions to develop an “ownership plan” to worksheets that can be used to “evaluate board members.” Advisors will find this immediately useful in their practices.

Many of us who work within the family business field understand that trust and respect within a family-owned business is an essential ingredient required to produce a healthy family and business. One path to increasing trust and respect within a family business is to have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. While Tutelman and Hause reinforce this idea by stressing the importance of understanding the unique roles and functions of each aspect of governance, they provide a valuable template to assist the development of governance structures that balances the values, needs, and goals of each aspect of leadership. Finally, The Balance Point fills a gap in the family business consulting literature by deepening the knowledge base of how family business governance can optimally function. It will serve as a much-referred-to resource for advisors and owners alike.

Dr. Justin Anderson. Psy.D.
JSA Advising

The Balance Point Review – Family Business Magazine SUMMER 2009 TOOLBOX

by Barbara Spector, Editor-in-Chief

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