To start restructuring the way our company spends money, who should I talk to?
I'm taking over my family business. We are a small subcontractor and we are doing well now but, as I have seen in the past, the boom time doesn't last. My father seems oblivious to this and I want to take the lead role in setting us on the right track to future prosperity. I need to know what experts I should consult with to develop a solid plan to make cutbacks in spending and how to plan for growth in a keeping future growth and tax advantages in mind.
The planning process works better when you keep an open mind as you set out to develop the plan, but in this case you know you want cost-cutting and that your father doesn't think it's necessary. That sounds like trouble down the road. Wouldn't it be better to get your father to agree to the idea of more planning first, then the two of you choose experts together, and then get the process going? And, if cost cutting is what's advisable, your father will have bought into the process that led to that conclusion. If your father's view is also valid, maybe you'll keep an open mind yourself and also trust the process.
Experts? Contact the nearest small business development center, the chamber of commerce, the faculty of the nearest business school, and any contacts you have who seem to know planning or doing planning right.
Who to talk to? Start by talking to your father. Is it your call or his? Or should you be working together? The difference between your cost cutting and his obliviousness is a serious problem and not one that is likely to be solved by parading experts in to convince him of your conclusion, especially if he hasn't bought into the process that led to that conclusion. This doesn't bode well for your succession strategy.
Tim Berry is the chairman of Eugene, Ore.-Palo Alto Software
, which produces business-planning software,