Has the Market for Family Business Consulting Changed?

Business Leader Post, April 11, 2013

Thomas D. Davidow, Ed.D.

Yes. The economic downturn stung family businesses as much as any other business. As a result, family businesses had to become a lot more diligent, not only in hiring and firing advisors, but also in weighing the level of expense against the value proposition.

I have shifted the emphasis of my practice to project based consulting engagements. Project based consulting engagements set goals, set the projected time for completion of those goals, and set the fees attached to the project. If the goals are met, the family can choose to go forward with another set of goals, or they can stop.

Short term engagements can be very effective. They can elicit a strong commitment from the family; get the family out of a crisis; and provide the family with new, more effective communication skills which can then help them address other issues.

The change in the marketplace has been a good thing. It indicates that today’s consumers of professional services are more educated and discerning in their choices. When I shifted the emphasis of my practice to project based consultations, I changed the value proposition. It has worked for both me and my clients. Everybody feels better about themselves every time they reach a milestone or a goal.