Profit and losses are important yet, in a family business, dollars and cents issues may not be the prime drivers of decisions. Family needs such as succession, appearance of fairness to siblings or relatives, or meeting the needs of its community all have a meaningful role in these unique companies.
Closely-held companies are as much an extension of the owners as are the products/services they sell. Legacy issues, long term and deep ties to customers, vendors or employees can help or hinder a company as it looks for success.
We are sensitive to these needs and have a long track record of positive results. And these businesses go through a natural growth and maturity that benefits from professional management advice. We are able to get clients to shift their focus to less emotionally loaded issues, provide solid analysis and move quickly to get results.
The need for and value of the Independent Director has grown as financial markets, business and regulations have evolved. It is increasingly common for senior or junior lenders to have the ability to require an acceptable Independent Director on a borrower’s board. Shepherd’s consultants can step into that role, provide useful guidance to management and insulate these outside parties from excessive or improper involvement in their borrowers’ business.
This role requires substantial business experience over time and situations. One benefit of working with Shepherd is that its people, and Tony in particular, have filled executive and board roles on numerous occasions. We know our actions must withstand intense scrutiny and clearly serve the best interests of the client.
No matter the reason, when a business needs an Interim Executive, it must work with a seasoned leader who has been in that role before. And that leader must have the demonstrated competence in the situation the business is facing. Often this means experience in the ‘zone of insolvency’, bankruptcy, receivership, or creditor default. Tony has filled the Interim Executive role; as President, Chief Restructuring Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Receiver or Chairman 15 times in 25 years.
An unhealthy business may be sold over the course of a year but needs someone to turn it around so the owners, lenders or creditors get the best recovery. Lenders are understandably hesitant to rely exclusively on existing management for this turnaround and sale. We know the demands of these transitional situations. They require confidence, leadership, a bias to action and speedy execution.
We are often asked to provide Business Assessments. This 2-4 week activity covers Sales, Operations, Finance and Management and is useful for many parties. In particular, borrowers benefit when lenders are provided a third party view of the business and its viability. Without such insight, lenders are often inclined to stop lending or ratchet down advance rates to protect their position. Shepherd can provide a perspective on a borrower’s viability which often leads to a constructive course for both the borrower and lender.