Welcome to the future, the year 2021, the start of a decade that I hope will be called, "The Roaring Twenties II." To begin this new era, I want to establish some new goals and procedures for my weekly family business blog, "Monday's Family Business Law."
I started writing this weekly family business blog on March 1, 2020. It has evolved over time. This post will update you on how the blog can help you in the new year and beyond.
Who is "you" and does it matter?
In July of 2020, the American Bar Association published a book that I wrote titled, "The Lawyer's Guide to Family Business Succession Planning." That book is primarily written for the benefit of lawyers and other professional advisors who are already familiar with many legal and tax concepts related to business organizations and wealth transfers.
To balance that resource, I started writing this blog to cover similar material but in a way that would be more understandable to business owners who have technical expertise in their own industry, but not in law. Therefore, when I speak to "you" in the blog, I am addressing the family business owner. In particular, I am speaking to the senior generation owner who is in the best position to apply advice regarding family business governance, ownership, and succession.
However, regardless of who "you" is for purposes of the blog—and I know that locution sounds funny—the material in these posts can be useful to any member of a family that owns a business, even a younger family member who does not yet sit on the board or own any stock.
Why are section headings phrased like a question?
I'm a slow reader with limited time. In my leisure hours, I enjoy reading dense material, like long novels, books about philosophy or the physical sciences, and law review articles. During my work day (or night), however, I like to receive my information in short bursts or in a document that is easy to navigate. I like headings, bullet points, and short paragraphs. I also find the format of "frequently asked questions" to be a particularly helpful way to home in on the information I am seeking.
I assume that "you" and the other readers of my blog are at least as busy as I am, and, therefore, I keep each post short and use short paragraphs, active voice, bullet points, and headings phrased like a question, all to help make the post a quick and easy read. Also, going forward, I will try to phrase the title of each post in a way that will make it easier to find with a google search.
Why should a reader "subscribe?"
I write a new post every weekend, and place it on the blog site before Monday morning. To subscribe, please click on the "subscribe" button at the bottom of the blog's home page and provide the requested information. Each week's post is sent to subscribers by email on Monday morning by about 10:00 a.m. Easy peasy (except a new subscriber might need to check his or her spam filter and "permit" the email the first time it comes), and it costs nothing to subscribe.
The post is usually a two- or three-minute read. The content typically provides a suggestion about how to accomplish family business owners' objectives relating to business governance, family ownership, and succession. It is written from the viewpoint of a lawyer, so the subject matter often is based in the law, including discussions of recent case law or legislation, but sometimes the subject matter strays into observations about family dynamics.
What's new for the blog in 2021?
Like a good business owner, I am going to try some innovations in the new year to see if they improve the product.
● Lighter tone.
When I started the blog, my writing tone was too formal. I'm going to continue to relax the tone so that the posts are more conversational, and less like homework. Also, during the past nine months, I have been reluctant to write anything amusing or trivial because I knew that a lot of people, including family business owners, were struggling with alarming health and economic challenges. I tried to limit my comments to what I thought would be helpful or reassuring.
In 2021, there is a new optimism, with vaccines for the virus, another round of economic stimulus, falling unemployment, and a confident stock market. I am naturally an optimistic person, so I expect that my tone will be lighter this year. I hope we will have many occasions to smile and celebrate.
● Photos of people.
When I started writing the blog, I chose an image for each post from a collection of curated paintings (not mine). This summer, however, I began to realize that these paintings could not convey the range of diversity of U.S. family business owners. Therefore, I got the idea to use photos that I would take of people around my community. That effort has stalled for a couple of reasons, but I hope to implement it when human interaction becomes less fraught this year. In the meantime, readers should expect a few more pictures of my pets.
● More links and other resources.
As a person who works with family business resources all the time, I easily can suggest where family business owners can find additional help or information on the topics I discuss in this blog. Therefore, I will try more often to offer links to reliable resources or suggestions for further reading.
If you want to connect, please message me on LinkedIn and mention the blog or the book.
Thank you for reading. I hope that you and your family thrive in 2021.
Photo Credit: G. Monday, "A Peaceful New Year, 2021."