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Navigating an Informal Succession Process in Your Family Business

Bill Emerson joins Michael to discuss his informal transition into his family recruitment and staffing company Emerson Group. In their conversation, they explore what you should consider when creating ownership and succession policies in a family business, why you should formalize succession and ownership rules, why getting outside support for your family business is both healthy and helpful, and how to navigate a family-first ethic while still taking care of the business’s best interests.

Bill Emerson is the president and CEO of Emerson Group. He interrupted his career in the family business to pursue his real estate license, eventually making a return to the family business. Today, 75% of his staff have worked at Emerson Group for 10 years or more.

Tune in until the end to learn:

●     How to gift shares methodically in your family business.

●     Balancing a family-first mindset with accountability in business.

●     How running a value-guided business differentiates you in your industry.


[00:57] Who is Bill Emerson (Emerson Group)?

[03:26] How the family business Emerson Group started.

[04:50] Pioneering work-life balance.

[05:50] Bill’s life before joining the family business.

[09:03] The realization that made Bill return to the family business after leaving it for a real estate career.

[11:44] Gifting shares in a family business: is it the right thing to do?

[14:04] What to consider when creating policies for ownership in a family business.

[16:36] Balancing between family-first vs. business-first mindsets

[18:34] Why you should get outside support when running a family-owned business (and what it’s like).

[21:17] Going from the face of the business to behind-the-scenes involvement in the family business.

[22:48] Running a value-based family business.

[27:07] Bill’s unique professional abilities.

[29:31] Balancing between using artificial intelligence and offering personalized services.

[33:08] Bill’s retirement and succession plan.

[35:06] Advice for running a family business.

5 Key Highlights

  1. Learning business skills at another company before joining the family business is an extremely valuable experience to go through and leverage – this can be done in the same industry or in a different industry.
  2. Being a supportive parent, allowing your children to make their own mistakes, and letting them freely choose their own path can be one of the best things you can do for your family business.
  3. Things to consider when putting a policy for ownership in a family business in place: length of time served in the company, the skillset the family member is bringing to the table, and the exit strategy.
  4. When running a family-first family business it is important to still maintain a spirit of healthy competition and challenge within the business. This will help the business grow and create a culture of accountability.
  5. Having underlying values that guide the direction of your brand helps you differentiate yourself from your competitors in the wider market.

Useful Links

Connect with Bill Emerson: LinkedIn | Emerson Group Website

Connect with Michael Pallozzi: LinkedIn | Get a 401k tip in under 2 minutes (video)

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HFM Investment Advisors, LLC is a registered investment adviser. All statements and opinions expressed are based upon information considered reliable although it should not be relied upon as such. Any statements or opinions are subject to change without notice. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. All investments involve risk and are not guaranteed. Information expressed does not take into account your specific situation or objectives and is not intended as a recommendation appropriate for any individual. Listeners are encouraged to seek advice from a qualified tax, legal, or investment advisor to determine whether any information presented may be suitable for their specific situation. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

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