Broker Check

Episode 2: How to Strengthen & Grow Your Family Business In Uncertain Times with guests pierre dupont & Dennis Jaffe

What you’ll learn:

  • How can my company and I pivot to flourish now and post-COVID “normal”?
  • What have other family businesses done to survive and thrive during this crisis?
  • Any other ideas that the family should be thinking about during the economic downturn?

Episode 2: Transcript

Michael 00:44

Welcome, everyone, to the family biz show. This episode, I'm really excited to introduce everybody to Dr. Dennis Jaffe and Pierre Dupont. Dr. Dennis Jaffe is the author of four books, including his latest book borrowed from your grandchildren, which was released this year. For over 40 years, Dr. Jaffe has been one of the leading architects of the field, a family enterprise consulting, he's a family business scholar at the Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell University. And since its inception, he has been an active member of the family firm Institute. So welcome Dr. Jaffe, I appreciate you being here. Pierre, I am excited to have you here as well. We have worked together at the upstate New York family business day, which you participated in last year. And really excited to have you here. Pierre is a descendent of one of the Dow Jones original 12. And as a part owner of a large family held retail chain, Pierre has experienced the obstacles of family business ownership through a myriad of difficult economic situations. And we're excited to have both of you here for today's event.

Pierre Dupont 02:09

And now I'm more of an advisor to business owners and wealthy individuals at 30 partners, as an owner of 30 partners where we manage about $25 billion for about 3000 people. We do focus on a lot of business owners, whether it's you know, for individuals, whether it's cash flow management, long term perspective on investing, and so on. But, but after this webinar, if anyone wants to reach out to me, I think LinkedIn is the best way to do it probably works for dentists too. And I would suggest putting in the intro message through LinkedIn that you were on this webinar, because it there have been a lot of people coming in. And I'm pretty wary about connecting too many random people. But I'd love to talk to these folks on the on the call today or others also. So

Michael 02:58

Thank you both and appreciate you joining us today and spending some time with us. We got together briefly to talk about you know what's going on in the world. What's what our family is going through right now? And you know, came up with a handful of questions. And we put them up on you know, we in the app, you know, the invite for this today. And I just want to repeat the questions back out and then we'll dive into them separately. The format will be we'll walk through a question we'll have Pierre and Dennis, share their thoughts and wisdom around it. And then we're happy to open it up for questions from that point forward, and kind of go from there. So the first question, I'm not going to put them in any order, I guess we can talk about them. But how can my company and I pivot to flourish now and during the, you know, the post COVID Normal? What have other family firms done to survive and thrive during this crisis? Any other ideas that the family should be thinking about during the economic downturn. That all of the numbers have pointed to that we you know, we are currently in a recession. So that, you know, when that when everybody's out of work, and people aren't working, it's kind of tough not to be right. So those are the three big questions. The other one that we that we talked about was just, you know, four weeks ago, everybody was in exactly the same spot. It was chaos. And I had a great conversation with a colleague from New Zealand, the Christchurch area, and when they went through the earthquake, they said it was a lot very similar series of events and how they processed everything in the first part was the chaos. How do I, you know, how do I just get electricity back on? Where am I going to live? Where's my, you know, how does this happen? Is my family okay? And getting through the chaos. Then they went into the recovery stage? And how do I get my business up? Where am I going to locate my business where, you know, how is all of this starting to come together, and that started to become normal? And then from there, it went into, you know, the resilience phase, you know, after recovery, it's, you know, we have to be resilient and move forward to build things out, I thought that was, you know, worth talking about, you know, as we as we set the stage for these other pieces, you know, what are you hearing from other families, as we're, as you're talking to them right now, is that, you know, have we moved out of chaos? Or most everybody, are we moving into that recovery period right now, when, what do you see coming up next? And then we'll dive into the questions, if that's all right. Pierre, do you want to,

Pierre Dupont 06:14

I guess I would, I would say to open by saying there's maybe one overriding message that I probably will talk about a few times today on this call. And that is a family business owners typically have a longer term perspective, it's pretty obvious if they've owned a business for 50 or 100 years. I think that that results in some nuances, some important nuances in how they handled the crisis today, among them being that, I think because family businesses are our families themselves, and you know, consider their children in their cousins, their siblings in the business, that they may be a little more focused on the people in the business employees and the people around the business, the communities around them, whether it's the sort of commercial bankers that provide loans to them or, or their suppliers and their customers. And the focus on those communities, I think, has driven people to people who are family business owners to maybe spend a little more time trading carefully and dealing considerably with these people around them as they have to cut things back or, or concentrate their effort or let go of initiatives and so on. So that's kind of the overriding message that I think comes out. And I’ll just very briefly give one example, or point you in the direction of one if you search for a guy named Paul Sullivan. And he writes for The New York Times quite regularly, he wrote on April 3rd, and April 10th, to two pretty good articles on pretty much this topic. And I full disclosure, I worked with Paul to find an interview the people that he did interview, but he really does bring out from several of these business owners, how they have focused on their employees, and indeed, their customers and their suppliers, who, who they may not be able to pay and the customers who may not be paying them, how they've worked, I think a bit more thoughtfully with them than then some other business owners might do.

Michael 08:20

Thank you, Dennis.

Dennis Jaffe 08:24

Well, a couple of things, I want to you know, kind of reinforce, you know, what, what Pierre said, and there are all kinds of families that I meet. So they're manufacturing families and the family that I know that has a restaurant that was just about to open after 40 years, taking a tentative step to open a second restaurant. And, you know, they're just all kinds of situations. And I think the qualities that came up in the 100 year families are the ones that that Pierre mentioned. I mean, the family enterprise is characterized by first of all the owners have a personal relationship. And these relationships mean that their goals go beyond just making money. They're not a bunch of people earning money together, they have other non-financial goals. And they see themselves as connected to a wider community. So they're the definition of whose family is very interesting. In the family businesses, they begin to say, well, so and so has worked for our family. For two generations. His parents did and he did and he is He is our family as well. Family advisors, when I have a family meeting, and sometimes I say, Oh, Jee, you're inviting the head of your family office. I say, well, he's been with us. Since we before we were born. It's really hard to say there's a sense of connection And, you know, the it extends to suppliers and attends to other people in the community. They’re present. So they're not, there isn't a sense of, you know, kind of selfishness that we sometimes, you know, I think not infrequently hear about where you'd like this as I'm looking at my self-interest families are reaching out. And the long term perspective. I mean, first of all, that they have always been frugal. So one of the things that I found interesting is these 100 year families, they routinely, when you ask, how much of the money every year, do they profits? Do they distribute families, you know, particularly when they have a large business, they maybe say, well, we distribute, you know, 10% of our profits, and we reinvest 90%? And so there are, a lot of families and families are not managing on debt and leverage, they're able to deal with it. And they are, and they're thinking about their, their, their employees. So they're, they're doing things like continuing insurance and one rest, you know, one restaurant that we attend, that we love, sat down a note saying, hey, you know, we've tried to retain our employees, but we've had to furlough, some of them and where we're starting a campaign, we're funding a fund for them. And we want to invite the long-term customers to contribute to this. And of course, we did, but that's the way families operate.

Pierre Dupont 11:38

That is, if I may interject, I’ll give you another example of that. I, I'm fortunate to be an advisor to or friend of a number of business owners, and one of them a very large business was exactly as you say, the almost the hoarding of cash, rather than the distribution of cash out as profits, to shareholders. The net result being in this particular case, today, this company has a few 1000 hourly employees not under contract, and they're not in a position, let them go. But they need to let them go. But they have so much cash on the balance sheet that they created a paid time off program for those hourly employees is a very good example. Because they do care about them. And they have the cash because as you said, Dennis, they tend to not distribute quite so much so quickly.

Michael 12:25

Perfect. Yeah. And writing our 2020 insights on family business this year, which it was being published as we were going to the COVID. So it got shelved. But one of the research pieces was, you probably both are familiar with the 2017. The Edelman Trust Barometer, and they did that whole piece on family businesses, and where family businesses have a, you know, an 82% trust factor versus, you know, the non-family businesses, which you know, have a 54% trust factor in their research.

Pierre Dupont 13:10

You need people around them trusting the company?

Dennis Jaffe 13:13

Well, because the family has personal relationships, you don't feel a personal relationship, when it's just a bunch of investors or a hedge fund, how can they build trust with the community, you don't even know who they are, and wouldn't depend on them. Whereas if so, and so has been in your club and member of your church and their kids go to school together? You not only trust them, but you kind of depend on them. And you would be totally aghast if they began to act irresponsibly?

Michael 13:45

Yeah. And one of the things that I’ve been sharing with families, you know, with business family businesses right now is, if your website if your marketing material does not capitalize on the fact that you're family owned, that's a giant mistake.

Dennis Jaffe 14:01

What does that mean, when you say Johnson? Johnson, you know, whatever Johnson company, a family owned business, what does that mean? Is we are responsible, it means we are human. We are physical people that you can find. We've been at this for a long time. I mean, it's a code word for all the things that that we want in a responsible company.

Pierre Dupont 14:29

Right. I would add to that, that kind of trust and that kind of perspective of the long term and treating those around you as family, I think will result in in a family owned business today, maybe coming out of this crisis a little bit faster, a little bit stronger than others because they have been a little more careful with those relationships as they've had to cut them back during the crisis. I think that that that trust factor, means they're likely to bring those suppliers those customers as well. He's back a little faster, because I have those relationships.

Dennis Jaffe 15:03

Let me open up a new, a new avenue, a new theme that we have about this, which is that there's a lot of, there's kind of three things that I say, you know, good, neutral and not so good. And the not so good. One is magical thinking, it's the people that say, oh, it's going to be a strong recovery. And you could all even Google and you'll find someone, they'll say the recovery is going to be strong and quick, right? It's going to be the economy's going to get a really, you know, overreach itself. And so you can be magical thinking and say, Well, I’m, here's an example of Magical Thinking, which would, I'm taking it a day at a time, and I’m waiting to see how things work out. Those are, on the one hand, those seems like reasonable things to say, on the other hand, what they're saying is, we are, we are not looking for anything to anticipate, we're not really thinking about new possibilities. We're not, for example, as some families are saying, well, now we have a great opportunity to, you know, redo some systems that that are obsolete, or we have great opportunity to be looking at, at, at and some new directions we can go in, and families are not looking at things are just gonna go and we're gonna get back to work. Even though even if they do it in a responsible in a caring way. They're saying, we're looking ahead to the next generation. And you have, we may have stockpiled some cash, we're going to now look at some of the opportunities and the families begin. To me the recovery process is not after the you know, the shot, it's something that you begin right now, in your in your shelter in place, you begin to get the family together on Zoom, and say, Hey, let's talk about some of the ideas. Let's talk about, some families are saying, shall we? Is it time that we should be considering selling the business

Pierre Dupont 17:10

At that point of communication? Dennis, I have a couple of comments on that note that I put together here. But before we jump to that, just as an example of sort of not magical thinking, I one of the families I advise, had called me very early in this crisis, while we were talking actually every week anyway. But we'd spoken very early. And in the first week of it, this would be three and a half weeks ago now. The owners had already arranged for and had in shipment, they got it at the beginning of the third week ago, a container full of you know, hand sanitizer, and face masks and temperature, and thermometers, and so on. And they were reconfiguring their factory already able to take care of people coming back. So that was their sort of first instinct, one of the first things they covered, not sort of magically saying, Well, yeah, well, figure that out later, or people will come back, and they'll be just fine. But let's figure out how we're going to protect them first. Right?

Dennis Jaffe 18:09

Right. And another example that that, you know, again, it's kind of a large company, a company that has its manufacturing, all done in China, tremendously profitable, you know, kind of a, you know, 20 year company, manufacturing is done in this wonderful factory very, very cost effective, very, it right near Wuhan. And they were considering they're expanding and ready to open a second factory. And they were looking at, you know, are we going to, you know, kind of make the second factory next door to our Wuhan factory, which would be very cost effective, and they have everything in place, or should we do it in Vietnam, or Mexico. And, and as they're doing it, now, they're saying, Well, we're scrapping plan one, and we're definitely going for plan two, which will be much more costly, but they're starting their, their due diligence process and their design process now, in between Vietnam and Mexico, and looking ahead to the future, and this is

Pierre Dupont 19:19

A long term perspective, given the long term perspective, they're willing to make that investment, you know, short term profits,

Dennis Jaffe 19:27

And they're taking their next gen. They're taking some young next generation people and saying, well, hey, you know, you guys, take Mexico, you guys take Vietnam, as soon as things open up, you should make a trip and we're all going to, you know, we're going to, you know, that's our future. These are the kinds of things that a family business can do that a larger you know, non-family business or unconscious family business are not doing.

Pierre Dupont 19:58

You're talking about community Patients there. And I think that is, as you said earlier, one of the more critical things that family businesses do a little bit better. I'm fortunate to be on to schedule my schedule here two, repeating weekly calls, one. With family groups and owned businesses, one of them I'm kind of part of the family and the other one I'm not, but I'm an advisor. And I value those greatly because the communications that is one case 10, and one case 30 person families are having on exactly these topics on what is the future? Where are we going with this business? What is the you know, even things like succession plan become more focused and more current today. You know, the strategic investments, new countries, as you were maybe pointing at Dennis, you know, where we are going to, we've had those kinds of conversations, and they're very healthy, they should happen all the time, quite honestly. And I think generally family businesses do talk about that more often, then maybe a private equity held or public company might consider such points.

Michael 21:05

Agreed. We've been pushing and talking to people now is the time that doing a SWOT analysis, or a sweat analysis, the difference between the SWOT and the sweat is that you know, the strengths, weaknesses and trends, what are the trends that are happening, and it may be feasible, it may be it may be important to be doing this weekly, you know, because things are changing so rapidly, you know, that you're looking at it. So, you know, spending the time to look at, you know, what are our strengths? What are our core processes? How do we do things? What do we do really well? What are our weaknesses? And then what how do they align with the trends that are happening. And that's, that's pretty important right now. And I think, you know, to your point is that, right now is a great time to be bringing in both generations, making sure that everybody's on the same page about where you're going, so that you're sharing the strategy. And it's not just, you know, being told, here's what we're going to do, but it's, you know, you get everybody in alignment, by talking about these things together.

Pierre Dupont 22:11

I said, a proselytize on that quite a bit about the importance of engaging family members at a reasonably young age. Now, sure, you don't need to bring your 10 year old and do an EBIT DA discussion and a budget discussion, but, but to the degree, you can involve folks that earlier and age and today provides a particularly good point, because I can imagine a 15 year old or an 18 year old, she's got a little more stress, a little bit of extra stress than their parents may have in today's situations. And today's situation so rightfully, rightfully so, exactly. But I think I like to say it as establishing traditions of regular, open and safe communications. And this is a perfect opportunity to do that.

Michael 22:55

Yeah, I want to take what you

Dennis Jaffe 22:57

Just want to say about the 10 year olds. So in these days, the 10 year olds are right there in the next room. Conversations, and they see you, you know, pissed off and, and, and things like that, and you can say, hey, you know, you don't have to worry about that, which is a very dumb thing to say. Because when you tell someone not to worry, that's immediately what they start to do. Now that you mentioned it, I think I am worried. And, and the idea of the possibility of bringing in these kids as part of their homeschooling, let's talk about our business. Let's, let's talk about how this, this crisis is affecting our business. And some of the choices were making. And there are 10, 12, 15 year olds who actually, you know, can really benefit from that, rather than their don't bother me. So it's an interesting

Pierre Dupont 24:03

Example, that Dennis, and that is the sort of charitable initiatives that a family may be doing on an ongoing basis. And today, obviously, this crisis has really brought some of those to the forefront. Do I? Do I pile all my cash into this one initiative to take care of people who've been laid off today? Or do I build it out? Well, that's a very good discussion to have with, you know, a 10 or 12 year old even and engage them, you know, in thinking about not that they're gonna contribute hugely, but it's an opportunity for mentoring and involvement. Today.

Michael 24:36

I always say, philanthropy is the sandbox or entrepreneurial ship with young children. Right. That's Dennis used to I want to I want you said something as you're talking about the magical thinking, and I just want to, I don't want to bring us back to that. But I just want to we talk about the Stockdale paradox, and I don't know if you've ever been if you've if you've heard of that or not, but this Stockdale paradox is worth looking into. And Stockdale was the running mate for Ross Perot for trivia, but he was a Vietnam POW. And they asked him, how you survived all those years with torture, and all the things that you went through when so many other people didn't. And, you know, one of the things he pointed out was the optimists, the magical thinkers died first. And what he said is, the paradox is to hold two different truths at the same time. And then Truth Number one, is that come heck or high water, I will persist, we will persist, we will get out of this, we'll figure it out. But then, you know, the other side of that is at exactly the same time, you have to hold the truth. That right now sticks, you know, you have to you have to confront the brutal facts of what's going on. And I think that today is a really good time to look at that Stockdale paradox and be able to remember and talk about that with your teams. So that, you know, they understand it is tough, but we will persevere. We've been through other things, nothing that's looked like this, but we always survive. Yeah,

Pierre Dupont 26:14

One quote, was, someone I heard was, you know, we've been in this business for 100 years, for 75 years now, we will get through this crisis. So let's figure out how to do it most effectively, and prepare for the fact that there'll be another phase of growth next year, five years from now whenever.

Michael 26:30

Yeah. All right. So when you when you're looking at the families, what you know, we I think we've, we've kind of gone right into the questions that we've been doing. So this is fun, I appreciate it. Other stories or anything that has impressed you, that other big family on businesses have done that, you know, if you could just take those two or three things and make sure that everybody was doing those things? What are the things that have impressed you, as you're talking with people so far?

Dennis Jaffe 27:05

For the things we've talked to one other one is kind of, you know, willingness to try new things, and to say, Let's experiment and more than ever, now, when you're coming out of it, some of the ideas that are coming up, that we could do this, or we could do that are pretty far-fetched and even dumb, but, but nowadays, things are so unexpected, that, you know, really supporting and encouraging family members to, you know, to take to try things out, is, you know, there's less downside and more upside, since the current way of doing it is just not going to survive,

Pierre Dupont 27:52

To allow that creativity. And I’ve seen a couple examples of that kind of open thinking, causing, resulting in sort of pivots in a business and, and actually, this example I was thinking about earlier, this morning dimension is not an example of an internally created pivot, but the openness and willingness to tolerate an externally driven pivot. One of the families I know reasonably well is a supplier of stuff to schools to big school districts, and the typically been buying and sort of $100,000 or $500,000 chunks. Of course, all these school districts stopped buying two months ago that there's no summer programs, they knew that was coming. Funnily enough, word got out that he his business, his family business had been in supply. Quite a few actually, I think at this point, over 10,000 individual parents have come to their website and ordered right being of course, that there's a lot of work there to package things in small $100 chunks, as opposed to the usual, you know, $25,000 chunks and his system was weren't set up for that. But he saw in there an opportunity to create, because he's a parent himself to create something that he's calling boredom busters as a pack, and parents are coming in and pushing that button buying the boredom Buster, you know, and he's repackage myself. So he was creative enough to see a way to take that pivot that was sort of forced upon him and make it into something and I think I'm not quite sure he's gotten up to the equal level of revenue yet but it's a whole new channel is open

Dennis Jaffe 29:23

For the new world. You don't have to be an equal channel of revenue, just getting some revenue and doing something that's useful, has satisfaction and return and the return levels that people are used to are no longer operative in the same way so you know, doing these little things

Pierre Dupont 29:46

I was just gonna say, Dennis, you said it, you know, the creativity and trying things that might be a little bit crazy. That's not something you want to do if it's crazy, but the idea of Maybe you're finding other people to hire or other markets that might become open here, opportunistically to you. And to be willing to maybe give that a try, maybe to have dry powder to do it, but most importantly, to have the creativity in your thinking to allow you to consider Well, you know, I’ve always been thinking about hiring a PR person. And here's some PR people that are sort of out of business right now, maybe I should bring one of them on board and start them with this challenge. So that kind of thinking can be very valuable.

Michael 30:34

A business coach that I was introduced to, and I apologize, I don't remember the person's name. But Dennis, she said, you’re gonna have to be careful that you're not too far out there. And he gave a really good way to think about, you know, how far you should go. And he talked about if you grab your thumb, and that is your core strengths, that's your core purposes, you know, your core, your core processes, this is what you're really good at, you can probably easily go to this, go to here. And you can, and you might be able to go this far away. But when you start getting to these fingers, you're off base, and they don't have the strength that you get from here, they'll be careful that you're not too far away from what your core purposes are. I just thought it was a great example to share with people, it's about thinking through these things. Yeah, you know, how do we, you know, today we do XYZ, tomorrow, we're gonna do ABC, and they're just worlds apart different just because there's an opportunity there doesn't mean to use the opportunity, because you have to be good. It has to be part of your core processes, your core competencies,

Pierre Dupont 31:43

It does, but again, to balance that, Michael, the some folks on business owners get stuck in tunnel vision about what they do, how they do it, the processes they put in place. So be willing to open that to not get stuck in that tunnel vision. But you're saying Michael, don't go too far, does it?

Dennis Jaffe 32:01

Yeah, well, but then this is for one, one person or one business. But if you have, you know, like a half dozen family members, and they have different, not only have they grown up in different worlds, and they've seen different things, and they have different passions, you can do worse than saying, well, that doesn't, it seems far-fetched to me, but who am I you know, I’ve only grown up doing what I do. So maybe you can educate me. And maybe you should really take this seriously. And bring it back as an idea. And, and let's learn from it. And so I think encouraging people to go out, but also to come back with an opportunity to the family. And again, you have a lot of a lot of different new core strengths in the new generation that you may not have thought was were relevant. And now all of a sudden, hey, and I have a lot of situations where the second or third generation had a bigger, you know, kind of innovative idea that even the first and second generation did. And it just happened that the family said, wow, we're gonna we're gonna support that.

Michael 33:17

Nice. No, that's, that's perfect. I just want to take a second there's, we don't have chat features, for whatever reason, they're not up and running. But there is the little reaction button down on everybody's panel, if anybody has a question, rather than opening all 26 up at once, if somebody has a question and wants to pop, you know, put that up, feel free to if you go to the reaction, you can actually

Pierre Dupont 33:44

It appears like mine just did you go and raise your hand. Oh, yeah. But there's also a phone. So if you have a question or a comment, raise your thumb and Michael will unmute you.

Michael 33:56

Agreed. So, Jane, let's see who's got anybody any questions right now? Yeah. Okay.

Dennis Jaffe 34:06

Happy to make this interactive, if anyone wants. Yeah, now, right here. I mean, I'd like to hear if any of you have stories of families that you've heard that are doing interesting and creative, taking new paths during the crisis.

Pierre Dupont 34:27

While you're thinking about those, I would comment that you know, we've talked a little bit about this already but having a longer term perspective but maybe using today as an opportunity to we mentioned before succession planning, maybe cleaning up the business a little bit if there's idle time and not that there ever is as a business owner but you know getting it in slightly better shape for reporting purposes may be looking at what are your objectives is a longer term you've been taught growth are you actually facing Sunday liquidity event? You know, these kinds of questions? Well, worth reconsidering and almost rebuilding a business plan today? While it's changing so much,

Michael 35:06

Agreed, Vera, I’ve unmuted you. Go ahead. Thank you.

Vera 35:10

Hi, Pierre.

Pierre Dupont 35:11

HI Vera.

Vera 35:13

Thank you. Hello, Dennis loved, loved your insights. And I have a question for all three of you actually. What are your thoughts? What is the advice now to families who have been considering an exit prior to Coronavirus? And what's the strategy now to either rebuilt that value or still proceed with the sale?

Pierre Dupont 35:42

Well, that's a good question. And there's no simple answer to it. But of course, half of it depends upon the buyer, you had a thought you had, and your level of engagement in previous engagement with that person or that group. But you know, I, if you have the ability to do it, and you have the long term perspective, I might suggest you try to find a way to carry on, you know, for another six months or a year before you get back into that mode, if you know if that makes sense for you. And if your plans aren't so strongly so firmly built, that you can't, you can't hold them off for six months or a year, because I think right now might be a tricky time to actually go through transition. With all the odd pressure on businesses today.

Michael 36:39

We happen to have a client right in the middle of this. And they had their letter of intent in July. You know, this is a $30 million company. And they it was funny, because for years, I was pushing really hard to get them to professionalize the business and, and add to, you know, their documents and their systems and processes, which were not in place in a manner that was conducive. So when they went into this, you know, letter, you know, the letter of intent. It wasn't, they couldn't produce the financials fast enough every question that they had, and they were behind the eight ball in what they were doing. And it was February of this year, when they said, Okay, we've got enough information. Now we'll go and take it to our lender, the lender had questions. And now here we are COVID hits, it's a real estate rental company. What do you think the buyer said to them, the buyer said, you know, we need you to escrow what we think delinquent rents are going to be Now thankfully, they're just like, you talked about Dennis, they're debt free, they have no debt, so they can weather the storm. And they would be fine. But there was so many things that could have been done in advance to, to avoid that, to have avoided it, they took an air cut, there's

Pierre Dupont 38:19

A bunch of folks that I’ve that I’ve come to know in the business world are, are focused on keeping their businesses in decent shape, from a reporting from an informational point of view. I mean, where are all of your employment contracts? Where all of your partnership agreements, your supply agreements, your land titles, are you keeping the books known to others and properly is held, so if you hadn't been doing all those things, and, you know, as you pointed out, Michaels could take you six months or a year to get those things in shape. But, you know, people with longer term perspectives, sometimes let those things slip a little bit, you know, they get into a comfortable state, they don't quite keep the reporting up as Melville, why would I do that I'm going to keep this business for the next 50 years. But how you run a better business, whether you're going to sell or not, whether you ever intend you if you're reporting if your information is available, and then when the time comes, and you need data. And if you want to apply for one of these programs now out there, like TP Pairs or something, you'll have the information you need much more readily available then.

Dennis Jaffe 39:21

So it's preparing for the option more seriously than you had in the past which is, which is really something that you can do in this enduring quarantine.

Michael 39:35

Yeah, it's in terms of the going through the sale process. I think it's super important that you know, if the family has not professionalize the business, utilize some of this time right now, to start, you know, putting those pieces together and we're big fans of I have a coach. You guys have coached business. You know, business owners, we coach business owners, but I have a coach first, you know, for ourselves, hire a coach and work with somebody, it's always good to have somebody that's not myopic, you know, inside the family business to be able to look at some things, and they may be able to point some things out that you're not seeing right now.

Pierre Dupont 40:17

Yeah, another way of saying that another way of achieving that is just independent directors, having an outside voice, not family, not someone you've played playing golf with, for 40 years.

Michael 40:29

Agreed. And Dennis any

Dennis Jaffe 40:33

One thing that a family is doing apropos of that is, it has begun to put together a council for the future. And they've gotten some, some people that they know that a resource is some even that that they don't know, and because the company is known, and they said, well, we want to convene, you know, I kind of have an idea of for the future and kind of a seminar and they, they're beginning to put that together in the next couple of weeks. And the idea is what kind of opportunities and things do you see for this business? In terms of its future development, given the current realities, and how should we pursue them, and this is going to be a very interesting, you know, kind of seminar. And it will not just be for family, it'll be for family members, but also for the executives, and it'll be a kind of a real learning environment. And, and people will also get to know each other in the exchange of that, and the discussions that that take place.

Michael 41:41

Yeah, it's, I heard from, you know, I deal with a lot of people in the construction industry, and which is, you know, heavily, you know, male dominated for a lot of times, and when I bring up the idea of, you know, the bringing in an advisory board or a counsel to help with those things. It's funny, sometimes the pushback, you get that immediate, I don't want somebody telling me what to do, and how to run my business. And, and I, the flip of that is, when you do find somebody that takes the time to put that that board in there. Every time we've talked to those people, they say it was the best investment that they ever made in their business, regardless of what the cost is,

Pierre Dupont 42:31

You know, that's an example of almost the opposite. Where private equity funded or other sort of non-family businesses might have historically had an advantage in that they do consider outside views more sometimes family members can get on a path, particularly if their father or mother had done the business 30 years earlier. And they're not thinking out of the box as much as they might not looking out of the box. And so advising family businesses to bring in outside advisors, a family council of some kind, it's got independence in it can be can be quite important in her family.

Michael 43:06

I'm going to pause for a second. Any other questions if somebody wants to throw?

Pierre Dupont 43:10

Jason might have had his hand up? I wasn't sure I thought he saw something.

Jason 43:14

Yes, absolutely. Can you guys hear me? Yeah. Hi, this is a great panel. So far, it's great to see you appear 3000 miles away. I mean, I'm in the heart of Silicon Valley in South Bay. And what you talked about Dennis and Michael, about the next generation talk to me, I’ll be very happy to contribute because I'm very privileged to be known. Pierre knows me quite well, as a chief mentor of next gen leaders, especially given a crisis today, the global crisis, it's a great time to really help the next gen. Teenagers 20 Something 30 Something, Gen Z, millennial devoted reflect and ingrain and instill what I call pragmatic, emotional, social leadership intelligence, right? Is really helped them understand digest, instill, integrate, and, and sort of apply themselves to improve their visionary story, their strategic thinking, their execution, the soft skills, right, four cornerstones of soft skills. Yeah.

Pierre Dupont 44:19

Perfect example for that a perfect time to drive those things because we on

Jason 44:24

Critical thinking, you know, kind of problem solving abilities, creativity, communication, there's like sub cornerstones to that and collaboration, social people skills, it's a great time, as well as overall emotional state management. So please invite me to contribute. Right. Or one of our advisory board. Okay.

Dennis Jaffe 44:44

That's great. Well, I think the idea that one of the things that you can do in quarantine, and this is something that, you know, that I'm doing myself is to say, well, you know, reading learning, you know, kind of learning opportunities, I can take them, You know, I’ve been there, I’ve been meaning to read this book, I’ve been meaning to go through this, I’ve been meaning to learn, you know, you know, do a better job on Excel. There's a Personal Learning Plan. And, you know, a lot of, you know, you can, you know, it's not, you could take some time and pick some skills and things.

Jason 45:19

Absolutely. I don't care about my book. But my book is called Young Leaders 3.0. And it really talks about heartfelt stories of successes and failures, and learn from these exemplary Gen Z and Millennial leaders out there. And so leadership 3.0 is something that I speak quite a bit about worldwide. And that is something that especially right now, we depend on the next generation, just to let you know, Gen Z today, it's more than 1/4 of the global population and 7.8 billion people. Plus millennial is already the majority, right? It's you guys. I'm watching Amy Kay. And Vera, you know, you guys love to be kind of millennial, maybe Gen Z, I have no idea I got to Gen Z daughters. And I'm surrounded by beautiful, smart women all the time, everywhere. We you guys saw the future. You're right. So we care about you. We want to take care of you because we want there's a dearth of great next gen leaders out there. That's part of Pierre, why do what I do?

Pierre Dupont 46:25

Yeah, certainly, Jason, as you're pointing out, tomorrow's world is going to have a lot more inclusion of all these other folks that in the past 50 years might not have been so included. Absolutely. And so now's an opportunity even to help further your younger generations in your family to prepare for that too.

Jason 46:42

Right. I'm also on the advisory board of literally for the G 20. The future work and education taskforce in the B 20 with official voice of the private sector business to the G 20. Leaders that are the heads of state and governments. And we put together a policy recommendations, very big on soft skills, right? Get rid of stupid bureaucracies help women help the disadvantaged youth. We're very big on solving the pandemic crisis, of course, right. So we've put together documents that literally get the attention of Trump administration, Modi and President Xi and all these guys. And it's a very tricky process as well. And try to optimize your geopolitics and his social economics and things like that. So I I'm very big on the future of work and education. And that's you guys once again. Okay. Next Generation. Intergenerational multi-generational, diverse, inclusive, blah, blah, blah, trite terms right now, but it's quite true. Yep. Thanks, Jason.

Pierre Dupont 47:46

That's great. Jason. I'm Michael, we have only a couple minutes left, and you want to ask any last questions you had on your list there?

Michael 47:52

I without asking them? I think we covered a whole of them as we were going through this. But I think I think it'd be nice to kind of go through and put some parting words together from each of you. And just any other pieces that you wanted to add to, you know, the discussion, like you said, two minutes left, how can people get reach you? How can?

Pierre Dupont 48:17

Well, I said earlier, one, one good way to find me is through LinkedIn, send me a message via that, that's pretty easy. I'm quite there. There aren't a whole lot of other PR departments out there. So it pops up pretty quickly. I guess I sort of closing statement I might make is many summarize maybe the things we've said, you know, as a family, as an individual, or group business owner, whether you're a family or not. And thinking about the longer term today, professionalizing. The business, treating your communities especially well, will be helpful as you come out of things, if you happen to have sort of dry powder and are available to make new investments in your business or this applies to individuals to do that cautiously, thoughtfully, obviously. But this might be a time to begin to do that. As many of the great businesses in the past 10 or 20 years have come out of this kind of time. So summary a lot of the things we've been saying.

Michael 49:10

Love it. Thank you

Dennis Jaffe 49:12

That as well. I'm easily reachable by email at D. Jaffe at Dennis And I have a website, Dennis Luckily, my name is not so common. And I can buy that I’ve got to buy that website. And I'm available. It's like, you know, I love to hear from people. Jason, I'd like to meet you, if you're in town. I'm gonna get your book. And I welcome exchange with people because I'm sitting here and the only way I can be in touch with the world is to hear from them.

Michael 49:49

Awesome. I would. I would wrap up with saying that the decisions that we make as leaders today will be remembered for years. To come. So, yeah, the thoughts filled with how you're thinking about things, now's the time to go back and review the core purpose of the company, review the core values and make sure that you're sticking to those as you're making decisions. As you as you're going forward through these times, I think it's really important

Dennis Jaffe 50:20

To ask yourself, what can I do now that if I don't do it, I’ll regret it in in 10 years? And that might be a good starting point.

Michael 50:29

I have two last pieces of and we'll conclude for today. But number one is anybody that's in the upstate New York area, we are doing complimentary consultations, we'll sit down and we'll take your team through, you know, any of these discussions, if you heard anything, and we can, we're here to help. We have lots of information about trends and things that are going on. We can do a SWOT analysis with you, we can help you with cash conversions, and we're doing a complimentary we're hit we're here to help right now. That's what this is all about. One. Two next week, just so that you know, our guests will be Dan vanderley. From runs the Cornell family business initiatives. And Tim Melber, who runs el Kamya, the Alchemia group out of Denver, Dan, he's in Colorado, so we'll be doing it at the same time next Wednesday. We appreciate Dennis and Pierre if we can give them a round of applause and say thank you. Really appreciate you guys spending time with us

Dennis Jaffe 51:38

Michal for pulling this thing together. It's really fun, so much fun and so refreshing in these times to be able to think about these things. Thank you for the opportunity.

Pierre Dupont 51:51

You got it for joining.

Michael 51:53

Have a great day everybody.


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