Business Fundamentals for Family Enterprises

Examine core business and leadership topics through the unique lens of family enterprise


This five-day course provides a comprehensive understanding of family business by integrating key business and leadership topics with family enterprise theory and best practices.

Our faculty will engage you in practical exercises to build your skill and confidence in core business areas (communication and relationship management, leadership, accounting and finance, and innovation), and then apply that knowledge to the family business context. You also will have the opportunity to delve into specific opportunities and challenges unique to family businesses (governance and transitions).

You will emerge with an improved understanding of the overall business and your role within it. You will also be equipped with tools and techniques to manage your family firm’s particular opportunities and challenges.


Course Format

Business Fundamentals for Family enterprises is a fast-paced, highly-interactive, five-day course. It combines instruction on core business and family enterprise concepts with family business case studies, small group projects, and experiential learning activities. In blending theory with applied, skill-building exercises, this course equips you with specific business and leadership strategies that can be immediately applied within your family business.

Core Teachings & Takeaways

During this five-day course, our award-winning faculty and subject matter experts will explore each of the following topics, supported by a leadership coach with family enterprise expertise to tie it all together:

Introduction to the Family Enterprise

  • Identify who you are in connection to the family enterprise

  • Examine the three systems of business, family, and ownership, how they interact, and how to minimize overlap and confusion

  • Consider the benefits and costs of family ownership

  • Use core family enterprise concepts to frame your thinking and develop a common vocabulary

Communication & Relationship Management

  • Identify your preferred working and communication styles and how they impact those around you

  • Recognize the effectiveness and importance of regular feedback in family enterprises

  • Uncover how to use true coaching and active listening as powerful tools for communication and people development

  • Discover how to approach and manage conflict in a healthy and productive manner

  • Discover how your personal values can help drive you to lead others

  • Develop your leadership style and brand while taking cues and insights from other sources

  • Explore family business leadership expectations and how to avoid common leadership pitfalls.

  • Identify and strategically increase your human energy capacity (physical, mental, and emotional)

Accounting & Finance Fundamentals

  • Recognize and identify the purpose of common financial statements

  • Uncover the basic assumptions and principles used to prepare financial statements

  • Identify and appreciate the different needs that various users of financial statements have, and the decisions they make using those statements

  • Use ratio analysis to analyze a firm’s financial strengths and weaknesses and identify trends or unexpected financial relationships

  • Improve your ability to communicate with accounting and financial professionals


  • Identify core innovation opportunities and challenges in family enterprises

  • Consider current trends and best practices in building strategic innovation within family businesses

  • Apply strategic innovation processes, tools, and resources to the family business setting

  • Consider team innovation in the family firm

  • Explore the unique role of intrapreneurship in family enterprises

  • Discover your own intrapreneurial style and goals

  • Build your creative profile

Family & Business Organization

  • Identify the importance of establishing solid governance structures for the family and the business

  • Analyze the role of impartial boards and external board members

  • Acquire concrete tools and structures used in family business governance

Managing Transitions

  • Discover different types of transition models

  • Identify different perspectives of family business transitions, and recognize the impact of those perspectives across generations within a family firm

  • Appreciate the need for a clear and impartial transition process

  • Distinguish the iterative testing process underlying transitions

This course does not require any prior leadership or business training.

It is suited to family business members at all stages of business and leadership development, from next generation leaders wanting to establish a solid business foundation from which to develop, to experienced executives looking for a refresher on key business topics and the opportunity to examine them specifically from the family business perspective.

Family members may attend individually or alongside other members of their family.

Enrolment is restricted to members of family firms. For programming suitable for advisors and other professionals that work with family firms, please see the BFC’s Advisor Programs.



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