“Good theories are like maps.
They may not be reality,
but they make reality easier to navigate.”
We are convinced that excellent advice requires not only a convincing personality, broad knowledge rooted in experience and grounded expertise in law, business administration and/or psychology, but above all: a methodologically sound approach to consulting.
With this in mind, as the first consultant to family businesses, Peter May developed a self-contained consulting methodology for use in working with family businesses and their owners. The May Method forms the basis of our work and is an indispensable element of our quality promise.
The May Method is a comprehensive, theoretical system for the consultation of the owners of family businesses. It consists of:
Successful concepts require a simple conceptual base. Therefore I developed definitions for the two key-terms: Family business and business owning family.
Family businesses are all businesses that are dominantly owned by a family with a multigenerational approach.
Business owning families are all families that are the dominant owners of a business with a multigenerational approach.
In 1997, everything started with the development of the INTES principle. It based on the idea that the owner’s task is not only to successfully manage his business. Family Business Owners need to balance the interests of their business, their other assets, their family and their personal goals to achieve stable and sustainable success. This way of thinking became the foundation and the theoretical base of Peter May’s work.
Peter May has explained the INTES-Principle in detail in his books “Lernen von den Champions” (2001 and 2004) and “Der Unternehmer als Chef, Manager und Privatperson”.
Family Business SWOT-Analysis
The three deterning elements of family businesses (dominant ownership, family, multigenerational approach) each bring advantages as well as disadvantages.
The Family Business SWOT-Analysis (2012) identifies these advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it allows the identification of individual strengths and weaknesses as well as specific chances and challenges for Family businesses.
Identifying strengths and chances allows us to create a strategy that helps us to turn them into competitive advantages. Moreover, the identification of weaknesses and possible challenges is useful in finding effective counter measurements.
More information about the SWOT-Analysis for family businesses can be found in Peter May’s book “Erfolgsmodel Familienunternehmen” (2012).
No family business is like the next. Consequently, they all face their own individual questions and challenges.
In order to understand the key issues in your family business Peter May developed the 3-Dimension-Model. It aims to aid your understanding of the uniqueness of your family business in terms of the three dimensions: structure of ownership, governance-structure and business-structure, and you can use this classification to find the key challenges your family business faces.
The 3-dimensions model allows you to create a clean-cut analysis of the current situation and to identify succession challenges at an early stage.
More detailed information about the 3-Dimension-Model can be found in Peter May’s books “Erfolgsmodell Familienunternehmen” (2012) and “The Owner Strategy in an a Family Business” (2017).
The Entrepreneur-Strategy (2001) is a personal concept for the owner of a family business.
It based on the INTES-principle and aims to ensure the highest possible personal efficiency for the individual entrepreneur, in respect to the four main fields of action - business, assets, family and the individual person.
First, each field of action and the overall situation will be analysed. In further steps we will identify objectives, make decisions and agree on a strategy that will allow us to achieve these goals.
More about the Entrepreneur-Strategy you will find in Peter May’s books “Lernen von den Champions (2001 and 2004) and “Der Unternehmer als Chef, Manager und Privatperson” (2006).
The concept of Succession-Strategy (2015) is based on the same logical principles as the Owner strategy.
In order to simplify the complexities associated with succession it is crucial to consider the main fields of actions - business, assets, family and the individual person – as well as keeping legal and taxation issues in mind. Breaking down succession into a four-step process -consisting of analysis, defining objectives, decision making and implementation- further reduces some of the complexities associated with it.
The basic principles and mode of action of the Succession-Strategy are further explained in a paper published in the book “Nachfolge im Familienunternehmen” (Peter May/Peter Bartels 2015).
The aim of the Owner-Strategy (2008) is to ensure that the family deals responsibly with their dominant ownership of the family business.
The concept is based on the preliminary work by Professor Cuno Pümpin as well as the Family-Strategy-Concept that Peter May developed in 1998 and exceeds both of these works.
In a moderated process with the family the following questions are discussed:
Who can be the owner of the business and how do we shape this ownership? Who do we consider a member of the Business owning family and what does that mean?
Which basic understanding goals and values do we have for our ownership, our family and our business?
3. Owner-Business Model
What is our business model and what is the framework in which our family business should be developed?
4. Corporate Governance
How does the family influence the business and how do we shape its governance?
5. Family Governance
What do we do in order to ensure family cohesion and responsible ownership? And how do we ensure that the next generation is well prepared for their future role?
What roles are there? And who should take on these roles?
The answers will be recorded in a family constitution and a comprehensive strategy paper that will also include necessary steps for its implementation.
The basics and mode of action of the Owner-Strategy are explained in more detail in Peter May’s book “Erfolgsmodell Familienunternehmen” (2012).
Adequate Business Strategies, Financing Concepts and Governance Structures
Family businesses are different from other types of business. Consequently they need different business strategies, financing concepts and governance structures.
Structures that will turn their specific strength into a competitive advantage as well as limiting their weaknesses.
In Peter May’s book “Erfolgsmodell Familieunternehmen” (2012), he further describes such structures and concepts.