Date posted: June 6, 2017

Family Business Adviser

Martin Tobin
OutLore Consulting

Area of expertise
Family Business Governance

How long have you been working with family businesses?
I was in my own family business, Tobin Brothers Funerals, for over 18 years, before reinventing myself as a specialist family business adviser over 6 years ago.

What’s one of the most common mistakes you see in family businesses?

  • Treating either their family issues (i.e. communication, cohesion etc) as secondary to the needs and performance of the business – in my experience, family issues need to be balanced with business issues, so that both critical organs within the family business organism remain healthy.
  • Those families who try to address highly entrenched, complex and emotional family business challenges themselves, without involving someone independent who all stakeholders like & trust
  • People who make assumptions about what other family members want/think without fully exploring their needs and aspirations


What is your “uh ha” moment with your clients? When they realise…
That mixing money and blood produces a volatile, but powerful cocktail, and that to varying degrees all family businesses have communication & cohesion challenges, that they’re not alone, and that there are a range of proven measures available to help them prosper as both a family and a business. That unless they invest some quality time in working on their family business issues (not in the business itself) they are potentially on the pathway to becoming one of the family business “horror stories” we read about in the papers.