Date posted: February 27, 2015

The first in the Victorian Conversation Series for 2015 was held at PwC and set the bar very high indeed.

In the audience was a great mix of family business members, advisers and business people looking for information.

On the stage were two advisers; Sue Presney, a long-time family business practitioner who has consulted and published on her passion over two decades, and Alan Elliot, PwC’s Private Clients Partner. They were joined by two family businesses; Scott Grenda from Grenda Bus Company, who, three years ago, transitioned from the business through a highly successful sale, and Phillip Woodward from Kenelec Scientific, who shared his story of preparing for transition to the next generation where he is unsure about their desires or intentions.


PwC’s Gary Douglas also talked about the SuccessMap Program, which Phillip Woodward has completed with PwC.

The breakfast forum started with statistics from the PwC Family Business Survey 2014 which highlights the high percentage of family businesses that are not having the transition or succession conversation yet.

If a sale is the chosen transition option here are the top ten tips for future-proofing your business and maximising value in a sale transaction scenario:

  1. Take your time
  2. Put family first
  3. Know your buyer
  4. Make yourself redundant
  5. Pay for some housekeeping
  6. Work your EBIT
  7. Leave something behind for the next guy
  8. Protect your sales proceeds
  9. Be prepared as timing is everything
  10. Do your own homework

“The closer I got to the business, the more opportunity for strategy and growth.” Phillip Woodward.

Since we put in place our family constitution, twenty years ago, the business has experienced 15% growth every year.” Scott Grenda. Scott’s theory is that the constitution created certainty and clarity around what every family member wanted from the business.

“The things a potential buyer would mark your business down on, is the value your family is missing out on.” Sue Presney. Sue also talked about converting personal goodwill into business goodwill which values the business better and allows the family to appreciate that value.

Thank you Phillip, Scott, Sue and Alan for a terrific morning: a great way to start the conversation.

The SuccessMap Program

The Victorian Government’s SuccessMap Program supports small business owners and managers to build their business planning and management capabilities and become more responsive to a changing business environment. PwC will work with eligible businesses to assess their goals and objectives, and help them to develop and implement business and workforce plans. Each business contributes $1000 towards the cost of the program (approx. $10,000)

Businesses based in Victoria employing 5-50 full-time staff, operating for at least 2 years, financially viable and committed to growth are eligible to apply for places in the Program. PwC’s specialists will work with your business to undertake a strategic review of the business and assist in developing business and workforce plans. They will also undertake five monthly business coaching sessions to help your business implement the plans and drive business growth. At the completion of these business coaching sessions PwC will complete a final review of your business, focussing on the progress towards implementing the plans and identifying business outcomes achieved to-date. Each participating business will take approximately nine months to complete the entire program.

All applications must be submitted online at