Our advisory work is premised on the belief that issues of ownership, family, management, and governance are normal developmental hurdles all entrepreneurial enterprises face.

Our multidisciplinary teams approach each engagement in individually tailored, developmental phases to resolve business problems that growth and change can generate, while we attend at the same time to the particular needs and dynamics of the families who own or control these enterprises. As a result, each of our customized engagements yields a refreshing spirit of innovation and an entrepreneurial vigor that incorporate a nuanced understanding of our clients’ corporate culture as well as their founding families’ principles.

We generally approach an engagement in the following phases:

Phase I

  • We conduct a comprehensive assessment of both the business and the family through individual interviews of all family members in the business (including spouses) and key non-family executives and long term professional advisors, as well as other due diligence.
  • We create a written report of our findings and recommendations.
  • At a report meeting that occurs approximately two months after the start of the engagement, we meet with the family to deliver our recommendations.

Phase II

Once the critical issues have emerged through the Phase I assessment process and we have issued our recommendations, we begin the implementation phase, which includes custom designed strategies for the business along with forums for the family to address its communication needs and other issues.

In this phase, we also begin the complex process of continuity planning, a holistic planning and implementation process encompassing at least seven independent, concurrent planning activities led by several different primary professional advisors. Continuity planning includes:

  • Facilitation to resolve existing and foreseeable family relationship issues
  • Personal financial, tax and estate planning
  • Corporate strategic planning
  • Development of both corporate and family governance
  • Design of financial architecture appropriate for funding both corporate strategic plans and controlling family/shareholder needs

There are some families for whom additional phases of work evolve as a natural consequence of previous or ongoing collaboration or as a result of new opportunities or challenges that the families or the businesses encounter.

International Case Protocols

There is one basic modification to our firm’s work with family controlled enterprises located outside the United States. In order to accommodate the reality that not all members of the family engaged with the business enterprise will have had the opportunity to meet the Narva & Company consultants prior to our initial visit, we reserve the rights of the family and of our firm to hold judgment on whether to undertake a continuing engagement until an initial visit by our advisors. As an acknowledgment of the time, cost and rigors of international travel, we encapsulate all of the assessment interviews and due diligence into one visit to the client’s home country. This fixed fee based initial visit is usually completed in one week. At the outset of the meeting we gather the family stakeholders and outline the process for the week. At the end of the week we convene a family meeting akin to the report meeting conducted at the end of a regular assessment phase engagement. We deliver a letter report on key issues to the family stakeholders and offer a road map to a continuing engagement.

Much like a regular assessment, the letter report and the family meeting are two deliverables that offer real value to the client. But as with all our firm’s assessments, there is no continuing obligation of the family to continue working with Narva & Company at the end of this first week unless the client family shareholder control group decides to proceed further based upon their experience with our initial visit and the content of the letter report.

If the decision is to continue, then ongoing consulting arrangements are negotiated that makes sense under all the circumstances of the engagement.