More families are finding the resources they need to evolve and thrive by connecting with the growing Prairie Family Business Association.
This year has seen strong growth in the association’s membership, programs and resources — with plenty more to come in the year ahead.
We caught up with executive director Stephanie Larscheid to learn more about what family businesses are looking for and how the organization is positioned to serve them.
How would you describe 2023 for the Prairie Family Business Association? What were some of your key successes?
Prairie Family Business Association continues to grow. There are 260 family businesses we serve and hundreds more we could be serving. We’ve had an influx of our own families referring fellow family businesses into membership, which speaks volumes to the value our members experience when they engage with Prairie Family Business Association. Much of our growth, process and people developments can be attributed to operating on EOS, or Entrepreneurial Operating System, which many of our families also use to run their businesses.
Our affinity peer groups have grown significantly this year. We added six peer groups in 2023, which grew our affinity peer groups to a total of 23 groups. These groups offer structure and accountability to discuss business, family and self-development with peers in similar stages of life and business.
We’ve offered more live case study opportunities in 2023 than we ever have before. The ability to conduct family meetings and provide families with three to five key recommendations really sets up families for a successful transition.
Board Bootcamp launched, and we’ve witnessed the successful launch of several family business boards. According to family business research, having a board in place is one of three keys to success for family businesses. The other two? Strategic planning and family meetings.
Our Family Business Resources Toolbox also launched. If you are curious about the health of your family business or need a sample family meeting agenda, visit here.
Are there any trends or themes you see as far as overall business activity for your members, both the good and the challenging?
Board development continues to be a trend, which is a direct correlation to the Board Bootcamp programming we provide. We believe in the power of boards – for the family, the business and management.
Many of our members are working on exit strategies for retirement-age family members and key employees. The structure of how to transition the business – both financial and leadership transitions – are topics we speak to members about weekly.
There are structure and process pieces to transitioning the business, as well as a deep amount of emotional transition. Additionally, the next generation is finding their place and navigating how to lead or own the business.
How has your PFBA team continued to evolve this year? Are there new areas of focus you’re able to address with your new additions?
Our PFBA team has grown to four full-time employees along with several key external colleagues who are extensions of our team.
With the right people in the right seats, we are now able to focus more on recruitment and retention of family businesses as well as partnerships. Partnerships are in place with EOS Worldwide, regional banking associations, the Independent Welding Distributors Association, retailers association and more. There are many synergies among these associations and PFBA.
Following a brand-strategy workshop in 2023 led by Six-Point Creative, we will have more of a focus on telling our story and the stories of our families in the year ahead.
You annually survey the members of PFBA. What were some of the key takeaways from them this year?
There are several interesting pieces of information from our annual member survey.
- The average generation in PFBA is generation 2.3.
- Generations involved in membership range from first generation through sixth generation.
- The age range most represented in our membership is age 31 to 40.
- Of families reporting revenues, most fall in the $10 million to $50 million revenue range. Several businesses report revenues in excess of $50 million.
What are some of your priorities for PFBA in 2024? What can we expect from the association?
We’ve identified six content themes for 2024, which were driven by member survey responses. The six themes are: leadership, innovation, communication, culture, succession and strategy. These themes will be weaved into our webinars, our Annual Family Business Conference, thought-leadership pieces and our new podcast – scheduled to launch in 2024.
New this year, we’re offering three pre-conference programs on April 16, the day before our 32nd Annual Family Business Conference.
Board Bootcamp will be one of the pre-conference programs. This is geared toward families who want to learn more about forming a board, either advisory or fiduciary, as well as families who operate with a board and desire an even higher-performing board.
We know there is a need and opportunity to serve more farm and ranch families. We’re launching Farm Family Forum as a pre-conference program with a focus on communication, finances and the next generation.
The Family Business Acceleration Workshop will be our third pre-conference program. This hands-on workshop is for family businesses who want to strategically grow and scale.
In 2024, we’ll offer our Next Gen Retreat, which will be held Oct. 2-3 in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
You continue to work to get the word out about PFBA both locally and regionally but also nationwide. What are some of the organization’s differentiators, and what kind of response do you generally receive as family businesses discover it?
At Prairie Family Business Association, we meet you where you are, we facilitate connections, we provide a sense of community, and we have proven family business tools. These factors make us unique.
When families learn about PFBA, a common statement is that they know they need to do something but they don’t know where to begin or who to involve. We help answer both of those questions for our members. There can be a lot of emotion tied up in a family business. We help to bring families together to align expectations for all, including needs and wants, as well as fair and equal. As families engage with PFBA, we witness relief that there is a way to a successful succession and there are people to support families along the journey.
If family businesses and those who support them would like to further connect with PFBA, what would you suggest?
Reach out to Stephanie Larscheid, executive director, at 605-274-9530 or email@example.com. We would enjoy learning about your family and family business! It’s the perfect time to gift a membership – either to your own family or to a family you know could use PFBA.