May 2016 RetailerNOW

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FAMILYMATTERS

Seeing into the Future of Your Family Business It doesn’t take a crystal ball. But it does take planning. Here’s how you get started. By Wayne Rivers

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ike a fair number of our clients, one of our consultants is on the board of his country club. His club, as is the case with a great many around the country, has come face to face with the realities of the new normal economy, and how to serve the changing needs of a new generation of club members. His committee has been charged with defining (redefining?) who they are as a club and what they envision for the club over the next 25 years. In short, they’re developing a strategic plan for how to stay in business for another generation or two and for how to be as successful in the future as they have been in the past. The club is faced with plenty of challenges. The club has largely been run by older golf members who are very set in their ways and don’t like change. These older golf members are often financially comfortable. That means modest dues increases or assessments aren’t likely to trouble them all that much. The same increase to dues or assessments might not be received so well by younger members with growing families. Older members won’t be around forever, so clubs need to find ways to attract new members.

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In today’s world where the nuclear family is often the focus, the time commitment to play golf (let alone be good at it) can be a huge barrier, one that frequently scares away many young families from joining and using club facilities as previous generations had done. Country clubs carry considerable legacy costs including golf courses, aging buildings and physical plants, meeting spaces, bars and restaurants, banquet facilities, etc. Many private clubs are afflicted with a form of schizophrenia and will need to decide their core missions going forward: Are we a golf club? Are we a tennis club? Maybe we should just focus on being a pool and swim club? What about a social club? Or maybe even a family and fitness club? Establishing a new vision and determining the solutions to these challenges will help the club define what its offerings to members and potential members will look like going forward.

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