Tips for Running a Family Business in 2024


Ned Montag:

MONTAG has been a family business for a long time. Since the founding, my dad has worked for his father since 1960. Then, he hired John and I in the mid-90s and founded this business in 1982. So, he had a good long time to meditate about how to run a successful family business. 


John Montag:

We are steeped in it in conversation together, which is very fortunate. If I were to pinpoint strategies about running a family business. I think the first one I would say is communication.


Ned Montag:

Things change, people change, businesses change, times change. And so, you must have that recurring communication. It would be best to stay on top of the competitive questions for any given family. Another tip is that you generally want to treat family members like nonfamily members. That is the goal, to treat people in a manner independent of the fact that they are family.


John Montag

The third tip I would give is that is essential to keep your roles clear. Ned and I each have very well-defined roles. They are outlined in a variety of ways. And we described them to each other, and we described them to people in the business, to our employees, and to our clients. People need to understand who is doing what in a family business. 


Ned Montag

John is a talented, well-regarded investment manager. He has a group of clients that he works for, and those relationships are healthy and strong. Other portfolio managers around here learn from him and understand things better because of how John applies himself. The role I hold as the Chief Executive Office of the firm releases me from the duty of client services as a primary duty. I am the person who manages staff and keeps the firm competitive, well-marketed, and keeps it running smoothly. You have to give people assignments that don’t naturally put them in conflict with each other, otherwise they are going to conflict with each other. And if they are family members, that conflict is liable to take on a larger scale than it might if they were not otherwise relative. 


John Montag

This isn’t sitting around a family dinner table, which is a transition. It is saying no, there is a business, and that means we are taking care of each other differently. When your sibling looks at you and critiques something you are doing, you have to think of it as trying to benefit one another. And that is a bit of a twist on what might normally have done in a family business. The fourth item, that I might describe as a tip, would be having outside advisors. Outside advisors are critical for any business, not just a family business. They become more meaningful because they allow us to become more regularly aligned with one another on what is family and business. To clarify, when we have a question, are we talking about family or are we talking about business? They keep us directed. I always recommend having outside advisors when running a family business. 


Ned Montag:

Finally, I think we have invited into this business many people with skills, talents, and capacities that the Montag family members don’t possess. You want people to understand the world and see the world differently than family members. Because they bring diversity, understanding, and that competitive edge. And when you are trying to extend a family business to the next generation. Family businesses often look upon themselves as generation to generation. They are not thinking of one- or two-year increments. They talk about the founder’s age, or they look at the age of the next generation. These are the ways they measure themselves. And so, you got to have competitive people, in all those stages, at all those ages. To have some peace of mind, the business must stay competitive in any era that you’re participating in.


The information provided is for illustration purposes only.  It is not, and should not be regarded as “investment advice” or as a “recommendation” regarding a course of action to be taken. MONTAG employees do not provide legal or tax advice. For specific legal or tax matters, you should consult with your own legal and/or tax advisors. There are risks associated with investing in securities. Investing in stocks, bonds, exchange traded funds, mutual funds, and money market funds involve risk of loss. Loss of principal is possible.



    At MONTAG, we do things differently. We‘ve been a family-run business for nearly 40 years, and we still believe that our clients are best served by treating them as part of that family. We take the time to get to know you – what you’ve done to build your net worth, your investment philosophy, your financial questions and fears, and above all, your financial hopes. Every single client has their own unique story — a story that deserves more than a conversation with an anonymous voice. Contact our Business Development team today by calling 404.522.5774 or emailing [email protected] to get in touch. [email protected] MONTAG