About Kevin Howell and Family Business Consulting

Kevin Howell’s family business consultancy specialises in helping enterprising families strike a healthy balance between family and work.

Kevin’s deep understanding of the complexities of the multi-generational family businesses is based on his own personal experiences in this environment.

He has served in a variety of roles within family businesses including that of an advisor, team coach, and management consultant.

Kevin’s family business consultancy works with clients from South Africa and the United States.

Clients range from small businesses to large corporations who seek solutions for persistent problems within the business.

Family firms face complex challenges that are specific to that environment.

Kevin understands the delicate balancing act between protecting family relationships and reaching business goals.


Kevin holds the following qualifications:

  • Masters degree in business administration (Gordon Institute of Business)
  • Family Firm Institute (Boston, USA) Certificate in Family Business Advising
  • Family Firm Institute (Boston, USA) Certificate in Family Wealth Advising
  • BSc. Honours degree – Information Technology
  • National Higher Diploma – Electronic Engineering

While each situation is different and distinctive to varying family dynamics, there are many common issues Kevin addresses. These include:

  • Fairness in family dealings
  • Family communication
  • Family values and behaviour
  • Inheritance and ownership
  • Business competence of family members
  • Family participation
  • Parental Interference with succession planning
  • Family influence on decisions
  • Non-family member conflict
  • Ownership succession
  • Personal versus business needs
  • Board member selection
  • Dividend versus investments
Why solve these problems?

A family business unit is an entity that is created and maintained by people that naturally gravitate towards each other. There’s this organic force that keeps people from leaving the circle of relationships. It’s almost impossible to leave, and there’s a reason for this.


A family has the best possible chance to achieve something that all businesses in the world spend their time seeking and that’s UNITY.  A group of people that  all share a common goal or vision for the future. Where there’s unity, economic success is inevitable.


Unity however is not something that you just switch on like a light. It’s something that is created by purposefully planning the future for the family as well as the business. 


All strong economies are built by family businesses and that’s why it’s important to make sure that they last through multiple generations.


But why do families fail?


Founder generations start out as entrepreneurs and never realise that what they are building is a family business. They have a dream of leaving a business for their children to provide them with financial security.


But their drive, motivation and sweat is soon met with disappointment as they watch how family conflict quickly dismantles that dream.

Family businesses organisation are complex and they require a very specific and specialised design, planning, organisation and governance to function.


Without the knowledge to build a family business, the founder generation inadvertently sets the family business up for failure.


But it can be fixed!

Family business requires a parallel strategic planning process. Not only do we have to plan for the future of the business, but also the future of the family.


Unless we understand what the purpose of our family is, it would be hard to establish why our business exists. If we do not know why we are in business, we have very little reason to continue past the first generation.

If we can agree on a reason for our family to exist, we can agree on what we need to achieve in business.


Only then can we plan a multi-generation business that not only provides for the family, but also for the communities around us.


The family of businesses then becomes an asset to be stewarded over generations, rather than a short-term income source to finance our immediate needs and wants. The stewardship of the asset becomes our reason and purpose for living, and this guides every family member into becoming a selfless member of society, contributing to an economic engine that impacts their family and the community around them.


Imagine an economy built by these businesses. In South Africa, strong family businesses are now needed more than ever.


As family business members, we have a responsibility to ensure our businesses are profitable, but more than anything, we need to ensure they become wealthy multi-generations businesses that can realise the dream of a new prosperous South Africa.


Why me?

For too long have family businesses been viewed from a financial or legal point of view. 


But the problems in a family business are seldom financial or legal. But rather behavioural. It’s about getting along while pursuing a share ideal future.


I have been involved in a family business for 27 years (Est. 1950’s), and we have had many challenges with the complexity of family and business, and we tried for many years to fix them through legal structures and financial manoeuvring.


But we never succeeded, and today we all run separate companies with very little social contact with family members. Our businesses ruined our relationships.


As a result of my experience with our own failures, I have made it my life’s mission to help other families not make the mistakes we did.


Family members just don’t have the tools or structures to ensure that the boundaries between family, business and ownership are maintained.


My approach to these complex human organisations is to work with the behaviours and structure of the family and business to ensure that the family has the best possible chance at sharing a common vision. 


Family business is about people and getting the people to work towards a shared vision. 


And the best way to achieve these results is to involve a objective and skilled specialist. 


That’s why I can help…



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