David C. Bentall

David's approach to Family Business is practical and backed with real world experience. He can assist families in business to identify and resolve their problems before they become unmanageable. He can assist you with the most critical elements involved in managing the succession of a business from one generation to the next, including:

David C. Bentall, the Founder of Next Step Advisors, is a unique resource. Not only has he lived and worked in a family business for 20 years, he has experienced succession personally three times, each from a radically different perspective. His story is truly remarkable!

As a result, Mr. Bentall brings three decades of relevant experience and a fresh, insightful approach to resolving issues.

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More Information about David C. Bentall

Founder of Next Step Advisors Inc., is a graduate of UBC's Commerce Faculty and Harvard's Business School. For twenty years, Mr. Bentall worked in his family's real estate and construction businesses. During his years as President and CEO of Dominion Construction, the business doubled in size to just under $300 million in sales.

Mr. Bentall also played a leading role in several landmark projects across Canada, including the widely acclaimed Roger's arena in Vancouver and the TD Centre Office Complex in downtown Winnipeg. Subsequently, David was a key player in the successful Vancouver Whistler 201O Olympic bid.

The same creative energy and focused determination that marked his career in business is now available to individuals and families to help them identify and resolve their issues. Mr. Bentall is a gifted moderator and a trained facilitator. He is also an experienced executive/life coach and an outstanding speaker.

Establishing a family council

Families in business can benefit greatly by having regular family meetings.

These gatherings, sometimes called Family Council, are like a board of directors for the family.

Typically chaired by a trained non family facilitator family meetings offer the following potential benefits:

  1. A place to discuss dreams and visions of the family and its individual members.
  2. An escape valve, where questions, issues and concerns can be discussed and resolved in a safe environment.
  3. A forum to discuss business, charitable and family priorities and build consensus. Goals of Business Family Governance (Family Council):
  4. Help the family set direction, maintain decisiveness and cohesiveness.
  5. Maintain family discipline in relationship to the business/guard against family interference with the business.
  6. Develop loyal, informed, capable shareholders and family members who can contribute to the business and family.
  7. Integrate family goals and views into business governance and vice versa.
  8. Grow trust and pride in the family and between the family and business.
Recruiting a board of Advisors / Directors

A well constituted board of directors (or a board of advisors) can help a family business by bridging the gap between generations, helping in the mentoring and selection of successors and balancing the company's need for capital with the families desires for dividends.

Dr John Ward, a world renowned family business expert, states that "if you only do one thing to assist a family with intergenerational succession, you should recruit a board of directors with outside independent members."

Next Step Advisors has helped many families to recruit independent advisory board members. Some additional benefits of a having independent members on a family board are as follows:

  1. Providing in-house experience and expertise.
  2. Encouraging self-discipline and accountability in management.
  3. Providing a sounding board to aid in evaluating business owner's ideas.
  4. Offering honest, objective opinions on performance, strategy, compensation and other business matters.
  5. Assisting in strategic planning and monitoring implementation.
  6. Offering insight into key people.
  7. Asking challenging penetrating questions.
  8. Giving confidential and empathetic counsel.
  9. Aiding creative thinking and decision making.
  10. Enhancing cooperative relations with constituents including employees, suppliers, customers and the community at large.

Source: Creating effective boards for private enterprises: Meeting the challenges of continuity and competition by John L. Ward (Jossey-Bass 1991)