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The Welsh Wire: Matt Rampe of Beene GarterMatt Rampe of Beene Garter

One way to handle risk in your family-owned business is by being a turtle — huddling under a shell for protection. But a leading expert on risk management says a better approach is to be willing to stick your neck out.

Matt Rampe, senior manager of the Forensic, Valuation & Litigation Services Group at Beene Garter in Grand Rapids, says one of the best ways to mitigate risk is by being innovative. “You can tactically do things like trying new product lines, looking at new geographies, looking at new customers, new products,” he says.

Rampe talked recently with Sheri Welsh for The Welsh Wire podcast, sponsored by the Family Business Alliance.

“You can’t get caught off guard if you’re always looking,” Rampe says. “I think having systems in place where your company is always looking around the corner, you’re always gazing, somebody’s gazing into the future, or you periodically get together to do that. Look at the industry, look at the trends.”

He says family-owned businesses face common risks: depending too much on one key person in the company, customer concentration, supplier concentration and complacency.

“I think an advantage family businesses have is you lean on that next generation because they have a totally different perspective. In the best of ways, lean into that conversation and say this is what works but also I want to hear what are your ideas? What do you see in the future? Your perspective, what do people like you want? Because I think there can be things learned from that and maybe they own the innovation,” he says.

Listen to Sheri’s entire interview with Matt Rampe.

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