A successful family office requires more than just a good plan. It requires effective management that is flexible enough to adapt to changes in the family's needs.
A mission statement in the family's own voice that captures the business goals, family goals, and important family values that will guide decision-making for current and future family members. The mission statement should also include a clear set of priorities, one of which should be an annual measure of the performance of the office with respect to its execution of the mission statement. (Note: This is different than measuring investment performance.)
A governance process that clearly outlines ownership vs. management responsibilities, defines the boards and committees to be created and how they will function, details policy and procedures for each major function of the family office in writing, and discusses how family members are to be supported by and possibly included in the decision-making process. Clear bylaws, shareholder agreements, family meetings and succession plans are important parts of any governance process.
Ongoing education for rising generations and activities promoting understanding among and between generations. Mission statements and formal processes are important but are no substitute for paying attention to family dynamics. Family office personnel and/or external coaches facilitate communications exercises and intergenerational activities that provide the foundation for the collaborative spirit that binds the family and supports having a family office.
A detailed outline of the services offered (by whom and for whom) and an operating budget. The service offerings are often a mix of outsourced solutions and services provided in-house.
Policies that define the roles and responsibilities of each staff person, along with compensation and benefit considerations.