How to Value a Family Office Database Resource
What to look for before you buy
I’ve discussed these elements before in other articles but a recent stream of questions from people in my network has prompted me to reiterate these points in a more summarised way and all in one place … eh … blog. I trust this blog will help you to establish a value for a Family Office database resource you are considering purchasing, and also hope that as you explore family office databases you will quickly learn what makes them worth acquiring or not. More specifically I hope to provide in this summary basic insights into how to value specific Family Office lists and database resources.
Here are some of the components that make a Family Office database worth the asking price. Ask yourself and/or the vendor these questions:
How often is the Family Office database updated? It should be at least semi-annually. If not what is the reason behind it and does the reason make sense to you?
Is the vendor active in the industry? e.g. does the vendor have a consulting business for Family Offices, or do they operate a Family Office association, an online or offline Family Office social network or networking group? If not, what qualifies them to create, maintain, and update a Family Office list?
Does the vendor offer a refund and what is their refund policy in respect of the Family Office list resource you are considering? At the very least there should be an accommodation for bad data. The best firms in the Family Office industry will gladly offer between a double and quadruple pro-rated refund for bad date in the Family Office resource. This keeps them honest and on top of their game.
What level of work and effort went into the creation of the Family Office list? Okay, so this is tricky ground. How can you determine that? Well, use a couple of basic pointers to the level of seriousness both of the company and the information they offer about the database resource.
- What does their website look like?
- How detailed is their FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section?
- What level of statistics do they give you in respect of the list?
- What do they say about their methodologies for creating, maintaining, and updating the Family Office database?
This next one is crucial to your productivity. Even if everything else is great this one can cause more frustration than it is worth.
In what format does the vendor supply the Family Office database to you? Here’s the thing. If the list is web-only, i.e. you can only access it via the web then you could lose access, for example, if the company goes belly up or if your subscription payment does not go through. How often does it happen that a credit card is nearing its limit because the accounts department hasn’t processed the expense reports? Or even more basic, the expiry date lapses, you forget to update it in the system, and the vendor doesn’t have an early warning system to remind you.
Make sure that you have a resource that can be downloaded (i.e. avoid CD & DVD based resources if you can) and where the format in which it is supplied is at least Microsoft Excel (.XLSX), or Comma Separated Value (.CSV) These formats are the most flexible and allow you to quickly and easily integrate the new data into your customer relationship management (CRM) system, for example Salesforce.com.
Value is a tricky thing and like beauty it is in the eye of the beholder. If you use the above suggestions to assess for yourself the value of the resource I hope you will make some good decisions. Ultimately the proof will be in the quality of the relationships you are able to build with the Family Offices listed in the database resource that you purchase. Until you have the list though you need to use your gut, some good common sense, and the above tips to figure out whether or not your money to purchase the list is about to be invested wisely or simply spent.