Managing a family business brings with it an all new set of problems that wouldn’t normally arise in a regular business. These problems have the potential to impede or indeed, destroy a family business if they are not controlled and dealt with from the get-go. Below I will discuss some of the most common problems that occur in family run businesses and I will also demonstrate the effective way of running a family owned company.
Business is Business
Sales figures and tax problems don’t make for good conversation around the breakfast table. It’s important to separate business and family. Failure to do so can lead to one becoming overworked and stressed. Everyone needs to have downtime and the whole family bringing work home with them is not the way to do it.
For the offset of a family business, any expert will tell you to make it clear to all those involved that once 5pm comes, the business gets locked up and that’s that. I don’t mean to say that business is not something that can be enjoyed and discussed amongst the family, but it’s best to keep the hard talk and ordering about for the office.
Business as Usual
This is an important step for any business and especially so for a family business. No employee with their head screwed on properly would have a full-fledged argument with their boss. However, a daughter and her mother may have an argument boil over in the workplace that can be bad for business.
For that reason, it’s important to establish ground rules to let everyone know who calls the shots. This hierarchy normally follows the classic family structure with the parents on top and the children below.
Getting caught up in the romantic image of a family working together to meet deadlines can spell disaster. It’s often similiar to the telecommute job gone wrong because of family life getting in the way. While there will be many moments like this that can further untie the family unit, it’s of great importance that workplace professionalism is established.
What I mean by this is the treating of the job as though it were any other job, especially by the lower levels of staff. Liberties must not be taken simply because Dad is the boss, otherwise big problems will arise as soon as the going gets tough. Employing workers unrelated to the family can help to achieve this kind of atmosphere in the workplace by breaking the total family structure.
Selling the Family Idea
All things considered, there is not all doom and gloom to be heard of when discussing a family business. There are tonnes of rewards. One such reward is the ability to market your business as a family. People aspire to the perfect family unit and buy from such families. That is why many bakers, small stores and manufacturers use the family name as a marketing tool.
Also, a family business brings with it an unmatchable degree of loyalty. At times business is a cut-throat world so it’s good to know that your partners won’t double-cross you when things get difficult. Finally, draw from the many success of family business around the world such as Warner Bros. the Trumps, the Hiltons and those in your local area.
This post is part of the series: How to Manage a Family Business
Managing a family business is no doubt stressful but at times it can be worth the effort that you are putting forth. Entrepreneurship and family business require great effort to stand tall as a successful entity.