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Monday, May 3, 2010

Essentials For A Successful Family Business


I started a business several years ago that has been successful providing me with good financial benefits and a great deal of personal fulfillment.  About five years ago I started bringing members of my immediate family into the business.  Now, it seems as though both my business life and family life have become more complicated by a factor of ten.  What can I do?


In a family business, you have all the dynamics of operating a business along with the dynamics of the family.  In this situation, one plus one does not equal two in complexity—it equals something like 29.  However, there are three tools to be implemented and used on a daily basis that will mitigate the complications of running a family business:
  1. Communicate, communicate and then communicate some more.�
    • Hold family council meeting at least once a quarter with all family members and their spouses.  This is your opportunity to get input and share your aspirations.
    • Write very clear roles, responsibilities and expectations for each member of the family who works in the business
    • Have written policies and practices and hold everyone to the same set of rules.
  2. Planning
    • Have a succession plan that identifies future leaders of the company
    • Have a business plan that is shared at the family council
    • Have a financial plan—both business and personal
  3. Document your organizational values, your vision and mission.  Communicate these clearly to all members of the family, especially those in the business.  Set your expectation they will be followed and continuously go back to them to remind them and other stakeholders what you and your business stand for.

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