If You Have Family In Your Business, Consider Thinking Of Your Company As A Family Business

If You Have Family In Your Business, Consider Thinking Of Your Company As A Family Business

Across the country, it’s estimated that 80-90% of businesses include family. If your business is in this category, does that affect how you think about your company? In other words, do you ever think about your business to what extent your family and business work together or the challenges that exist between the two?
As an advisor to family businesses, I strongly think that this is a critical realization. Family businesses are very different than ones that do not have family. Embracing these differences and also using them to differentiate your company can be an important driver in your success.
Once you recognize that you have a family business, I would encourage you to be part of a group that supports family businesses. In West Michigan, it is the Family Business Alliance. Among other things, this organization provides events that educate you about the issues that family businesses need to be working on. Not only is the content of these events very helpful, you will also be able to meet other family business owners and be part of groups that discuss these issues and learn from your peers.
On attending a recent family business alliance event, it struck me that the timing of these events (once every quarter) provides a regularity to family businesses thinking about these types of issues. This fact seems subtle, but I cannot tell you how important it is. Family businesses that succeed and thrive over the long term need to have rhythms that allow them to create structure in their business. This in turn creates opportunities for relationship, communication, passing down values, and addressing all of the challenges that will no doubt result. Being part of and attending these events that the Family Business Alliance puts on is a critical part of allowing you to be on this path.
Finally, in this recent event I attended for the Family Business Alliance, it was on succession and in particular the differences between the generations in a family business. I created a list of takeaways from this event that you can feel free to review yourself. You can find it at http://bit.ly/2m0wePm. If you are interested in this, feel free to email me or you can check out the Family Business Alliance at www.fbar.org.


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