When it comes to operating a family-owned business, the number one tip to keep in mind is that all business matters need to stay within the family. The second tip to remember is that all family members need to pitch in, or they should otherwise not be included within the business activities. As far as family business lessons go, there are more than a few people that have given their testimonials and advice. And throughout the information that has been obtained from employees working for family-owned businesses, these are the top leadership five lessons that need to be learned as quickly as possible.
1) Respect of the Hierarchy
It doesn’t matter whether cousin Bill gets voted to take over the family business, all employees must show respect. Family businesses don’t always get passed down exactly as expected, and many times this is due to a supposed-to-be-heir not stepping up and taking responsibility. But once ownership of the company gets transferred to someone outside of the main bloodline, chaos often becomes a key characteristic of the company because respect is lost. When this happens, the entire company is most likely headed for doom. In order to keep the business afloat, respect must be given and maintained.
2) Decide Who Doesn’t Belong
Working in a family-owned business isn’t for everyone. If a certain family member doesn’t want to step up and work in the company, it should never be pressured on them. Instead, the position should be offered to other family members. As for family members that do step up but don’t fit well within the company, a board meeting should be held to determine who is and who is not a good fit.
3) It’s All about Going Global
Family businesses that provide products/services on a local basis only can still benefit from global advertising. In fact, family businesses are all about going global, just the same as other businesses. The more you advertise your company on a global basis, the faster and more effectively your brand awareness will spread. In return, your company can receive worldwide recognizance, which boosts the likelihood of consumers preferring your services when they are in need of them. For example, let’s say that you are a family-owned farm that distributes fresh produce and meats to four local grocery stores. Sending these items across the globe simply isn’t possible due to the fact that they will most likely ruin because you don’t have the resources to transport them in climate-controlled containers. However, a man in China is considering opening his own grocery store in your county. Because he saw your blog on the web — which was optimized using global SEO tactics — he asks you to supply his grocery store. This enhances your annual income by 25 percent. Keeping this in mind, no matter the services or products you are selling, and regardless of the resources you have, your family-owned business should still strive to carry out global advertising.
4) You Must Prepare for Tomorrow
Family-owned companies are often so set in their ways that they forget to plan for tomorrow, therefore leading to closed doors. Just like any business that operates in today’s society, though, family-owned corporations must plan for future generations, meaning the layout of next decade’s hierarchy should be evaluated today. Businesses that are able to determine their future operations are much more likely to stay in business than those that only strive for today’s profit. Sure, there will be obstacles that have to be overcome as time passes — just as the death of company heir — but with proper planning, it becomes possible to keep the family business afloat even during trying times. One of the best ways to prepare for tomorrow is by sending all employees who fill leadership roles to complete professional development training.
5) Operational Processes are Going to Change
No matter how traditional a person wants to keep a family business, technological advancements make it nearly impossible for operational processes to stay the same. Now more than ever, technology is playing a vital role in global expansion, meaning the way the family business was orchestrated 20 years ago is not how it should be operating today. Things are going to change, and if technology continues to advance at the rate it is today, these changes will take place on a more rapid basis than ever before.
If you’re considering a leadership role within a family-owned business, make sure to keep in mind the five tips mentioned above. You will need to keep them at the heart of your operations during your time working in upper management.