Before going to work in the family business, work for someone else first

We have all heard how important it is to gain some outside experience working in another company before joining the family business.

But how do we do actually accomplish this?

The key is to take advantage of this opportunity before you get too involved in your own family business.  Some people prefer to work in the family business a few years and then go work outside, while others do it right from the start. Waiting too long will risk that you will get so involved in your family business that you won’t be able to break away from your responsibility or you will feel a diminished return from the experience.

Why is this so important?

Gaining some outside experience will help you:

  • Feel what it is like to be managed by a non-family member
  • Experience a job role not influenced by your last name
  • Better relate to others at an employee level
  • Gain better insight into compensation ranges
  • Learn how a different company operates their business

Companies to Consider for Outside Experience:

  • Suppliers – A suppliers business will help you understand your business from their perspective
  • Competitors – Chosen discreetly they can be a good learning experience
  • Peer family businesses – difficult to arrange, but a reciprocal arrangement could be worth looking into
  • Related industry – work in a related industry that you are thinking of expanding into
  • Different industry – work in a completely different industry to expand your experience

Most importantly, you will learn to not take things for granted by appreciating what you have more. In other words you may prevent nepotism and a sense of entitlement from creeping into your business.