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. More…

Keep Your Business “UN-Professional”

I don’t know about you, but I am beginning to get tired of hearing how important it is to “professionalize our family businesses”. The implication here is that we are “un-professional”.

Granted, in some of our businesses, the family is over-bearing, and stifles growth and development. But, the vast majority of us are striking a good balance between being a family business, and adopting more formalized business practices. After all, this is our “sweet spot”. This is what makes us unique, and gives us a tremendous competitive advantage over non-family businesses.

I’m not advocating to avoid changing and growing our businesses to the next level. But, if we allow ourselves to adopt too many big corporate attributes, eventually we will lose our identity and competitive advantage of being a family business. Conversely, running our businesses too informally, might prevent us from attracting key management prospects, and lead to weak strategic planning.

The key here is balance. Manage your business with the best of both; maintain your identity of being a family business, while gradually allowing big company organization structure to creep in. Never forget the family values and entrepreneurial spirit that your business was founded on.