For Family Businesses No Easy Answers…Only Options

For Family Businesses
No Easy Answers…Only Options

Family Ink
Spring/Summer 1997

“Each family business is unique it its makeup, its culture…each has its own vision, goals and Perception success”
      –Fredda Herz-Brown

“There are no pat, easy answers, no real quick-fix solutions…only options,” Dr. Fredda Herz Brown, a family business consultant, told the members of the Family Business Forum during asession at the Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies at FDU on March 27th.”Eachfamily,” she noted, “is unique in its makeup, its culture…each has its own vision, goals andperception of success…all of which impact the upcoming generation and the future of the familybusiness.You need to learn to deal with the issues,” she said, adding, “I have found that familiesare among the most creative in resolving issues.”

Communication within the family, Brown noted, is extremely important.”Many familybusinesses go down the drain because one spousedoesn’t talk to another.You have anargument, a problem involving your brother and you discuss it with your wife.You later make upwith your brother; after all,he is your brother, but your wife is still angry and may refuse to go tofamily functions,” she said. As family members, youneed to dealwith your emotions, communicate your feelings, anxieties, frustrations and differences. Familial conflict, whenignored, may have a disastrous effect on the business.Family members have to be able toseparate theirpersonal feelings from those relating to the business, she said. More…

Balancing the Family and its Business: Checklist Before Hiring a Family Business Consultant

Balancing the Family and its Business:
Checklist Before Hiring a Family Business Consultant

Business Journal
by Jill R. Lock
Simon Master & Sidlow, P.A.

Before a family business owner hires a consultant for the firm, she must take into account many qualities that a consultant should possess.To fully understand the family business, the consultant needs to grasp the family’s relationships and aspirations. Knowledge of both organizational behavior and family systems is crucial.The consultant should have professional training in their area of expertise.Ethical marketing should be the foundation of the approach.In addition, the consultant and the organization must reflect a commitment to family issues.This commitment is reflected with the resources available from the organization.

How does the family business owner know when it’s time to seek outside advice?Here is a list of some signals of when it’s time to get help externally:

  • Lots of secrets and secret alliances among family members;
  • Tension or hostility in the business environment;
  • Owner needs to put out lots of fires;
  • The owner’s spouse being frequently brought in to be the peacekeeper;
  • Lack of communication among family business members and/or key non-family members;
  • Uneasy feeling about the future of the business;
  • Employee dissatisfaction (this may manifest itself in excessive employee turnover or absenteeism);
  • Excessive overlap of personal matters into the business;
  • Emotional outbursts in the workplace;
  • Owner unaware of what other key employees are doing that greatly impacts business; More…