DO YOU EVER catch yourself saying, “why change, we’ve always done it this way” or “I mentioned that idea before, but no one listened” and “I wish we could do this, but it would hurt his feelings?” As small businesses, we have a unique ability to make clear- cut decisions and not get caught up in the bureaucracy. Unfortunately, this same advantage also goes against us, when we are faced with growing the business and making critical decisions. Everything works well when we are in agreement with each other about the strategic direction of the business. But when we are not on the same page, we get bogged down making decisions and deciding on the direction of the business, because our personal feelings often get in the way and impede us. More…
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.