As family business owners, we are a trustworthy group. We tend to be easy-going and get along well with others. Generally we are more sensitive to employees concerns, even treating them as extensions of our own family.
However, this trusting culture, can also leave us vulnerable to outside non-family executives who might take advantage of our unique corporate culture. If we aren’t careful, we may find our business being taken advantage of by individuals who seek out closely-held businesses where they can gain undue power and influence.
We’ll Never Do That Again, But We Did
Our first experiences bringing in outside non-family executives were horror stories. These hiring mistakes happened to us, embarrassingly, not once, but twice. The first instance was 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.