Having a family business can be a very rewarding experience. In order to be successful in your business you need to establish a few guidelines:
- Establish a business plan with a mission and clear chain of command.
- Make sure everyone is aware of the company business plan/mission and is on board.
- All employees (family members and non-family members) have defined roles, responsibilities and performance reviews.
- All employees have equal opportunities for advancement.
- Establish a succession plan for the business.
It is important not to give special treatment or extra privileges, such as a company car, to family members over employees that are not family members. Competence and merit alone should be the basis of promotion.
Control, a sense of entitlement and history can become issues between family members. It is imperative that the business is managed in a professional manner, even if a mediator or consultant is used to work through any issues. Having a board or family council to make important decisions can remove some of the pressures of running a family business. The company should not be dependent on just one person – if that person were to die suddenly or retire the entire company could be in jeopardy. Succession planning will allow the company to go on if anything unexpected happens.
Running a family business can be enjoyable and profitable and can establish a legacy for your family. Make sure you and your family are well prepared to take on the challenge.