Managing a business is undoubtedly a demanding task, and maybe even more so demanding if you are trying to manage your family business. Running a family business is tricky because it can either turn into an amazing, blooming enterprise or leave you stressed out absolutely. Needless to say, it is a double-edged sword, and you don’t want to mess things up. So, before you embark upon this journey, it's intuitive to have some things planned beforehand.
When starting a family business, there are some family members who will join the business quite enthusiastically. However, there will be other members who will not take any interest at all and may have no inclination to share in the responsibilities either. When you face such a situation, you have to tread carefully because conflicts in a family business can turn into long-term family feuds. However, you also must address the situation in a straightforward manner and focus on compensation and a possible exit strategy for a member who no longer wishes to continue. In this article, we are going to share some of the useful tips that will help you to run your family business smoothly.
You may have heard it in every possible situation or context, but it becomes extremely important in a family business. You may harbor the common misconception that your family members already are well aware of your work style and can pick up without any issues, but this isn’t the truth. If you really want everything to run smoothly and your business to prosper, then you have to stop making such assumptions and start with open and clear communication. If you do not address the issues right away, they are only going to blow up over time. Lack of effective communication is one of the main reasons family businesses fail.
Now that you are managing the family business, you may be thinking of tossing the formal documentation or processes out of the window, but we strongly advise against it. Even in a family business, formal documentation goes a long way and can save you time and money in the future. It is understandable that family members essentially love and care about each other, but no matter how strong a family you have, you are bound to have many disagreements. Having formalized documentation and paperwork in place will save everyone undue stress and hassle. So, instead of handshake agreements, stress on formalized contracts and documentation.
Even though your family may have agreed with you managing the business, some members from time to time would want to take the lead in making certain decisions. However, this is not practical. You have to decide which family member is going to be the decision-maker and conduct the family business succession planning that will undoubtedly become necessary. You have to develop fair decision-making guidelines for all the family members to follow. This will help avoid unnecessary disputes and your business will grow successfully.
In a family business, the decision-making process can often take way too long and your options may be limited. You have to keep an open mind about creative, innovative, and futuristic ideas to make sure that your family business is keeping up with the dynamic market trends. It is a good idea to take advice from your friends or former colleagues in order to have a diverse pool of ideas. This diversity of perspectives will keep your business fresh and able to compete in the market. Also, it does not matter whether these people you are taking the ideas from are part of your family or not; these may be individuals you are close to in general.
If you want to be successful in creating a family business that is set to prosper for generations to come, you have to be assertive about certain ground rules. You have to also understand that no matter how prepared you are, there are going to be instances where you have to handle stressful situations when you manage your family business. Try to retain control and keep your composure because the more in control you are, as a business manager, the less any family discord will affect the professional decisions that need to be made.