Much has been written about “Family Business” the ups and the downs. Most every business starts as a family business and as it grows the founders look to people, they trust to help them and at the same time dream of leaving what they worked hard to start to their children and grandchildren. The sad reality is that most don’t successfully pass the first generation, very few get passed to second and almost none get to the third.
Having worked in family businesses for 50 years this is my advice: Keep business-business and family-family.
Work out your organization chart with more detail as you might otherwise, make sure each person understands their role and expect it to get done. Don’t overlook the non-family talent you have because if overlooked they will leave. Don’t allow the family to slack and don’t expect them to excel. They are just people too.
Train them, watch them and put them in the role they are best suited for. Don’t be afraid to change things as change is needed. Look way down the road and see where they fit, don’t look at where you want them to fit find out where they fit best, where is their talent, their passion, their drive.
Set boundaries get out of the office with your family. If they work for your family business be alert to make sure that you have “work free zones.” No one wants to discuss the problems at work while enjoying a nice family dinner.
When your children come to visit enjoy them as family. Don’t discuss work frustration over one of the family members with other family members unless that is the organized chain of communication. Let people have fun while with you.
Lastly, always define who runs the company. Who is the pilot? If it's you then do it. If you choose to delegate that to someone, great! Lay it out and run with it. Don’t dance around it. That is a soup pot boiling that will not taste well.
I read a story awhile back about a dad that had to fire his son. He called him into his office and had a company hat on. He said, “son you are fired.” He then switched his hat to a hat that said “Dad” and then he sat down and said to his son “I heard you lost you job. How can your mom and I help?”
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