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Looking at Family Business From Both Sides

mandy mcintyre march influencer
April 6, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

RCS Influencer Mandy McIntyre says getting an outside perspective is vital to the health of the company. 

Editor’s note: The following consists of a conversation between RCS Multimedia Manager Megan Ellsworth, and Mandy McIntyre. You can listen to the podcast or read the transcript below. 

Megan Ellsworth: Hello, everyone. My name is Megan Ellsworth, here at rooferscoffeeshop.com, and I am back again for the March Influencer Response with Mandy McIntyre. Hi, Mandy. 

Mandy McIntyre: Hi, Megan. 

Megan Ellsworth: Super excited. This is a fun topic this month, and the topic is, what is your advice for running and growing a family business? So what advice do you have for everyone, Mandy? 

Mandy McIntyre: Well, so this is an interesting one, and I put some thought behind this before today because I've been on both sides of this spectrum, so to speak. So growing up, my parents owned a general contracting business, so as a little kid, I would help cleaning up job sites, and then when I was a teenager, I would help in the office with paperwork and payroll.  

So I was actually really excited about this topic, and I did a little research for today and I didn't know this, but 90% of American businesses are family owned or controlled. This is from inc.com, Inc Magazine. So that ranges in size from two-person partnerships to Fortune 500 firms. They account for half of the nation's employment and half of our gross national product, so family businesses are a big deal.  

I didn't realize it was that high! Yeah, and so, a family business, according to inc.com, is defined as two or more family members involved in the majority of ownership and/or control lies within the family, so clearly, family businesses are vital to the economy. They're a big part of our economy.  

And so, my take on this is a couple things. First, there can be some issues for a family business with a workforce that is not family. If you're working for a family business, and again, this is a business where the majority ownership lies within a family, you have to think in terms of your non-family employees, because a family workforce is easily attainable, but outside workforce is not.  

And we have a continued labor shortage and an increase in workers wanting to feel included, wanting to feel a sense of purpose in their work, so if you're in a family business, you really have to think of, okay, what's the fuel that would be driving people to come work for us? But as a family business, what is the friction that might deter somebody from wanting to come work for our company?  

And again I've been on both sides, and I work with family businesses, and they're great. With me, I've actually had the hesitation, like, if I were to ever go somewhere else for employment, how would I feel about working for a family business if I'm not part of the family? What are my options as far as growth, because typically, family business, the leadership team is the family.  

So I have some words of advice on this. I think it's important for a family business to be diverse in their workforce, as far as non-family members being on and on leadership teams and management positions, because really, outsiders can be a stabilizing and uplifting force for a family business. 

So having that diverse mindset and experience really elevates the business. If a company has been around for 20 years and mainly run by family, there could be some missed opportunities, fresh ideas, outside experience being brought to the table and implemented, so really, I think you have to evaluate your positions and who's fulfilling them.  

Do you have the right person in the right seat, or is it just a family member in a seat that really might be better well-suited with somebody else? And those are hard decisions to have, or to make, and topics to discuss with family, because I mean, I can remember my mom and dad, oh, God, fighting. And it would be in front of workers and I'd be, "Oh my God, this is so embarrassing." But you have to keep that in check. You have to keep Thanksgiving table talk at the table and not at your business meeting table. You know what I mean? 

Megan Ellsworth: Oh, absolutely. 

Mandy McIntyre: Yeah. And maybe it's just even getting a consultant or an advisor or someone to come in and take a look at your company and really see it from an outside perspective, because I think it's hard to get out of that family mindset and divide the line between family and business when it- 

Megan Ellsworth: Yes. No, that's so true, and that's actually something that one of our other influencers mentioned, was, outside consultants, outside opinions or perspectives, really helps and is so beneficial to a family business, so you're right on the mark with that. 

Mandy McIntyre: Thank you. Well, and I think too, if I were working for a family company, I might be afraid to bring up a concern of mine because it is the family as running the show, so I could see outside family members not being too comfortable with maybe bringing things up that might rock the boat, so to speak, but things that maybe really need addressed. And from the family aspect, they're not seeing it, but from the outside family team members, they're seeing it, but maybe they don't feel comfortable saying something. 

So that's where an outside consultant or advisor could come in and be that liaison, so to speak, between the family and the non-family workforce to keep some kind of cohesion and harmony going and just really make sure everyone's on the same page. 

Megan Ellsworth: Wow. Yes, absolutely. I mean, wow, everything you've said so far is just so on the dot. This is some great advice, people. You should be taking notes, everyone that's listening. 

Mandy McIntyre: Thank you, Megan. When I saw this topic, at first, I think I told you, I was like, "Oh, I'll skip that one because I don't work for a family business," and then I was like, "Well, wait a minute. Yeah, no, I do have some advice to give because I've been on both sides, and labor is just such an issue right now and the workforce is evolving. People want more. They want room for growth. They want at least the opportunity for it. So I think that's something to really consider with a family business, is, if you're a small business and the CEO, the president, and the vice president all have the same last name and you hire someone else in, is there really opportunity for growth for somebody new coming in? So just things to consider in my roofing experience and work experience two cents, for what it's worth. 

Megan Ellsworth: I love it. I think it's worth a lot, so thank you so much for sharing all of those thoughts with us today. Everyone who's listening to this should be paying attention because this is some great advice. 

Mandy McIntyre: Well, thank you. I appreciate it very much. 

Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely. Well, we appreciate you, Mandy, for being an influencer. Any last words on this month's topic? 

Mandy McIntyre: Last words, I really think my last words will be just really getting an outside perspective on your business because... and I think, really, that can apply to any business. When you're caught up in the mix of just the daily grind, sometimes you see something so much and it becomes so normal, but it's really maybe a detriment to your business. And so, getting that outside perspective, whether it's a non-family member employee, or an outside consultant or advisor, just someone to assess and give you a picture of how it looks from the outside versus what you're seeing and doing every day, because they're really two different things, so yeah. 

Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Mandy. 

Mandy McIntyre: Thank you. 

Megan Ellsworth: All right. Well, we will be chatting with you next month. 

Mandy McIntyre: Great. Thank you so much. 

Megan Ellsworth: Thanks. 

See Mandy's full bio here. 

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