While family-owned businesses are different, they aren’t all unique. Most owners we’ve come across count at least a few of the following amongst their own family-owned business issues:
And even in the most successful of family-owned enterprises can relate to these two universal areas of concern:
When family-owned businesses haven’t planned together for these two eventualities, any minor business or family issue has the potential to become a major family conflict. Planning together balances the tension between the family’s expectations for dividends and careers, and the business’ demands for funding and talent.
Now imagine a business family that develops a shared view of the family’s values, which then informs a clear business vision and strategic plan. Picture this same family then documenting simple agreements and plans for future generations that anticipate the common family concerns noted above. This is where an experienced, emotionally-detached executive from the outside can really help.
It takes time and effort (what doesn’t?) but the outcome can be sustainable “family business magic”, in which the future stewards of the family business legacy can rely on established procedures and consistency – not personalities and power – to become the drivers of all their family business interactions!