Turn your family business into the company of your dreams

Do you have a family business and you want to go the next level? It’s time for you to train your people, even if they are family members!

 If you have a family business and you already have customers, you are probably asking yourself how to build a professional structure to keep the customers you got.

Let’s see how you are doing by reading the following sentences:

  • I have many clients but sometimes I do not cover all the family expenses, I’m not sure what the company’s net profit is at the end of the month.
  • I am still working on operational tasks and do not have time to think about the long-term
  • Every employee does a little of everything, there are no clear tasks
  • We do not have clear objectives, or we have some but my employees do not meet them and I do not know why
  • We constantly receive the same customer complaints
  • Employees always turn to me instead of their immediate bosses
  • Each employee does his or her work differently, even when it is the same task
  • Employees do not propose improvements at all
  • I do not feel that employees are committed; we are not like a team!
  • Every time I spend more time in the company, I am the only one in the family who arrives early and leaves late

 family business

Does any of these sentences sound like you? Then you should better keep on reading the next tips:

1) Delegate or delegate

The great thing about building a company is making it grow, but the worst thing about it is getting others to deliver “as we would do it.” However, delegating and letting others take part of our daily tasks is key to keep the family business growing. We cannot delegate if we believe there is only one-way to do things right.  If we actually think there is a “best way” of doing it, we just need to make sure we write down the process “TO BE” and standardize it so that everybody else knows about how to do it. Then, all you have to do is monitor the standard is being followed. What it is important is that we start focusing our efforts on more strategic and long-term tasks, that others cannot do.

Tip #1: if you want your employees to be great leaders, train yourself first to be a great leader.

Tip #2: if you want your employees to be great leaders, train yourself first to be a great leader.

2) Define roles and responsibilities:

Every company requires that each of the processes performed (set of tasks that are organized in a particular sequence and add value to the customer) are well defined and standardized (such as purchases, production, payments, sales), and have a manager who controls them. This is no exception in the family business, and while it is normal that at the beginning every family member does a little of everything, still we have to try to define a structure of roles and responsibilities.

Let’s think of the company as an orchestra, where the owner is the director. While the director is visible to guide everyone, each of the musicians must have their own music sheet, so that they know when it’s their turn to play.

Tip#3: Clearly define what needs to be done, how, who should be able to do it, and who should “own it”.

3) Hire or not to hire

Family businesses often occupy all positions with relatives and only hire people from outside ultimately when there is no other choice available. Well, it all depends on the position and the experience required and the level of trust required to do the job. You probably also allow your relatives reduced and flexible schedules, and that may be OK for some admin tasks but not OK for other tasks like sales.

You should consider how critical, strategic or confidential is the task or the information utilized.There are some specific tasks that require some degree of knowledge that an outsider professional or even a contractor can do more effectively and end up being more affordable in the long term, even if the salary is higher than hiring “your mom”. Remember that knowledge is also a very valuable asset in your organization, so an outsider with experience in other businesses can help you solve issues in a different and more efficient way, that has already been proven somewhere else!  Remember also that usually

Tip #4: Define the position requirement based on the tasks to be performed, not only on the people available. Remember, it is not individuals who make successful businesses, but teams.

Building a family business is wonderful, especially if you enjoy keeping your family around at all times. Nevertheless, running a family is not the same as running a business, because you are serving someone in the outside: the customer. To go to the next level, train every single employee (family member or not) to serve the customer the way you dream about it.

 

Luciana Paulise

Founder & CEO Biztorming Training & Consulting

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