Managing a Family Business

When managing a family it is very important to ensure that relationships among family members are kept strong enough for the business to survive. It’s also important to remember that family bonds are much more important than any business venture. One of the best ways to maintain family unity is through an effective succession plan.

One of the most important things in managing a family business properly is ensuring that personal relationships among family members are keeping strong enough to stand the test of time even if the business does not. It is important to understand that family bonds are much more valuable than business because a business can be replaced but your family cannot.

Family members working together and considering each other’s needs and feelings will go a long way toward building a successful business.

Business and leisure are sometimes difficult to separate when families work and play together. However, family business owners must deal with these types of issues daily. A good way to do this is to establish a solid business plan that outlines the daily duties and responsibilities of each family member actively involved in the business. Establishing a solid business plan and work schedule will lighten the pressure on management personnel in situations where family members do not adhere to their policies, rules, and regulations.

Family members who choose to slack off rather than pull their fair share of the workload will essentially write their admonishment.

It is important to realize, however, that managing a business is not simple at all. There are times when difficult decisions have to be made to ensure the survival and profitability of the business. Any type of business should be managed as a serious entity and not just as a hobby, whether it is a family-owned business or not. Many organizations experience failure within the first year when not managed properly.

To avoid this failure, family members must commit themselves seriously to their own business just as they would commit themselves to punching the clock of an outside company. At times though, it can become difficult to maintain your focus or sense of purpose when all you have to do is walk down the hall to start work. However, management must ensure that all employees stay on track as much as possible.

It is also important to tackle issues of family succession, especially if the business owners have more than one child. There have been numerous cases where children of business owners fight over ownership rights. Owners must make it clear who establishes ownership of the business due to sudden death or any other unforeseen circumstances. This process can be accomplished through business succession planning. Having a defined succession plan in place will enable all the children to live harmoniously with one another while helping the business succeed.

There should also be a family member designated as the company leader or president to handle all business affairs. The leader should be capable of making sound business decisions, as well as maintaining the trust and respect of other family members. All family members and business partners must feel as comfortable as possible with business decisions and the overall direction of the company. Managing a family business successfully will help minimize inner fighting and bickering among family members and make for a more profitable and long-term family business.

THE AUTHOR: Sandy L Murray

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