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Tips For Managing A Family Business

Managing a family business can be challenging. It often requires a careful balance of work-life and personal life. Clearly establishing boundaries and fine-tuning roles is the key to long term success. Remember, the people you work with will also be the people you share a dinner table with. That’s what makes the dynamics of family businesses so special and unique.


Developing Leadership Roles


Leadership roles are vital in any business. Just like with any company, a family business requires strong leaders who are goal-driven and determined. Establishing a clearly defined leader in a family business can be a little tricky at times.

Many times, family members often feel their role in the company should be equal to everyone else’s. Keep in mind that it is possible to respect other people’s opinions and value their input even if they aren’t a leader. A ship always has a captain who can ultimately take charge and delegate tasks and there’s no reason a business should be any different.


Some of the most successful leaders are the ones who lead by working alongside their employees. They understand that though they have more decision-making power, they are not above anybody as a human being. The best leaders aren’t afraid to come out from behind their desks and get their hands dirty on the frontlines. They lead by example and would never ask their employees to do something that they wouldn’t do themselves.


Leaders can also be established for various aspects of the business. For example, you could implement a production leader, a recruitment leader, and a customer service leader. These branches of the company can then be delegated equally important responsibilities. They’ll be tasked with acting as liaisons for their respective areas of expertise and they’ll collaborate together to make joint decisions for the company.


Manage With Mindfulness


When it comes to managing a family business, pinpoint what everyone’s expertise is. Everyone is better at certain things and may lack in other areas. Resources, time, money, knowledge and experience need to be delegated appropriately.


Family business leaders often grew up in the family business and therefore have very strong opinions about how things should be done. Some people lead with the idea of, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” This can be especially true in family businesses that put greater emphasis on tradition.

Don’t be afraid to listen to new ideas or try new things. Younger family members may be more in touch with ideas to grow your company’s reach.


Unitary leaders can do amazing work but when it comes down to it, there are only so many hours in a day. One person cannot be expected to do everything. Delegating tasks to others will not only allow for a healthy work/life balance, but it will also enable the company to be more productive and operate more smoothly.

Set Clear Boundaries


Entitled mindsets can be common in family businesses. It’s also common for roles and boundaries to be murky and easily overstepped. Just like with any business, success hinges on clearly established boundaries, policies, and roles.

Determine clear core values and standards and hold all employees accountable to them. Your company’s reputation rests upon these values so it’s crucial for all employees to represent your beliefs.

Make sure everyone within the business is aware of what is expected of them. Their roles should be clearly defined, that way there are no gaps or overlap in work. This ensures efficiency and the greatest return on efforts.


Set Goals And Create A Plan


Determine the needs of your business and then set goals to fulfill those needs.

Goals should be attainable, realistic and have steps to achieve them. Identifying where your business needs to go can be a great way to access untapped potential.

Good leaders inspire and motivate their employees to attain the goals set for themselves and for the company as a whole. Family businesses are obviously in it for the long-term and therefore they should have long-term goals in mind.


Bring In Outside Opinions


Implementing a shareholders’ council, a board of directors or a family council are great ways to bring in an outside point of view. Collaborating with advisory groups can also take the power balance aspect of management away from one particular family member.

Shareholders’ councils help to give a voice to the owners. A board of directors addresses the needs of the business and the owners. Implementing a family council gives the family a voice and acts as a liaison between family members and the business itself.

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