If you have a family business, you might find it hard to organize it in a way that is both professional and inoffensive to any of the family members. You might find yourself constantly resolving conflicts between certain members or hesitating about hiring someone outside of your close circle. Here are 7 tips to help you better organize a family business that can help you make sure you run it successfully.
First of all, communication is key. When working in a family business, it’s important to make sure that communication is as clear as possible. It’s always better to over-communicate than to have to read the minds of your family members. Never assume that the message is clear. Instead, always take the extra step and clarify.
You should also always set clear expectations from the get-go. Job expectations should always be communicated, whether it’s to family or non-family members to make sure everyone is on the same page. All employees should understand what their job role entails and what will happen if they fail to follow through on their responsibilities. Make sure to set the expectations as soon as you hire someone new..
Set the Ground Rules
As family relationships may shift over time, you should also set ground rules for the business. Plans and processes that relate to the business should be set in stone as they can help you avoid disastrous conflicts. Although you may feel like formal structures are unnecessary for your family business, they are critical to helping make sure everything stays on track. For example, you can clearly define each member’s job role and put it in writing, like an employment contract.
You should also come up with a business succession plan so that you can pass your business on to the next generation if that’s what you wish to do. This ensures a smooth transition so make sure that you have this plan set about 5 to 10 years before you decide to hand over the business. You can even put this directly into your business plan so that everyone knows what’s going to happen. Open discussions are critical as you can find out who wants to take on the business and who isn’t committed enough to do so. This can also help you avoid future rivalries and major problems.
You should also have a process in place for when a conflict arises in the business. Make this process clear to all employees to avoid any further problems.
Manage Employee Performance
It’s also important to measure and manage employee performance. This evaluation should be free from bias and should be based on objective data. All employees, whether family members or not, should be evaluated using the same criteria. That means that if a family member isn’t meeting their target then they should be treated like any other employee would in the same situation.
If performance isn’t improved after warning them, they should be let go, even if they are a critical family member. If you feel uneasy about doing this, you could hire a third-party coach or mentor to handle this process but make sure they have a direct and results-based approach when they have these difficult conversations on your behalf.
Store Valuables in a Secure Place
Another golden tip to follow is to always store business valuables in a secure location. If you don’t have your own secure storage place, you could look for a self-storage facility. Brisbane-based storage experts at Self Storage Newmarket recommend finding a secure storage facility for valuable business items to keep them out of harm’s way. You could also store big items that you have no place for in your office location. Files that you no longer need could also be stored in filing cabinets in these self-storage facilities.
Hire Non-family Members
A great tip to follow when managing and organizing your family business is to hire non-family members if they are more suited for certain roles. Many companies make the big mistake of only hiring family members and forcing some into roles that they don’t want or aren’t qualified to do. This causes business failure, especially if the role is a critical one. Instead, if you can’t find suitable family members, you should hire people with the skillset, passion, and credentials needed to do the job at hand.
You might feel tempted to avoid a temporary conflict by hiring a family member who wants a certain role. You shouldn’t do so as this could be dangerous to your business. If you have a family member who insists on joining the business but doesn’t have the qualifications, put them into an entry-level position and let them work their way up. If they don’t do well, you can then have a serious conversation with them.
Some businesses only promote and overpay family members, while others might do the opposite. You should always ensure fair treatment among employees, family members or not. Even though this might cause resentment at first, it can actually avoid more major consequences down the line.
Choose Business Over Family
Although this might not sound the best, if you are organizing a family business, you should always put business objectives ahead of familial relationships. This might be difficult but it’s essential to the success of the business in the long run. Owners should always put the benefits of the business above all and not succumb to the pressure of other family members. For example, once you decide to fire a family member, you must follow through on that decision, as if a member isn’t carrying their weight or isn’t productive, this can negatively affect the business.
Finally, you should always encourage innovation and creativity as they can sometimes become stagnant under the influence of family dynamics. Family businesses can sometimes become too dull if you only rely on Family members. Seeking advice and business know-how from external members can help you incorporate innovative and fresh ideas. It can also encourage creativity, which is critical to set your business aside from the crowd. Decision-making may also be difficult for family members if they are emotionally invested in the business so getting new ideas and insights from outside advisors can help make decisions easier and more effective for everyone involved.
It might not be the easiest task on earth to organize a family business, but it can be done if you follow these easy and useful tips. If you always communicate, set ground rules, store valuables in a safe storage facility, and always choose business objectives over family, it can be easy to manage your business and see it become a success. However, keep in mind that family members may feel offended by the change in tactics so it’s best to implement them from the beginning of the hiring process.