Family Business Questions
How can I balance my family within business?
There is no magic, turnkey solution to this dilemma that every family business has dealt with at some point in their lifespan. The business is always important but you cannot replace your family. Take the time early in your children’s lives to be a parent and show them the values you hold dear as a family. Build the foundation of a strong family unit to yield success. Our online unit on ‘Balancing Family and Business’ may help you clarify some of the nuances on this tricky balance!
How early should I introduce my children to the family business?
It is never too early to begin some of the family bonding activities that can help bring, and keep, a family together. Take time each week to be together as a family, play a board game, use meal times to talk together, work with the kids to plan an activity, possibly a family vacation. Hear what our co-founder, Nan-b de Gaspé Beaubien, has to say about this!
It’s also never too early to begin teaching them the value of money and how to budget what you have. A modest allowance is a great way to begin this lesson with younger children. Lee Hausner has given us some more insight on this issue as well.
What is the difference between ownership and management?
Quite simply, owners own and managers manage! Generally speaking, and this may depend on the ownership structure in place, owners work ON the business and have a longer term outlook while managers work IN the business and are more concerned with shorter term operations. Learn more about this tricky distinction in our unit on Navigating Ownership.
Who should I include in making decisions for the family and the business?
It really depends on your definition of family and how old your family or children are. Some families would prefer to address sensitive topics with the immediate family only whereas others are eager and willing to include in-laws and younger children. Do what is best for you but inclusion and a fair process are important elements in building trust. When in doubt, take our self-assessment on ‘Who is family’ or our unit on ‘Decision-Making Processes’.
How can I start planning ahead for the future of my family and my business?
The most important thing to remember is to start where you are, as soon as you can. Create some common ground, don’t be afraid to discuss the future, use your values and principles as a family to guide your planning process and don’t forget to dream! You can learn more in our unit on ‘Planning Ahead’.
How can I strengthen my family and business?
There are many important things to remember, too many to list here. Understand that life cycles play a big part in our outlook and perspectives, be open to other opinions and change, take time for the family and the business but don’t forget to communicate, communicate, communicate! Our course on ‘Communication and Conflict Management in Family Businesses’ might provide some insight on this for you.
How can I leave a legacy?
One of the hallmarks of family businesses, often, is their commitment to the communities they come from. Just as your family can shape your views and values, so to can your community and involvement in the community. Take time to show others that you care about them and the wellbeing of where you operate. Anyone can write a check but not all are willing to give their time as well. Hear more about this in our ‘Place Your Anchor’ section of our website.