Family business consultants can help families look at things from the outside in. Let’s face it, we all want to take care of our families and we want to take care of our businesses – in part because a well cared for business will take care of us. On the one hand we have today’s issues with the family to consider as well as this or that crisis at work. How can we figure out which is of greater significance right now – if one can be addressed?
You’ve heard the expression about not being able to see the forest for the trees. True enough when it comes to focus on what’s important to both the business and the family on our own. It’s so easy to become wrapped up in day-to-day activities, in the business and at home, that we fail to look at the big picture or think about the future beyond which wheel is squeaking the loudest right now.
That’s where family business consultants and coaches comes in. They can help us remember our long-term goals while we are naturally focused on the fires that are raging right in front of us right now. They can help us identify problem areas that need improvement today as well as those we’ll have to face in the future.
In some cases, that could mean changing staff assignments; who does what to head off problems of one kind or another that they can see looming ahead and that we will not recognize on our own until it is too late to handle them cost effectively.
Family business consultants can help us identify the strengths and weaknesses of individual family members, taking the heat for us when the resulting decisions are not popular. Cousin Bob might not be suited for sales, after all, even though that’s where he has been since he started with the company. In fact he may be the missing piece in your business puzzle somewhere else in the company. You know it’s true, when the right people are put in the right position, everything runs smoother and everyone is happier in the long run.
Even if it is right for him and a better fit for the company, Cousin Bob might not like his new job assignment at first. But, if the family business consulting team you hire knows their stuff, and Cousin Bob knows they know it and trusts you and them to be doing what’s right for everyone, then he will likely have the patience to grow into his new position and thrive over time.
Many family-owned businesses fail to grow as they should, not only because the members are in the wrong positions. It’s not unusual for someone in authority to believe that branching out or growing is “greedy”. But, unless you are running a not-for-profit organization, growth and diversification is necessary.
Regardless of what your company specializes in, there are other things that you can and should be investing in. Just as you would diversify your personal investment portfolio, your company should too. One of the many things that a family business consulting team can do is help you to identify worthwhile long-term investments.
They can advise you about short-term investments, too, but most family business consultants focus on the future. Generally speaking, business owners are accustomed to identifying short-term investments that are likely to be profitable. It is planning for the future that stymies them.
Regardless of your age or your physical health, you need to think about how the company will continue to operate and grow, in case the a key member of the management team dies or become disabled. A family business consulting team can help you identify who should take over and when they should begin training.
Far too often, good businesses fail after the death or disability of the CEO. What happened? The CEO might have failed to name a successor or failed to adequately train them.
If other family members are not heavily involved in the day-to-day operations, they are often tempted to liquidate, which means that future generations lose out.
Family business consultants can help you ensure that your company thrives, supports your grandchildren and continues to operate with the same philosophy that you have created.
Along with a qualified family business consultant, take a little time to think about your company’s future now, before it’s too late.
And success, for both business owners and their family business consultants, are the results of one thing and one thing only! Success comes from making better decisions. It’s that simple, not easy to do on your own however. In fact the most successful leaders and family business consultants among us, in every walk of life, systematically reach out to their hand-pick board of advocates and supporters for insights and advice.