Growth strategies for family businesses.

business success family business small business May 02, 2023

Every business faces its own set of challenges when trying to go to the next level of growth. However, growing a family business has some unique pros and cons that present both advantages and drawbacks. That is why only one in three family businesses survive to the next generation.

When a family business looks to grow, there is a stronger tendency to pull together, work harder and longer and do whatever is needed to see the company succeed. Family businesses can often make decisions more quickly because of the high-trust environment. That provides the ability to quickly pivot to take advantage of an opportunity.

However, there are some obstacles to growth unique to family businesses. As the business passes down from one generation to another, the company can become set in traditional ways of doing things. It can often feel like change is being disloyal to previous generations and their wishes. This can lead to a resistance to hiring non-family members out of fear it will change the culture, or the way things are done. This resistance to change can be very detrimental to growth.

Seven Ways to Successfully Grow a Family Business

  1. Take an inventory of current operations. Before you move forward with any plan for expansion or growth, its important to take stock of your current operations. Do you have the right processes in place, and will they scale as you grow? As with anything that is built, a foundation is essential to ensure a strong and long-lasting company.
  2. Make a growth plan. Having a desire to grow, or a great idea is not enough. Before you take risk, spend money or allocate resources, you need to start with a business plan. Determine the impact to your financials, resources that will be needed, strategies for marketing, your competitive differential, impact to current operations and establish benchmarks so you can evaluate progress at regular intervals. Know where you are now, where you want to go and outline the actions you will take to get there.
  3.  Get everyone on board. Even if you are the head of the company, it’s important that you have the support of everyone involved in the family business. Charging ahead without getting buy-in, could plant the seed for resentment. Communicate the plan for growth and discuss why growth is important to the long-term success of your business. There are many more emotions involved with family businesses, so it’s important to be transparent with your growth plan.
  4.  Don’t lose sight of family and company values. As you move forward with growth, it’s important not to lose what matters to your family business. Be intentional about identifying your family and company values, and ensure they are incorporated into your brand identity as you grow.
  5.  Hire people who share your values. The time comes when every family business must hire a non-family member to support the company’s growth. Your new employees must not only be competent to do the job, but they need to share your family and company values.
  6.  Manage metrics. What is measured will drive results. Goals needs to be simple, attainable and measurable. There is a need for strong accountability in a family business. Accepting excuses for poor performance will not result in a healthy company. Keeping goals and results transparent will ensure everyone stays focused on the right priorities.
  7.  Build a growth culture. By establishing a company culture that is committed to growth, you can remove the fear of change that can cripple a family business. A growth culture drives a company to be competitive through developing new products and services, delivering a next level customer experience and highlights the importance of profitability.


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