Remember the reasons you started your business? Making your mark in this world. Freedom. More fun. Control of your destiny.
And then one day you woke up and it felt like you had an albatross wrapped around your neck. You’re working harder than ever. Your team isn’t clicking the way you want. There is conflict within the family. Money is tight. And fun – what’s that?
Unfortunately for many family business owners, they don’t experience the very things that attracted them to take the risk in first place. In fact, they are continually frustrated.
Here are the top five frustrations that keep a lot of business leaders up at night. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
Control: The buck stops with you. Then why does it feel like the business is running you, especially your own schedule? You’re working harder and longer hours. And if you calculate your true hourly rate, you want to cry like a baby.
Profit: The business is not generating enough profit and cash flow to invest in the people, training, technology, and equipment that your business needs to scale up. The lack of profit is also the cause of why you cry like a baby when you look at your compensation or lack thereof.
People: Not only is no one on the same page, there is no single page to get on. There are alternate plans in drawers throughout the company. There is no singular focus on direction. On a day-to-day basis, you feel more like you’re a referee rather than a business owner.
Hitting the Ceiling: The business feels like it is stuck. At one time, the team and company were clicking on all cylinders, but for some reason it’s not anymore. Maybe not enough growth, or maybe too much. Maybe you’re not as efficient or as profitable as you know you should be. Or maybe you just want more balance in your life.
Nothing is working – No matter how many great books you read or how many seminars you go to, whatever you take away from them to implement in your business doesn’t seem to stick. You hear or sense your team saying, “Don’t worry, this too will pass and we’ll go back to doing things the same way.”
If these frustrations are part of your 2 a.m. routine, here’s the good news – you’re normal. Many family business leaders struggle with these issues. And while many family business leaders have these problems, some family business leaders don’t.
Family business leaders who are experiencing time freedom, profitability, healthy team culture and growth have committed to strengthening these eight key areas of their business:
Vision: Agree upon a clear vision in writing with the leadership team, and then get everyone in the company 100% on board with the vision.
People: Get the right people – people that share your core values – in the right seats. These are people who are really talented “rock stars” for their positions. And get the wrong ones off the bus.
Issues: Openly and honestly calling out issues when they surface – and solve them for the long-term greater good of the organization. Don’t treat symptoms with band-aids or duct tape – get to the root cause and solve it for good!
Data: Get a pulse on your business through a handful of activity-based numbers that are reviewed weekly. This will give you a pulse on the activities and results of what’s happening in your business now.
Process: Want to be able to scale your company to whatever size you want? Make it easier to manage, more efficient, more profitable, and fun (again)? Then get to work documenting your way of doing business from a simplified high-level approach. This will drive consistency throughout the business and make its success less reliant on any one individual (including you, the owner).
Rhythm: Your organization needs to create accountability and discipline by agreeing on 3-to-5 priorities every 90 days. Review progress with the leadership team weekly and post results company-wide.
Governance: The common denominator of family business success (growth, profitability, and unity) is a strong governance structure. These are the rules that everyone abides by, regardless of position or bloodline. This includes putting in writing why the family business exists, the family core values, policies (family hires, compensation, advisory boards, succession, etc.), and a structure to educate and facilitate communication between family members, especially when the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong.
End your frustrations now. Focus on these eight key areas of your business with your leadership team, and things will begin to fall into place. You and your leadership team will be freed up, you’ll be accomplishing more in less time, and it will feel like your business can run itself.
Tom Garrity is the Managing Partner of Compass Point Consulting, Concannon Miller's business consulting partner. If you would like more information on this topic, Tom can be reached at 610‐336‐0514 or email@example.com.