It’s been a while since we’ve blogged at Family Business Place. We’ve been concentrating on growing the business, expanding our reach and trying to talk to as many family businesses as possible so that we can make sure we are providing useful and relevant services.
The last few weeks have been a great illustration of why we love working with family-run businesses. We’ve been approached by a number of businesses who are looking for change. They know that something has got to change in order for them to thrive and grow but, because they work IN the business all day every day, they can’t see what that change needs to be.
For some, it’s a simple case of restructuring when the successor takes over the helm. The business itself is essentially the same beast as it’s always been. But there is someone new to get used to. Even though they’ve probably been working for their business all their life, suddenly they are the one making the decisions. This is where internal communication and PR are crucial; get everyone on board with the changes, assure them that there’s not threat or risk and they’ll be happy to carry on with their job. Fail to communicate with employees (and suppliers and clients), and you risk going downhill very quickly. One man doesn’t make a business and failure to engage with the rest of the team will have detrimental effects.
For other family businesses, a change at the helm often comes hand in hand with a new direction for the company. Perhaps the successor has had to sit back and watch whilst his father fails to react to a changing market. But now is his time to shine, and to make an impact on the business. This shake up will, of course, come up against much opposition – nobody likes change. But be brave. If you want to take the business online, do it. If you want to invest more cash in research and innovation then who should stop you. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can be the saving grace of a family business. And someone who is not afraid to shake things up a little could well be the reason the business survives for generations to come.
Editor-in-Chief, Family Business Place