As a business owner, hearing “when can we take that vacation you promised?” from a spouse is not easy. Not sleeping is counter-productive. Lashing out is common. Consistently stressing about the bottom line will shove the business to its breaking point. And when you say “why am I’m busier than ever but not making any money?” you need to look everywhere else but at your profit and loss report.
Successful family businesses stick around for two, three, four generations because they focus on the whole picture, not just the profit.
It feels weird. It’s counter-intuitive. It’s not what they teach in school. It’s not what your parents taught you. It’s not what you here on the radio. Did I mention it feels weird?
With the 27 clients I’ve helped grow, I see a lot of truth in the “In Harmony Report” (PDF in new window) by Earnest & Young and the Kennesaw State University’s Cox Family Enterprise Center. In the report they share successful family businesses increase profit when they focus on these four things:
- Growth Ambition
The very last thing is profit.In successful business, profit is the result of doing everything else right not an end to itself.Click To Tweet
Branding is a throw away word. It’s overused and has too many definitions and thoughts tied to it. It’s lost its true meaning. From now on, I’m replacing branding with bonding because that’s what we do. We bond with a company.
Every company is a fictional character. We fall in love, loath, despise, congratulate, look-up to, empathize, and have an array of feelings towards characters. Your customers (and non-customers) share those feeling towards your company, your character.
Think about it. What brand of car do you own? What do you think of that brand? What qualities do the have/not have? What do you picture that brand doing in the world? How do you think they view the world? If you’re struggling, think about Ford and the government bail-out. How did you see them when they announced they were not going to take the money? I bet you have a character in mind or at least an idea of how they view the world because of that single event.
People bond with people. People bond with attitudes People bond with qualities. People bond over shared views of the world. People bond with emotion.
Bonding is what makes a company grow. There are many ways to bond with your customers (we’ll talk about those at a later time). Without a bond, you have customers who’ll easily switch to another company.
Family. You’re a unit. Your spouse and kids are your kin. They love you unconditionally. You have a natural bond (there is that word again) with them. Your employees are a part of your family. Your customers are family. Your vendors are a part of your extended family.
Everyone knows the family business… the on-goings, the ups and downs, the purpose. It’s what people call relationships and you have to work at your relationships.
Cohesion is the work you do to better your relationship with family members. It’s also includes things you do to foster better relationships within your family.
If cohesion suffers, your business crumbles to ashes. What are you doing to consistently better your family?
You’re in business because you have a goal (or three). You’re in business because you have the ambition to make shit happen. That same desire must live amongst your family members. It’s what drives the business to greatness and brings everyone closer to their goals. Without it, you begin to slide backward down the hill.
Growth does not necessarily mean profit growth. It can mean anything you want. Growth is the process of developing ___________.
What ambitions do your family members have? What are you doing to help them get there? What are they doing to help you reach your goals? It is a two-way street.
- Family succession sustainability
- Environmental sustainability
- Societal sustainability
- Industry sustainability
- Employee sustainability
- Financial sustainability
If a business is going to survive past its first generation, everything matters for future success.
Everything Leads to Profit
In successful business, profit is the result of doing everything else right and not an end to itself.
Stick around awhile, will you?