I was just interviewed for a newspaper article on the topic of the dangers to 2nd and 3rd generation family small businesses. The question was – What characteristics or temperament does a second- or third-generation small-business owner need to survive? What challenges do they face?
Allow me to share my response with all of you…
- Must have worked somewhere outside the family business before coming back. Diversity, different ideas, and making it somewhere outside the family circle will all bring a perspective and depth of business acumen that often is lacking in family that never “leave the nest.”
- Must be able to effectively create a transition point from past to present. This includes past generations of family that at what time were the bosses, AND importantly the employees that have spanned generations. There needs to be clear messaging on who’s in charge.
- Must be a strong communicator and influencer.
- Must be able to separate family from business. I call it the “Godfather” trait. It’s not personal; it’s business. Not allowing family members to feel entitled, or allow them to not do good work is critical to creating a string employee culture and business reputation.
- Find expert help. Consultants, coaches, mentors, mastermind groups, executive groups, and associations all can provide help to avoid stagnation in thinking and ideas.
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