The family dynamic or the dynamic family

A guest blog from Dee Beckett of Mosaic

At Mosaic (www.mosaicbusinessgrowth.co.uk) we consider ourselves very lucky to be able to work with a wide variety of businesses which span across a diverse range of industries including marketing, HR, law, accountancy, IT, roofing supplies, osteopathy – to mention just a few!  From start-ups to high value, high turnover, established companies we provide advice, guidance and support to those who wish to grow quickly but also wish to do so from a stable, secure foundation. With over 20 years of corporate experience we are in a very fortunate position to be able to look at current practice and future goals and work together with our clients to construct a strategy to get them to the exact place they want to be – and all this by working smarter rather than simply working harder.

Management structures and management styles can vary widely amongst our clients, but today I wanted to concentrate solely on a sector which has its own features, strengths and challenges – the family business.  Now, these may be organisations which have thrown together parents and children, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives or a mix of all of these; the main factor differentiating them from other businesses is that the relationship between owner and employees (most often at a senior management level) goes far beyond the day-to-day working environment.

In demanding times

Current times demand much of the average SME.  Expectations are generally very high and there is a constant pressure to grow – and grow fast.  Unfortunately the ‘British Way’ (a generalisation, I admit) involves a degree of reluctance to seek help, trying instead to address issues in-house without relinquishing details of perceived weakness or failure to any outside person or body.  Whilst this is no more prevalent within family businesses than in any other sector, it is an additional factor which can sometimes lead to tension between family members in the workplace.  A failure to accept that the solution to a problem lies with the family group can sometimes delay the acceptance of assistance from independent specialists.

Future planning for family businesses

Fortunately at Mosaic we specialise in bringing together the skills and passion which already exist within a business and adding a degree of corporate acumen to identify where any ‘gaps’ in expertise may lie.  In addressing the areas in question we are then able to shape the company into a strong and highly successful venture.  When it comes to future planning for family businesses we know that it is of utmost importance to recognise individuals rather than the family unit as a whole, looking at what each person brings to the mix and making sure that their specialisms are being utilised to maximum effect.  Whilst some believe that family relationships can hinder progress we most often find that, when fully aligned, the family unit makes decisions and takes action faster than an average SME board.  For this reason they have the potential to make that all-important switch from working harder to working smarter in a shorter time than most.

Family businesses and succession

One area within family businesses which can require a very specific approach is that of succession.  We seldom see the jealousy and fierce competitiveness between siblings which Hollywood would have us believe is commonplace; the problem we most often have to tackle is the reluctance of a more junior family member to ‘step up’ to the top when a retirement looms.  In many cases it is deep-rooted respect which affects the self-belief of the successor – a refusal to accept that he / she is good enough to fill the very successful shoes of an elder.  This is a challenge which can be worked through, of course, and with adequate coaching and support the changeover can be planned, smooth and a pleasant experience for everyone involved!

Family businesses – Do ‘normal’ business rules apply?

We feel certain that the family business is not the place where normal business rules are broken or where relationship chaos gets in the way of the day-to-day job.  In most respects a company run between family members operates exactly as others do BUT has somewhat of a ‘secret weapon’ in the shape of strong personal bonds, the sharing a common goal to succeed in the long term.  Working with the dynamics (and harnessing the business advantages to be achieved) is something which we, at Mosaic, look forward to doing for some considerable time to come.

 

This week’s blog was a guest piece written by Dee Beckett of Mosaic Business Growth. Should you wish to find out more about what Dee and Mosaic do for all kinds of businesses, then email Dee directly at dee.beckett@mosaicbusinessgrowth.co.uk or call on 07388 022473.