By Enrique Soriano
All businesses face challenges, whether it is dealing with the changing economic landscape, the looming recession, bureaucracy, a highly regulated marketplace and intense competition. Family-owned businesses are not immune to these challenges. But by the very nature of a family business structure, there is also a unique set of opportunities that family businesses can leverage on.
For better appreciation, I am summarizing the list of benefits that a family enterprise can take advantage on:
Strong sense of loyalty and commitment: Family members often have a strong sense of loyalty to the business and its success. They are more likely to be committed and dedicated to the organization’s long-term goals, which can foster a high level of trust among family members.
Shared values and vision: Family members usually share common values, beliefs, and a long-term vision for the business. This alignment can contribute to a cohesive and harmonious work environment, where decisions are made with a shared understanding of the company’s core principles.
Succession planning: Having family members in the business can provide a pool of potential successors who are already familiar with the operations, culture, and values of the company. This can facilitate a smoother transition of leadership and ensure the continuation of the family legacy. They can also be groomed and prepared to take over key roles, preserving the legacy of the business and maintaining continuity.
Stewardship: Stewards understand and appreciate the legacy of the family business. They recognize the achievements, values, and traditions that have been established by previous generations and seek to uphold and build upon them, ensuring the continuity of the family’s entrepreneurial heritage.
Strong relationships and informal communication: Family ties often lead to strong relationships and open lines of communication. Family members working together can leverage their familiarity and trust to collaborate effectively, resolve conflicts more easily, and maintain a healthy work environment. In the area of communication within a family business, it can be more informal and direct. Family members may feel comfortable expressing their opinions and concerns openly, leading to quicker decision-making and problem-solving.
Support and Flexibility: Family members are often willing to go above and beyond for the business. They may be more flexible with their time, availability, and willingness to take on additional responsibilities when needed. This level of commitment can be valuable, particularly during challenging times or when the business requires extra support.
Savings due to cheap labor : Employing family members can provide cost savings, especially during the early stages of a business when financial resources may be limited. Family members may be willing to accept lower salaries or work without monetary compensation, reducing labor costs and improving the company’s financial viability.
Shared Preservation of a distinct Identity: Family businesses often have a unique culture and history. Having family members working in the business can help preserve and perpetuate this culture, ensuring that the organization maintains its distinct identity and values over time.
Stakes are high: Family members often have a personal stake in the business’s success, which can result in higher motivation and engagement levels. They are more likely to be emotionally invested in the company’s performance and take pride in its achievements, leading to increased productivity and a positive work environment.
Stability and legacy: Knowing you’re building for future generations encourages the long-term thinking needed for growth and success of family members.
It’s important to note that while these advantages can be beneficial, family businesses also face their own set of challenges. Balancing personal relationships with professional responsibilities and ensuring merit-based promotions are crucial to maintaining a healthy and successful family-run business. Indeed, working in a family business can be a double-edged sword due to the potential benefits and challenges it presents.
In the next article, I will highlight the challenges confronting family members working in the family business.