Statistics from the Small Business Administration show that 90% of all businesses in North America are family-owned businesses, but only a third of these make it to the next generation of the family. This is a little startling when you consider how many convenience stores are family-owned. Family stores will remain prevalent in the convenience store industry for years to come, and we want to keep them thriving.
Here are five tips to keep your family-operated business running smoothly — or as smoothly as humanly possible. Let’s face it, there are going to be complications and arguments anytime you own and run a business, but we hope these tips will help.
Understand roles and make sure they are defined.
It’s common for people that work in family businesses to not define roles. They just tackle whatever needs to be done at the time. This can lead to serious conflict. Having no clear leader, and not knowing who is responsible for what can hurt your business and lead to less productivity. Sit down and discuss which different tasks and roles should be assigned to who. This way, there is no confusion, and everyone is held accountable.
Include the upcoming generation.
Give the next generation opportunities to work part time and experience what working at the family business is like. Encourage them to further their education and also take interest in their dreams. Set specific rules and guidelines for working there, and hold them responsible for doing their job well. Don’t pressure them into joining the family business though, let them decide their own career path. If they do decide to to work with the family, make sure to mentor them and help guide them through it.
Write out the business principles.
This will give the family a sense of ownership and togetherness. Be sure to include everyone, so they don’t feel as if their ideas aren’t taken into account. Include things such as the mission and vision statement, policies, benefits, etc.
Handle everyday pressures together.
This will make every member feel like they are included. It’s crucial to communicate with each other and come up with solutions to daily problems. You can set up weekly business meetings where everyone can sit down and discuss things that need to be taken care of. Additionally, you have to make time to just be family. Go on vacations and have weekly dinners where business talk is out the window. Family bonding time is excellent for building trust and healthy relationships.
Hire employees outside of the family.
By doing this, you can add a bit of diversity to your staff. Outside employees can bring their talent and skills into the workplace and give an unbiased opinion. Independent employees can give the business a sense of professionalism that is sometimes lost in family owned operations.