I love all contracting businesses but I’m particularly fond of family businesses. After all, I was the 3rd generation at my family’s plumbing, heating and cooling business. And I’ve been coaching many family-owned contracting businesses for the past 15 years.
Here are just a few of the troubling challenges I see in many family businesses:
- The owners can never stop working because there’s no real business that can run without them. This is particularly problematic when the owners want to sell the business to the kids because all that does is put a ball and chain on the next generation.
- The owners give the business to the kids too cheap or with no objective benchmarks so they end up having to come back and (hopefully) rescue things.
What can you do about this and other challenges?
The very first place to start is with an organizational chart that spells out all the boxes it takes to run your company – even if your name is in every box. This org chart is helpful to any company but it’s even more important to a business filled with family members.
Next is to create a Master Project list of projects and habits that need to be put in place to make the company better.
The Master Project list then gets whittled down to a Top 30 list of projects and habits using these two filters: 1.) The project will either fix the biggest problem or challenge or 2.) give the company the greatest chance to grow and be profitable in the coming year.
Finally, the Top 30 project list gets whittled down again using the same two filters to until you have a Top Five project list that is agreed upon by the whole family. Going through this process helps to focus the family on accomplishing the same things to mutual benefit.
Where else do family businesses struggle?