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Running a Family Business


E Column

If you are in a family business – Come to DC February 17 & 18 for U.S. Beverage Industry Expo where I will be moderating two sessions on Surviving a Family Business with speakers who have the professional background and personal experience in the ups and downs of family business.

Being a part of a family business presents unique challenges as well as positive opportunities. Maintaining the balance between the wants and needs of the family (or friends) and the needs of the business can leave everyone walking a tightrope.

Whether you are in the midst of running a business with family and friends or just thinking about it, there are some things you need to be aware of.

Understand each family member as they are today

Sometimes it hard to see our parents, children or siblings as the individuals they are today rather than the people they were in the past. Parents and older siblings should remember that their younger siblings or children are now adults with new ideas and opinions. Children and younger siblings should see their elders as having a great deal of experience and knowledge. Even if you don’t agree it’s important to listen. There are always going to be differences between generations. Listening with an open mind to new ideas and traditional ways of doing business is helpful.

Keep business decision-making within the members of the family involved in the business

It helps if family members or in-laws not involved in the business do not try to exert influence over those that are. While everyone has the right to an opinion, that doesn’t mean that those opinions should always be expressed. Leave the decision making to those who are primarily involved.

Divide up family time and professional time

If you are having a family dinner, that is not the time to talk about business, it’s time for the family. Keep business discussions to the workday.

Suit the job to fit the person

Define the roles and fit the family members to the positions to which they are best suited and have the experience for. Many family businesses have policies that mandate that anyone coming into the family business has experience working at other businesses first.

Non-related employees vs family employees

Members of the family filling positions within the company should be subject to the same rules as non-family employees.

For more information on family businesses, join me in Washington DC, February 17 & 18 for US Bev X where I will be presenting two seminars on surviving a family business.

For information check out www.usbevexpo.com

See you there.

A tip of the glass from me to you

Elizabeth SlaterE Column
by Elizabeth “E” Slater, In Short Direct Marketing

A recognized expert in the fields of direct marketing and sales in the wine marketplace. Slater has taught more wineries and winery associations how to create and improve the effectiveness of their direct marketing programs and to make the most of each customer’s potential than anyone in the wine industry today.

Follow E on twitter @esavant and facebook.

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