How do you create a family business?
By definition a family business is created from the joining of two or more members of the same clan. Two brothers have an idea, they add willpower and some money and that's it: a small family business is created; a couple decides to invest the savings in a venture and another company is created; or a mother and a son; as noted, several may be the models.
Most family businesses start shy; a small beauty salon, a coffee shop, sometimes with members and a single employee, and often are no more than that; there are others that evolve and after a few years they become a larger structure with different business units, so it is necessary to hire professionals to prominent positions, coming from the market. This is what we call here outsider.
The management of a family business has distinct aspects to consider, which go well beyond the usual management. When the transaction starts, there is a natural tendency in these companies to inform the action. Many times this is perpetuated even though the company becomes something great; is cultural. To live with this, it is necessary to understand and accept that this is part of that structure.
Another very common feature of family businesses is the nepotism, a term used to refer to favoring relatives (or close friends) over more qualified people, especially with regard to appointment or elevation of positions.
So it is common to see family members who do not have talent, nor adequate training for a given area, to be appointed directors; is a nephew who is going to get married and therefore needs a position of respect and a higher salary; a daughter who sought her way out until she tired of being alternative and decided to embrace the challenges of the family company; the reasons that lead to these appointments are emotional, personal, go beyond the meeting rooms of the office, taking the decision of the Sunday lunch of the family.
When there is a clear perception that the appointed director is not qualified and a outsider that really dominates the subject, the result of that area has a great chance of being reached; however, there are situations where the unprepared directors see themselves alone, because those who have invested them believe that they will try to understand how they should manage their areas and often the result is much lower than expected. This can lead to conflicts that mix emotions, as well as family and business tensions.
Notice that the first decision results in increased costs for the company, since the director will be a high salary facade and will have at his side a qualified and valuable professional to actually direct the area. Many times investors and minority shareholders are dissatisfied with these nepotist attitudes, since they also pay for it.
The second decision, leaving the inexperienced director to his own fate, involves a high risk since the area devoted to his care can be wrecked and generate losses that will have to be absorbed by all those involved. In the medium term this tends to generate conflict at board meetings.
But if someone is in search of an opportunity, has qualification and experience and is invited to participate in such a structure, as outsider you should pay attention to several details, all of them quite relevant.
Organogram or family tree?
In a family business, the chart is complex, not always rigid. At times you can do without some flexibility and, for this, it is important to be attentive, have a game of waist and good relationship with everyone. Understand that some people will never need to show that they generate value for the business and yet they will be there forever, or for a long time, it is a right attitude.
While strictly business organizations adopt weights and measures for the vast majority of professionals - if not for all - as performance appraisals, bonus programs by goals, etc., it is important to understand that in the family business some ties may be stronger than others. Although such programs are also adopted in them, they may not demonstrate impartiality in the results due to the emotional burden involved.
O outsider must be able to lead, create and present their projects, plan, motivate and motivate themselves, etc. Interlocution skills, loyalty, trust and emotional balance will ensure that you remain so that you can develop your career for a few years.
The photo above is from the family of TV series Succession which portrays power, articulations and the question of succession in a large family business and also presents some outsiders.
Parents and children enter conflicts, as well as couples, a group of brothers-in-law; O outsider should not forget that they cohabit outside the company - birthdays, baptisms - moments that the outsider has no opportunity to be. On these occasions, the issues are often resolved, appeased, and the next day, everyone returns to the company together, smiling, as if nothing had happened.
If the professional is qualified but does not tolerate nepotism, it will be difficult to develop in a family business that acts in this way. It's a matter of personal profile. If he is extremely competitive to the point where he can not bear to be seen as responsible for a good result that he has actually won, he will certainly be annoyed if that happens.
The paths are several and are at your disposal. A family business is a good school, just like any other company; in all there is an opportunity for growth, learning, overcoming challenges. What differentiates them, however, is the profile, just as there are more bold professionals while others are more discreet, and there is nothing wrong with it, they are just different characteristics. The road to success is to find out where your performance is best for setting there.