Family Business Strength

Five FamBiz Strengths to Capitalize On

It’s been a couple of months since my last “5 Things…” post, so it’s time to pull that framework out again.

This time the emphasis is on the positive, though, as we look at the bright side of family businesses.


Here we go with 5 FamBiz strengths to capitalize on:


  1. Long-term view

Most family business leaders are much more concerned with the very long-term success of the company than they are about the short term.

Managers of publicly traded companies are typically much more focused on their next quarterly financial report.

For a business owned by a family, the month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter and even year-to-year fluctuations are far less important.

When you’re trying to build something for your family, that could hopefully include not only your children but also your grandchildren, a long-term view just comes naturally.

Smart family businesses capitalize on that strength by constantly building their staying power, and not getting sidetracked by having to look good every quarter.


  1. Trust

One of the main reasons people choose to hire family members is because they trust them.

It’s natural to trust those you know well more than those you do not and those who come from the same background as you do.

Hiring family members ticks both those boxes quite well.

Of course, there are exceptions, where knowing someone well simply confirms that you cannot trust them, and those scenarios arise in far too many families.

But in terms of strengths that family businesses can capitalize on, the ability to put people into a position to succeed by empowering them is something that built-in trust allows them to do quite readily.


  1. Brand

There was a time when calling yourself a family business was seen as quaint and somehow admitting to being less good than “real” businesses.

That pendulum has swung back pretty strongly in last decade or so. I’m not sure exactly what’s behind it, but it certainly feels very real.

There have been plenty of surveys done in recent years that confirm that customers often prefer to deal with family businesses whenever possible.

Part of it is surely the “buy local” phenomenon, to help keep neighbourhood businesses thriving, but even large-scale businesses are no longer shying away from self-identifying as family businesses.

Not many have actually incorporated this fact into their branding per se, but S.C. Johnson certainly has.

They’ve even recently kicked it up a notch, changing their slogan from “A Family Company” to “A Family Company at Work for a Better World”.


  1. Work Ethic

You may want to lump this one in with Trust, but I like to talk about it separately. The person who started and grew the business is usually a hard worker, and that hard work surely contributes to the company’s success.

When their children or other family members come on board, that work ethic is usually contagious. Most offspring will exhibit similar tendencies to their parents.

Of course, as with trust, there are exceptions. We have all seen them and heard about them. I maintain that there are far more good examples that we never hear about, than bad examples that make the news.

Good parenting and leading by example are a huge part of this, and the exceptions noted above are often related more to shortcomings as a parent as opposed to business leadership.


  1. Magic (Intangibles)

I will forgive readers who have never actually worked for a family business for not understanding this point about “magic”.

It may just be one of those things that you have to experience to understand in depth.

There are aspects to these intangibles that manifest themselves in good times and in bad.

Successful family businesses usually feel a bit like a family even for those who are not related to the family that owns the company.

Celebrating successes with family members is usually a much richer experience. And maybe part of that is having come through some of the setbacks together as a team.


Capitalizing on these Strengths

Sometimes we don’t recognize what we have until someone from the outside points it out to us. Most fish love water, but they probably don’t really know that.

So if you are part of a family business, I hope you will look at this list and recognize some of these as strengths, and hopefully capitalize on them, even more, going forward.

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