Professional Intervention in the Family Business

Professional Intervention in the
Family-Owned Business

Running a successful family business is substantially more difficult than running a non-family business. There are many contributing factors.

Conflict between generations as to the strategic requirements of the business – what to the goals and how do we get there.
Financial information is rarely disseminated to even the top managers (family and non family members) thereby thwarting those managers who, in fact, may be skilled in strategic planning, budgeting, costing, pricing, etc.
A family business will generally have more severe problems in recruiting and retaining non family professional managers since upward mobility and advancement are restricted.
The dynamics for successfully managing a family business are blurred and often difficult to ascertain – is it a Family First Business or a Business First Family?
Because a family business tends to be more paternalistic in management style than a non family business, performance standards tend to be poorly described or non-existent for most segments of the business.
Because hard operations management information is scarce or not existent, outside advisors such as attorneys, financial planners, CPA’s and other professional counselors rely on perceptions of reality steeped more in “how it has always been” rather than “how much better should it be”. This is a crucial deficiency because it disengages the professional resources from serving both the business and the family as well as they could if they were dealing with timely, accurate and factual operating information about the business.
The management dynamics of a family business are often more consensual than action or performance orientated. Thus, a family business is generally not able to react to problems and take the required remedial action as quickly as a non family business.
The ego of an entrepreneur is such that they feel capable of doing everything themselves. Because they feel they can do “better” than anyone else, it is difficult for them to let go – either to delegate to subordinates or asking for professional help even when they know that help is needed.