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Five Steps to Running a Successful Family Busines

John Nelligan


It can be hard enough to run a company by yourself, let alone running a business with people who know every detail about you. Problems can easily arise in a family business when the professional working relationship runs into the personal relationship, meaning that problematic family dynamics can add further pressure to the running of a business.

These 5 simple steps will help to make sure your family run business maintains a good working relationship whilst also ensuring your business evolves and grows.

1. Set clear objectives for business growth

Think about what you want to achieve in the short and long term. Using the SMART technique, set out targeted objectives:


2. Work on the business, as well as in the business

Take a day out of the business to attend workshops and seminars. This will enable you to educate yourself on developing business trends and implement what you have learnt into your business, meaning you will always be up to date on the most recent best practises for business growth. 

3. Avoid square pegs in round holes

Family businesses can be very conservative and end up with staff ‘stuck’ in jobs for life which can affect the pace of change, innovation and productivity. Job descriptions need to be clear and reflect the needs of the business rather than simply mirror the duties of the staff member.

4. Plan early for succession

Planning for succession years in advance will not only lead to improved and cost effective job filling, it will also provide motivation and incentive for family members within the business. Your plan must focus on achieving two equally important outcomes; 1) a financial settlement for the departing leader or owner 2) A happy family with strong relationships. One is no good without the other

5. Regularly review key relationships

Not all longstanding commercial relationships will still be appropriate. Periodically review key relationships with accountants, banks and other suppliers in order keep them on their toes and avoid complacency.