Family Business

Becoming — in 2019!

The Beginning.  The End. The In-Between. Get a pen and paper. Ready? As quickly as you can, without thinking, jot down everything that ENDED in 2018.  What was over? What did you give up on? What did you just plain STOP doing? What habits did you break? Make another list.  This time jot down everything you STARTED in 2018.  What began? What new habits did you adopt? What decisions did you make? What relationships started Which list makes you happiest?  Why? We are HUMAN BEINGS.  We are forever in the process of becoming the being we were meant to be.  We are getting closer and closer to fulfilling our life’s purpose. As one year comes to an end, reflect on the achievements, however big or small they may seem. Dedicate some time to creating a list of 10 or more positive, affirmative statements that you are becoming in 2019.  We…


7 Keys for Succession or Sale

A lot of self-employed individuals never give a thought to succession or sale of their business. Often sacrificing resources, personal relationships and health to grow a successful consultancy or practice, the end of the business arrives with little fan fare and, unfortunately, often without their families by their side.  It doesn’t have to be this way! I’m using a parent – child analogy to illustrate the 7 keys.  Even if you are not a parent, at one time in your life, you had parents or caregivers who looked after you and raised you until you become 18. The “coming of age” is a similar process to starting up a business and growing it to the point of “18” – with grown up responsibilities. 7 Keys for Succession or Sale: Prepare for the experience from day 1. Keeping in mind that one day you will not be around, you have a vested…


Family holding hands against a sunset

Yes, you ARE in a Family + Business!

What’s a family business? A family business is a commercial organization in which decision-making is influenced by multiple generations of a family—related by blood or marriage. They are closely identified with the firm through leadership or ownership. Owner-manager entrepreneurial firms are not considered to be family businesses because they lack the multi-generational dimension and family influence that create the unique dynamics and relationships of family businesses. … Wikipedia Other definitions are more general, describing a family business as one that is owned OR operated by one’s family.   Business families and family businesses fit into the 3 circle model shown below. Note:  We introduced the 3 circle model in a previous article FAMILY CIRCLE Family / Owner Intersection (4) – these members own shares of the business and are members of the family but are not involved in operating or working in the business.  They may have inherited shares, own shares…


Graphic of mother holding up a young child

Celebrating Mom

Today, I’m celebrating entrepreneurial Moms. Generally, I think of women in business when I use that term, but today, I’m talking about Moms and the entrepreneurial traits they show in their family leadership roles.  In a previous entry, I explored Family Leadership in more detail. Passion Gosh, we know what that is!  As a Mom of 4, the overwhelming emotion called passion has spurred me on.  As a family leader, my conviction to support our children to be as independent as possible helped me muddle through times when they were learning to make good decisions by allowing them to enjoy the consequences of “iffy” decisions as they grew up.  For one of our children with some developmental challenges, the “expert” advice of what she would “never” do spurred me on to try many more ways to help her flourish.  And flourish she did. Passion:  intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or…


Improve your Relationship with a Weekly Conversation

I hear a lot of family analogies used in business. This time, I’m challenging you to incorporate a business productivity practice into your family: the weekly review. Think Productive’s Ninja habits include developing habits around the “second brain”. The Weekly Review with checklists is one of the tools in exercising this habit. One of the challenges that comes with combining business with family is to ensure that both elements get focus. Incorporating a family weekly review into your practice helps facilitate communication, prepare for the week ahead and reflect on the week that was: what to celebrate (yay), what to correct (oops) and what to reign in (whoa)! Suggested Weekly Review Process 1. Gather loose ends – Collect important mail, statements, permission slips from school, newsletters from activity groups, etc. and dump them into some kind of inbox. It’s a good idea to set up a basket or tray where…


word cloud with roles a man plays in life including father, husband, brother, worker, uncle, volunteer, friend, neighbour, husband and son

It’s “Just Business”— NOT

I’m often asked, “Laura, how did you manage to build a professional career, raise 4 successful children, volunteer in your community and contribute to a successful family business?” I think they are looking for that silver bullet that they can copy! The silver bullet is grit, perseverance, and focusing on what matters. Accept that there are many different ways to achieve the personal, family and career goals. In a family, talking about your family’s purpose helps all family members align personal, family, career and business activities. We wear many hats and perform many roles in our lives. What I find useful is to focus on the few roles I am performing in the moment rather than trying to keep all the hats on at once – or feeling guilty if I am not performing one or more roles all the time.Focus on what matters to you, your family, your career, your…


toy bride and groom characters

“In Sickness and Financial Health…”

    If you’re an entrepreneur or thinking about marrying one, this is no joking matter. Sure, lots of engaged couples participate in “marriage prep” courses or programs, but none of them are designed for you to really vet the partner for “fit” if you’re an entrepreneur.Even if your “head” knows you should be having these conversations, your “heart” gets in the way and they rarely, if ever happen prior to tying the knot. Ensure you’re not getting into a relationship without fulling understanding the financial health and circumstances of your future partner. My mother-in-law gave me this sound piece of advice, “Have you checked his wallet?” No one needs the surprises that come along with undisclosed credit card or student debt. Tip: Respect the JOINT finances. Treat your marriage like a business project – dedicate time to it, get on the same page, shared vision and values. Treat your…


Hallowe'en scene business fears

When You’re Scared Sh*tless

  Hallowe’en is just around the corner and a time when zombies roam the streets along side Pokemon, princesses and favourite characters. Entrepreneurs encounter scary situations – and not just when the calendar shows October 31st! Own It! Ignoring your fears don’t make them go away. Remember when you used to hide under the bed or in the closet, thinking that if you couldn’t “see” the bogey man, then you wouldn’t be scared of it either. “Out of sight, out of mind” is a human response to fear. How many of us still hide our eyes when a scary scene arrives on the movie screen? Embrace being Human When we are scared, our brain goes into fight or flight mode. This happens automatically – our nervous system is programmed to protect us from perceived danger. The brain reacts the same way when we are afraid of taking actions, being visible,…


Family around a computer with a piggy bank

Chicken & Egg… Family & Business

  We’ve all heard the adage, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? In our family business, our adage is, “Which comes first – the family or the business?”If you’re involved in a family business, you can likely identify with that statement. I know there are many times when I’ve felt the business came first and the family second. I also know that are just as many times when the family came first and the business came second. I don’t know about you, but it seems easier to remember the times the family played “second fiddle” than the times it was the star. My heart remembers those times, but my head remembers both. Jay Hughes has been working in the field of family wealth and family enterprise for many years. I recently watched a video interview series conducted with Jay. His explanation of family wealth was enlightening. His definition…


Great Family Leadership Retreat

Great Family Leadership Retreat

Fill in the blank – are you good enough? Smart enough? Understanding enough? Benevolent enough? Harsh enough?  Strict enough?  Thin enough? Confident enough? Having insecurities and questioning whether I am  ________ enough seems to be part of every human being’s struggle.  I struggle to be a good enough Mother, business partner, consultant, spouse, sister, friend, coworker, sister-in-law, fan, community member, volunteer, board member and so on.  I’m sure you do too! In a family business, our struggles with imperfection come with a lot of “baggage”.  Understanding each other’s strengths and personality styles contributes to a healthy culture at work as well as in family relationships.  Understanding contributes to better communication, improved conflict resolution and improved relationships – with co-workers, family members, friends or other individuals I interact with on a regular basis. Tolerance is not the same as understanding.  I can tolerate my partner’s behaviours but if I don’t work to understand…


Work-Life Balance -What’s right for you? Balance. Blend or Harmony?

What’s Right for you? Balance. Blend or Harmony?

Many people, including me, have been searching for the “perfect” work-life balance. Just as often, I am also trying to influence my significant other to “fix” his work – life balance so we can invest more time together as a family. I’ve come to realize that for me, the solution lies in harmony rather than balance or blending work with home life. In our work with family businesses owners, the quest for the perfect work life balance is often at the crux of many of the challenges faced by couples. I’m curious about what works (or doesn’t work) for you. The Balancing Act The word, balance, implies that the solution lies in spending equal amount of time with “work” and “life” in order to get balance. It also assumes that balance is ideal – all areas need equal time. What images come to mind? I think about measuring/ weight scales…


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Are You Missing Out? 9 Vital Functions of The Family CEO

You don’t have to look very far to find tips and strategies to help build business leadership skills. When it comes to family businesses, the family CEO is often floundering, knowing that the role he/she plays is vital to combining family with business yet receiving little or no help in building the skills needed for the role or choosing strategies. This leader often works quietly behind the scenes and without him/her, families begin to drift apart. The family leader, often a parent in the first generation of the family business, has strong facilitation and communication skills, convinces people to work together, is capable of developing trust and really keeps it all together. When business and family leadership is passed to the next generation, the family leader role is also passed, generally to a sibling and thus, the role needs to adapt to a new model where siblings recognize and respect…


Leveraging Your Success