Creating Momentum in your Family Business

One of the problems that plagues family businesses is stagnation.  This is because those who started the business worked hard to get where they are, and know that what they are doing worked to get them this far.  Some people call it founders syndrome.

That is great.  But did you notice the tense?  WorkED.  That does not necessarily mean it is workING now.  I have seen this from both sides.  I have been the daughter questioning tactics and the founder who insists “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Having been on each side of this issue, I have to say we get stuck in ruts and sometimes we need help to get out of them.

I am a born and bread entrepreneur and as such, I tend to lean toward change.  I find it exciting.  I love trying something new.  Many people find it terrifying.  I have one friend who puts it up there with sharks and public speaking.  I get it.  There is no safety railing on the new path.  You might fail.  Scratch that- you will fail- sometimes.

But here is the real question: Do you want o be comfortable in a business that is falling behind, or do you want to move forward?

You have to evaluate your priorities or you will end up like Sears.  A once thriving company that has sold off many of its iconic elements (bye-bye craftsmen, and Kenmore), still limping along on the strength of its land holdings.

Identify the areas of your business that need some special attention.  Once you have them identified, pick the one that is at the center of the Gordian knot and attack it!  Decide that the need to change is more important than your desire to remain comfortable.

If one of your family members is always going on about a specific area, look at it. Really examine what the market is doing in that area.  Are you still a front runner? Or have you fallen to the middle of the pack?  Sometimes things look like a huge mess out there.  CLUE:  That means you are at the back of the race and you will soon be on the sidelines.

As a business leader you probably have high intrinsic motivation and drive.  You are more likely to go the distance when you are doing something for your business instead of trying to please others. You create a positive vision and let your enthusiasm show. You are a rock star!  Don’t let your honoring of the past blind you to the opportunities of the future. Build on the momentum that you have already created. Hold onto what works while experimenting with new approaches. Do your research. Figure out what resources you need to address the issue. Start small then break major changes down into simpler steps.

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