Best Tips for Your Family Business Success

Family-owned businesses play a significant role in the global economy, accounting for two-thirds of all businesses worldwide. They are the backbone of economic growth and job creation, with their unique blend of tradition and innovation. However, ensuring the long-term success of a family business can be challenging, as only a fraction of them make it to the second generation.

In this article, we will explore eight essential tips to help your family business thrive. From effective communication to future planning, these strategies will set you on the path to success, whether you are a small family business or a multigenerational enterprise.

Key Takeaways:

  • Effective communication is crucial for the success of a family business.
  • Embracing change and evolving with the times is essential for longevity.
  • Setting clear boundaries between family and business helps maintain success.
  • Good governance involves involving leaders outside the family.
  • Recruiting talent from outside the family brings in fresh skills and expertise.


Open and effective communication is a cornerstone of success in any family business. It allows for the free flow of ideas, the resolution of conflicts, and the building of strong relationships among family members and employees.

In order to maintain open communication, it’s important to address any communication problems that arise as quickly as possible. Misunderstandings, conflicts, and poor communication can hinder the growth and success of a family business, so it’s crucial to address these issues head-on.

“Good communication does not mean that you have to agree with each other. It means that you understand and respect each other’s perspectives.”

If internal efforts to resolve communication problems are not successful, it may be wise to bring in an outside consultant. An objective third party can provide valuable insights and strategies for improving communication within the family business.


In order for a family business to achieve longevity, it must embrace change and evolve with the times. Adapting to new technology and cultural norms is crucial to avoid alienating both employees and customers.

“The only constant in life is change.” – Heraclitus

Resisting change can be detrimental to a family business. As the world around us evolves, so do the expectations and demands of employees and customers. By staying stagnant and resistant to change, a family business may find itself falling behind its competitors.

One aspect of evolving with the times is embracing new technologies. Whether it’s implementing automated systems, developing a strong online presence, or utilizing social media platforms, technology can greatly enhance a family business’s operations and outreach. Embracing these advancements can lead to increased efficiency and a broader customer base.

Another crucial element of evolution is keeping up with cultural shifts. Society’s values, preferences, and beliefs are constantly changing, and it’s important for a family business to stay in touch with these shifts. By being aware of current trends and adapting to cultural changes, a family business can better connect with its target audience and meet their evolving needs.

Additionally, evolving with the times also requires a willingness to challenge the status quo and break free from traditional ways of doing things. This can involve restructuring processes, adopting new management styles, or incorporating innovative ideas from employees. By encouraging a culture of innovation and embracing new approaches, a family business can stay competitive and relevant in an ever-changing business landscape.


Benefits of Evolving

There are numerous benefits to evolving and changing with the times in a family business:

  • Improved competitiveness: By staying up-to-date with the latest advancements and trends, a family business can gain a competitive edge over its rivals.
  • Enhanced employee satisfaction: Embracing change and innovation can create an environment that fosters growth and professional development, leading to increased employee satisfaction and engagement.
  • Expanded customer base: Evolving with the times allows a family business to attract new customers who resonate with its modern approach and offerings.
  • Increase in revenue: Adapting to emerging technologies and changing customer preferences can lead to higher sales and revenue generation.
  • Long-term sustainability: A family business that evolves is more likely to have a sustainable future, as it can effectively navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by a rapidly changing business environment.

Case Study: Smith & Sons Printing

Business Aspect Traditional Approach Evolved Approach
Printing Technology Used outdated printing presses, limiting capabilities and efficiency. Invested in modern digital printing equipment to offer a wide range of printing options with faster turnaround times.
Marketing Strategy Relied solely on word-of-mouth recommendations and local advertising. Created a strong online presence, utilizing social media platforms and targeted digital marketing campaigns to reach a larger audience.
Employee Development Limited opportunities for professional growth and training. Implemented a comprehensive training program, encouraging employees to stay updated with industry trends and enhance their skills.
Customer Engagement Minimal interaction with customers beyond transactions. Established a customer relationship management system, providing personalized service and proactively engaging with customers to meet their evolving needs.

Set Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries between your family and your business is crucial for maintaining long-term success. This separation is essential to ensure that family issues do not infiltrate the boardroom and disrupt the functioning of your business.

Awareness and respect for personal and professional boundaries are key to creating a harmonious work environment and maintaining healthy relationships within the family. By setting boundaries, you establish a clear framework that delineates where family matters end and business matters begin.

Separation between Family and Business

Separating family and business helps to create a professional atmosphere where decisions are made based on merit, rather than personal relationships. It allows all stakeholders, including family members and non-family employees, to focus on the best interests and growth of the business.

Having a clear separation between family and business also helps to minimize conflicts and avoid favoritism. It allows for fair treatment of all employees and reinforces the idea that professional success is based on competence and contribution rather than familial ties.

Keep Family Issues out of the Boardroom

Family issues, such as personal conflicts, disagreements, or grudges, should not be brought into the boardroom or other professional settings. These personal matters can affect decision-making and lead to biased or irrational choices that may hinder the progress of the business.

Brian Wilson, CEO of Wilson Corporation, once said, “Keeping family issues out of the boardroom is essential for the success of any family business. By focusing on the best interests of the business and leaving personal matters aside, we can make objective decisions that benefit everyone involved.”

When conducting board meetings or making important business decisions, it’s crucial to prioritize the interests of the business while maintaining open and transparent communication. Separate discussions for family-related matters outside of the business setting can help address and resolve any personal issues effectively without compromising the business’s success.

Image: Separation between Family and Business

set boundaries

In the image above, an illustrative depiction highlights the importance of setting boundaries between family and business. This visual representation reinforces the idea that maintaining a clear separation can lead to a balanced and successful family business.

Practice Good Governance

In order to ensure the success and longevity of a family business, practicing good governance is essential. This involves involving leaders outside the family who can bring impartiality, expertise, and fresh perspectives to the business. One effective way to achieve this is through the establishment of a professional advisory board.

A professional advisory board is a group of non-family members who provide strategic guidance and advice to the family business. They bring valuable insights from their diverse backgrounds and experiences, helping the business navigate challenges and make informed decisions. The board typically consists of individuals with expertise in areas such as finance, legal matters, marketing, and operations.

By incorporating non-family members into the advisory board, the family business benefits from their impartiality and objective viewpoints. They can offer valuable perspectives that may differ from the family members’ perspectives, leading to more well-rounded and comprehensive decision-making processes.

“Embracing the expertise of non-family members through a professional advisory board is crucial for good governance in a family business. Their insights and guidance can bring a fresh perspective and help the business thrive.”

The establishment of a professional advisory board also serves as an effective mechanism for implementing good governance practices. It ensures that family members are not solely responsible for making critical business decisions and that authority is shared with qualified professionals.

good governance

Benefits of a Professional Advisory Board in Family Business
Access to external expertise and knowledge
Impartial advice and decision-making
Enhanced credibility and reputation
Improved strategic planning and execution
Broadened network and market insights

By including non-family members in the decision-making process, a family business can benefit from their expertise and knowledge, leading to improved business outcomes. It also helps to enhance the credibility and reputation of the family business in the eyes of stakeholders, including customers, investors, and employees.

Implementing good governance practices through a professional advisory board ultimately promotes the long-term success and sustainability of a family business, setting the stage for continued growth and prosperity.

Recruit from the Outside

In order to ensure the success and growth of a family business, it is crucial to recruit talent from outside the family. By tapping into the talent pool available externally, family business owners can bring in the skills and expertise that family members may not possess. This strategy opens up the opportunity to access a diverse range of perspectives and capabilities, enhancing the overall performance of the business.

Recruiting from the outside can bring fresh ideas and innovative approaches to problem-solving. It allows for the introduction of new perspectives, which can lead to more creative strategies and improved decision-making. By inviting individuals with different backgrounds and experiences to join the team, family businesses can benefit from a diverse range of skills, knowledge, and insights.

“Bringing in talent from outside the family helps to create a culture of continuous learning and growth within the business,”

Moreover, recruiting from the outside helps to reduce the risk of stagnation and complacency. Family businesses that solely rely on internal talent may become resistant to change and fail to adapt to evolving market trends. By actively seeking external talent, family businesses can stay ahead of the competition and remain relevant in a rapidly changing business landscape.

It is important to note that recruiting from the outside does not mean disregarding the contributions and capabilities of family members. Instead, it is about complementing internal talents with external expertise to create a stronger and more well-rounded team. This approach allows family businesses to leverage the unique strengths of both family members and external hires, fostering a culture of collaboration and mutual growth.

recruit from the outside

In summary, recruiting talent from outside the family is crucial for the long-term success and sustainability of a family business. By tapping into the wider talent pool, family businesses can bring in fresh perspectives, diverse skills, and valuable expertise. This enables them to adapt to changing market conditions, drive innovation, and achieve their business goals.

Treat Employees like Family

One of the key factors that contribute to the success of family-owned businesses is their ability to treat employees as part of the family. By fostering a sense of belonging and loyalty, these businesses create an environment where employees feel valued and appreciated. This approach goes beyond providing competitive salaries and benefits; it redefines what it means to be part of a family business.

When employees are treated like family, they are more likely to go the extra mile and consistently raise the bar. They take pride in their work and strive to deliver exceptional value to both the business and its customers. This level of dedication and commitment stems from the deep sense of connection they feel towards the business and its mission.

“Treating employees like family goes beyond just treating them well. It means creating a work environment where they feel supported, respected, and valued. When employees feel like they belong, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated to contribute their best.”

To redefine family within the context of a business is to extend care and support beyond blood ties. It means recognizing and appreciating the unique skills and perspectives that each individual brings to the table. By embracing diversity and inclusion, family-owned businesses can tap into the full potential of their workforce and leverage varied experiences to drive innovation and growth.

Raising the Bar: A Case Study

One excellent example of a family-owned business that values its employees as family is Johnson & Sons, a well-established construction company. Through their commitment to treating employees with respect and empathy, they have created a work culture where loyalty and dedication thrive.

At Johnson & Sons, every employee is seen as an integral part of the company’s success. The company offers competitive wages, comprehensive benefits, and opportunities for career advancement. Additionally, they prioritize employee well-being by providing ongoing training and development programs, encouraging work-life balance, and offering a supportive work environment.

This approach has not only resulted in high employee retention rates but has also attracted top talent from the industry. The employees at Johnson & Sons consistently go above and beyond to exceed client expectations, knowing that their efforts are recognized and valued.

Benefits of Treating Employees like Family
1. Enhanced Employee Engagement: When employees feel like part of a family, they are more engaged, resulting in higher productivity and better overall performance.
2. Improved Loyalty and Retention: Treating employees like family fosters loyalty, increasing employee retention and reducing turnover costs.
3. Increased Collaboration: When employees feel valued and included, they are more likely to collaborate and contribute to a positive and productive work environment.
4. Positive Company Culture: Treating employees like family helps create a positive company culture where everyone feels respected, supported, and valued.

To succeed in the long run, family-owned businesses must recognize the value offered by their employees and invest in their well-being and professional development. By treating employees like family, these businesses create a strong foundation for growth, innovation, and continued success.

treat employees like family image

Make Participation Optional

In a well-functioning family business, it’s essential to give family members the freedom to join the company on their own terms, making participation optional. By allowing this flexibility, family businesses can foster a culture of passionate employees who are genuinely invested in the success of the business.

Attracting and retaining passionate employees is crucial for the growth and sustainability of any family business. When family members have the choice to participate, they are more likely to engage in the business because they genuinely want to be a part of it, rather than feeling obligated or forced into the role. This leads to a better business environment, where individuals are driven by their own passion and dedication.

Passionate employees bring numerous benefits to a family business. They exhibit higher levels of commitment, productivity, and creativity, going above and beyond their job requirements. Passionate employees also contribute positively to the overall work culture, inspiring their colleagues and creating a sense of energy and enthusiasm.

By making participation optional, family businesses create a more inclusive and fulfilling work environment. This approach encourages collaboration, teamwork, and mutual respect among both family members and non-family employees. It allows for a diverse range of perspectives and expertise, promoting innovation and better decision-making.

“Making participation optional in our family business has been a game-changer. It has attracted passionate individuals who truly want to be a part of our journey and are committed to the success of our business.”

Benefits of Optional Participation in a Family Business:

  • Increased employee satisfaction and engagement.
  • Enhanced work culture and positive energy.
  • Greater diversity of skills and perspectives.
  • Improved collaboration and teamwork.
  • Higher levels of productivity and creativity.
  • Reduced conflict and tension within the family.
Businesses with Optional Participation Businesses without Optional Participation
Passionate employees who are genuinely invested in the success of the business. Employees who may feel coerced or obligated to be involved, leading to lower motivation and commitment.
A diverse range of skills, expertise, and perspectives. Reliance solely on the skills and experiences of family members, limiting growth potential.
A positive and inclusive work environment. Potential for family conflicts and personal issues to interfere with the business.
Higher levels of collaboration, teamwork, and innovation. Limited collaboration and a narrower range of ideas and solutions.

Overall, making participation optional in a family business is a strategic decision that can lead to a more passionate and engaged workforce. It empowers family members to choose their level of involvement, attracting individuals who genuinely want to contribute to the business’s success. By embracing this approach, family businesses can create a better work environment and achieve long-term prosperity.

passionate employees

Plan for the Future

Successful family businesses prioritize planning for the future to ensure continued success and longevity. This involves creating well-thought-out succession plans and investing in the development of talent both within and outside the family.

One key aspect of planning for the future is succession planning. It involves identifying potential successors early on and grooming them for leadership positions. By having a clear roadmap for the transition of leadership, family businesses can navigate the challenges that come with generational shifts and ensure a smooth transition.

Also Read : Maximizing Growth with Business Technology

Additionally, successful family businesses understand the importance of identifying talent beyond the family circle. By casting a wider net and recruiting from outside, they can tap into a pool of individuals with diverse skills, expertise, and fresh perspectives. This infusion of talent can bring new ideas, innovation, and growth opportunities to the business.

“Investing in leadership development is crucial for the long-term success of a family business. By providing training, mentorship, and growth opportunities to potential leaders, businesses can cultivate a pipeline of capable individuals who can steer the company forward.”

Family businesses that proactively invest in leadership development can ensure a smooth transition of power and maintain their competitive edge. This investment includes providing the necessary resources and support to potential leaders, such as leadership training programs, mentoring relationships, and exposure to different aspects of the business.

Benefits of Planning for the Future

  • Minimizes disruption during leadership transitions
  • Ensures continuity of the business
  • Fosters innovation and growth
  • Brings in fresh perspectives and diverse skill sets

By planning for the future, family businesses can navigate the challenges of succession, tap into a wider talent pool, and invest in the development of strong leaders. These strategies position family businesses for long-term success and ensure the continuity of their legacy.

plan for the future


Running a successful family business requires a combination of key strategies and effective management techniques. By implementing these tips for success, family businesses can thrive and ensure long-term success.

Effective communication is the foundation of a successful family business. Open and regular communication helps address and resolve issues promptly, fostering a healthy work environment and maintaining strong relationships within the family and with employees.

Adaptability is crucial for family businesses to stay relevant in an ever-evolving market. Embracing change, whether it’s adopting new technology or adjusting to shifting consumer preferences, is essential for longevity and growth.

Setting clear boundaries between family and business is vital. By keeping personal matters separate and focusing on professional decision-making, family businesses can foster a more objective and efficient work environment.

Good governance involves involving leaders outside the family to provide a fresh perspective and professional expertise. Establishing a robust advisory board can contribute to better decision-making and increased accountability.

Recruiting talent from outside the family is essential for business growth. Leveraging external expertise and tapping into a wider talent pool can bring new skills and fresh perspectives to drive innovation and success.

Treating employees like family nurtures a sense of loyalty and dedication. By fostering a positive work culture and providing opportunities for growth, family businesses can foster an environment where employees feel valued and motivated to contribute their best.

Optional participation allows family members to join the business based on their passion and interest. This approach leads to a more engaged and committed workforce, ensuring the business is fueled by individuals who genuinely believe in its success.

Finally, planning for the future is crucial. Implementing succession plans, identifying and developing potential leaders, and investing in leadership development ensure a smooth transition and sustained growth.

By incorporating these success strategies, family businesses can overcome challenges, build resilience, and create a legacy that spans generations.


Q: What are some tips for managing a family business?

A: One of the best tips for managing a family business is to establish clear roles and responsibilities for each family member involved. This can help minimize conflict and ensure smooth operations.

Q: How can I ensure the success of my family business?

A: One key to ensuring the success of a family business is to communicate openly and regularly with all family members involved. This can help address any issues or concerns before they escalate.

Q: What are the benefits of running a family business?

A: Running a family business can have numerous benefits, including a strong sense of unity and shared values among family members, as well as the potential for greater trust and loyalty within the business.

Q: How can I manage financial matters within a family business?

A: Managing financial matters in a family business requires careful planning and transparency. It’s essential to separate personal finances from business finances and to seek professional financial advice when needed.

Q: Are there specific challenges that come with running a family business?

A: Yes, running a family business can present unique challenges such as navigating complex family dynamics, balancing family and business priorities, and addressing succession planning.

Q: What are some effective strategies for resolving family conflicts in a business setting?

A: Effective strategies for resolving family conflicts in a business setting may include seeking mediation, setting clear policies and procedures for conflict resolution, and fostering open and honest communication.

Q: How important is it to separate personal relationships from business decisions in a family business?

A: It is crucial to separate personal relationships from business decisions in a family business to maintain professionalism, minimize conflicts of interest, and make decisions based on the best interests of the business.

Q: What role does succession planning play in the long-term success of a family business?

A: Succession planning is critical for the long-term success of a family business as it ensures a smooth transition of leadership and ownership, thereby preserving the business for future generations.

Q: How can a family business leverage its unique strengths and advantages?

A: A family business can leverage its unique strengths and advantages by emphasizing its long-term perspective, strong sense of loyalty and commitment, and the potential for a shared family legacy.

Q: What are some common best practices for cultivating a positive family business culture?

A: Common best practices for cultivating a positive family business culture include promoting open communication, recognizing and appreciating individual contributions, and nurturing a strong sense of collective purpose and identity within the family business.

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