Family businesses are more than entrepreneurial endeavors. They are an emotional investment, creating deep personal ties with your relatives, employees, community and yourself. Is it possible to scale and expand one without losing those ties and the personal touch that made you a success in the first place? Of course it is, if you can learn to separate emotion from business and run your business like a business.
Brian Moak grew up working in his family business, HEART Certified Auto Care in Illinois, then bought it from his father when he was 27. Now 35, he is preparing to expand HEART into franchises across the country.
“I’ve always had this dream of growing the company, becoming part of multiple communities,” said Moak. “I’m looking for a way to create a legacy like what my dad created.”
Moak says anyone who wants to grow something that’s small and family can do it, as long as they don’t lose the family touch. He shared his best tips for doing just that.
1. Make yourself redundant
For a family business to expand, things need to run smoothly without you or other family members. So build out your succession plan.
“[My] company used to revolve around me, every question, every strategy came through me,” said Moak. “To turn this into a franchise, I knew I needed to be able to step out.”
Create systems that anyone can follow for key tasks like onboarding new customers, marketing updates, building new locations and hiring employees. Then empower your existing employees to make those decisions and follow those systems. If you don’t already have a general manager, now is the time to move someone into that position.
Once your business can function without you, additional locations can open without you needing to be on the ground. This frees you to focus on big-picture decision making and expansion, rather than dealing with the everyday needs of a single store. By creating systems that everyone can follow, you create consistency for your brand and your employees, no matter where they are located.
2. Get everyone on board
If multiple family members are owners of the business, all of them have to agree on a plan for growth. But even if a sole person is in charge, getting everyone on board will make an expansion go more smoothly.
“Explain what you’re doing and why it matters,” advised Moak. “If I was a dictator and walked in and said, this is what we’re doing, make it happen, it may happen out of fear, but it doesn’t happen because they want to. If an organization grows because they want to, you’re surrounded by an army of people who protect and grow your mission.”
Just as important as family members are any employees who have been with the business for a long time. They are as likely to feel a sense of pride and ownership as family members, and their buy-in matters just as much.
“There are people who work here who have known me since I was four years old,” Moak explained. “Their experience is valuable, their insight is critical. It’s my job to respect that and build on it.”
Read more: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/10971-grow-your-family-business.html