ALL IN THE FAMILY (Or, Sue’s Seven Tips For Overcoming the Hurdles and Reaping the Benefits of a Family Business)
1. Visualize success
Starting a family business is challenging, exciting and rewarding -- especially when you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. Looking back now, I can confidently say that the most powerful tool for me was my ability to see the end result ONLY -- and that was and is “success.” On a personal level, if you can visualize all the great things that your mind can associate with success and mentally take yourself to this place - you hear the applause, you smell the aroma of success, you feel and touch the people you come in contact with -- you literally get a taste of what you are about to experience. After you’ve seen it all in your mind’s eye, you can bet your life it is reality.
2. Good family living translates to good business
Family life and the family business are inseparable. When running a family business, the same rules that apply at home are honored and applied at work by both family and non-family members. For me, these rules include positive attitude, courage, honesty, integrity, clear communication, fairness, total commitment and support….the list goes on. Basically, if your family applies certain values, your family business should observe the same.
3. Work with your family to seize opportunities
Every day the business world presents you with life changing experiences and opportunities. Motivate yourself and your family to relish and seize these opportunities. The unlimited possibilities of wealth creation are at your fingertips! With each passing day the choices are yours to make -- how do you and your family choose to live your life and run your business? Talk about it with your family so you can get excited and be successful together – as a team!
4. Be thankful and give something back
I choose to express my deepest gratitude for all the experiences, gifts and lessons I encounter along the way and to be fully aware of my business growth and successes plus my own personal growth as the result of these experiences. That is why it is important when you do experience your success to give something back to the community and inspire your family and employees to do the same.
5. Know your role(s)
While the members of your family play a vital role in the family business, as a leader, it is up to you to highlight the opportunities that will enable them to achieve their own goals and desires. I have always had to switch roles to express the appropriate image at the appropriate time. As the CEO of our company, my role is to lead, encourage and support. As a mother, my role is to love, nurture and lead. With three adult daughters, you put your “psychologist” hat on every now and again, while at other times you are their loving friend or confidante. You must challenge, encourage and empower your family members because your job as their family member and business leader is to make life’s ups more exhilarating and life’s downs less devastating. As women, we will always be sisters, daughters and wives -- and all these roles have their specific responsibilities. The key is your commitment to the part you play and your passion and excitement in each role
6. Know your family’s roles and strengths
My three daughters are a great example of a family business where the members of the family each play a unique and active role and realize that their involvement in the business completes the circle. Nadine, my eldest daughter, has the tertiary education and the qualifications that I never had. She is highly driven and committed to her role in the business and is being groomed for succession planning (not that I am going anywhere right now!) Natalie has her own unique role as the inspiration for the business! Her commitment, connection and sense of belonging are extraordinary. Her role as the face of the next generation of Nad’s is crucial to the continued success of the business. Meanwhile, Naomi’s creative mind, her vision for the business and her role as a graphic designer is already contributing and adding great value to the business. I urge you and your family to explore each member’s strengths and personalities and how they best fit into the circle of success that is your family business.
7. Take time to smell the roses
A successful family business becomes a 24-7, full time job because many of your colleagues are there alongside you on the weekends and after hours – and discussions can inevitably return to subjects of work. It’s important to remember to shelve business once in a while as well, though – and do things with your family members that you would do if you didn’t work with them!
Sue Ismiel is a successful international business woman, philanthropist, devoted wife, mother of three grown daughters, and creator of the world’s most popular depilatory product--Nad’s. With "Sue’s Seven" she has chosen to share her own life’s experiences to serve as friendly advice to women everywhere.
If you have a question for Sue or a topic you’d like her to discuss, please e-mail Response@SuesSeven.com