Thursday, April 15, 2010

Business Owner Delimma - Family Members or Not?

One of most important topics and dilemmas business owner’s face is: should I bring in family member(s) into my business? I have been involved in many family owned businesses as both an employee and as a consultant. Many of these family owned businesses have brought in unqualified family member(s) in management roles and even to run the business.

When unqualified family members are brought into a business the "Core" employees which are the "heart and soul" of the company will strongly resent such a move. Core employees are the ones that grew and built the business which will now be put at a high risk of failure. These Core employees may leave the business and even go to a competitor or remain out of loyalty but only in body, not in heart or spirit; the real commitment to the business forever lost.

I have been told that family will always come 1st when it should be the needs of the business which is where the family ultimately derives its wealth. If word gets out on the street that unqualified family member(s) are moving into key role(s) at one of their competitors; savvy owners will pounce on hiring away as much talent as possible, even contacting customers to “advise” them of such important changes.

In the best run companies owners have told me they always watch for changes in their competitors business where “unqualified family member(s)” enters into the business; savvy businesses will take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves to grow their business. Why do so many business owners believe placing unqualified family member(s) in key role(s) is worth risking the business; just to keep it in the family?

Best of Success,
Eric Mitchellette