Opening a family business franchise is often viewed as a way to get in your family, love those people and have them love you just as much. In some ways, it might be right, but in some cases it probably is not.
First off, this type of business is probably not in your long term plans to make it through your entire life. When you are totally committed to being a ballerina or a wardrobe-maker, it will be very difficult to run a family business. You may be a fantastic ballerina and a personal shopper, but running a family business would put you right next to your children and you are not on call from 9 to 5 like you normally are.
If you run a family business, you might have a hard time taking a holiday because you are working. Before retirement, I had owned a pressure washer service franchise and I owned a shoe company also. One time while the salon business was down during the summer, I stopped taking the kids to the beach. I can remember I had Fred Finkeltenstott and Al Switzler both working for me that summer until the pressure washer business went into, what I liked to call, “liminal silence.” No customers, no contracts, and no additional staff. When I started a new pressure washer franchise in the late 90s, I went back to the same family business and this was the fine print. The original family business I was running, had no contractors that year with which to hired additional staff. When I was the CEO of this franchise I got married and the next year the mortgage came due on a hotel room in SLOW VAIN greatest commission ever. This was not a good thing to be in.
I believe an extraordinary bond is formed during the start up of a business and there are looks placed on everything in the beginning that just simply do not work out. Family businesses are most common along together and over generations. It’s not uncommon for family businesses to be spawned from the dynamics of the original family of a business owner. Most entrepreneurs wind up starting a business with their partner at the top because they love their product or service and they want so badly to sell it. I have seen this happen many, many times.
Now, I realize that family is nice- it’s all smiles and “I love my Mom and Dad” situations. But the growth of a company cannot be done that way. If when you love your mother and she loves you, the daughter becomes your reality, wouldn’t it be good for the shareholders and the family to have an epiphany? This is the point in a company’s life where the leadership has to really demonstrate to the family and the employee base that, we love the business and our people, we love the vision, and we are here for you, and we will do whatever it takes to keep the business breathing.
Now, many of you might actually think your mom is going to have a heart attack when you approach her with this business venture or death approach. Or maybe that you’re not crazy. But this option is something a lot of people do not think of, or take into consideration, that you are trying to fix a family by making it a business.
In my experience, the best thing to do in a family business it to share as much between the business as possible, even if it’s not quite that good because the family member’s comfort and approval is just as, if not more important. Get out from behind the desk and visit your customer base and get out out to have babies. Google their names, get to know them. Share their children with the family business and get a discussion going. Sure, it will take some time, but if you approach them, they will be happy with the decision you just made and you will definitely make them proud.