Family businesses account for around 70% of all businesses in Australia.
Families are the unsung heroes driving Australia’s economy – but who is looking after these families, ensuring they can function well at work and at home?
What is the definition of success for families in business? For myself, it is educating my kids about having a purpose in life. My business is my purpose. However, the flip-side is very much about our family members feeling valued and not forgotten under the volume of work that’s associated with family businesses – both in and out of work hours.
Here’s a few tips that have helped me over the past years.
#1 Make sure you & your partner share a common vision. If you don’t share the vision then challenges will simply confirm current irritations. If you do share the vision and goal you will both commit and support each other through every challenge.
#2 Define the goals and be specific. There may be a few extra goals your partner has that your not aware of. These need to be shared so you understand why each other may go off on a tangent or deviate from the agreed upon strategy.
#3 What’s the exit strategy? If you don’t agree on one, how will you ever get to step back or retire?
#4 What are the metrics which will show you that you’ve reached your goals? Will it be cash in the bank, investment portfolio, size of business, ability to create passive income?
#5 Don’t kick the cat. If you wouldn’t speak to one of your team like that, then don’t speak to your partner like that. No-one wants to hear you argue either, so take it outside in private if you disagree on something.
#6 Create lifestyle parameters at home. Home workspaces should be separate from communal areas. If you need to talk business, keep it in one room which the whole family knows is the ‘work space’. That way if you keep bringing work up you need to step into the separate work area – it may stop you from constantly talking business when you need to be having downtime.
#7 Create processes, systems, communication platforms which work for your partner – not just yourself. If he / she aren’t using them and it’s frustrating you, it could be that they just don’t suit them. Ask what works for them.
#8 Employ whole-body listening with your children. They are already desperate for your attention. Just 5 minutes of direct eye contact and whole body listening could be enough. When we are on the phone / computer and half-listening they will keep pestering until they have had enough attention. Why not give them 100% straight away and you will win back some time and they will leave happier.
#9 Consider having a debrief before you head home so you don’t keep talking about work in the home. This could be done in the car or at work before you leave.
#10 Keep your computer out of the bedroom. Your bedroom is your haven – not your work station.
Lastly, enjoy the ride! Owning your own business should be fun and a catalyst for growth and development. Keep reminding yourselves to have fun and to celebrate the successes – no matter how big or small!