What Family-Owned Businesses Can Teach the Rest of the Business Community

Did you know that half of all U.S. businesses – and there’s over 28M businesses – are family-owned and/or operated, according to Harvard Business School. Well, if you’ve ever worked for a family-owned business – and chances are high that you have – you know that family dynamics can blur the line between business and personal matters. How do so many successful companies avoid the cliché pitfalls of the crazy family-owned business? One word: Communication.


It takes strong communication skills to develop and maintain healthy relationships, and when it comes to your business, the boundaries you set for all of your employees is paramount to the working relationship. Take a lesson from the millions of successful family businesses which harness the power of communication to set the framework and boundaries for trust, loyalty, and success.


Communication establishes a strict business culture.

Everyone, including family, needs to respect that business is business, and at work, business comes first. Clear communication of each employee’s job description, the chain of command, and the manager/employee relationship, regardless of familial relationship, helps to establish your company’s business culture. This way every employee knows what is expected of them and where they stand in relation to others.


Communication establishes employee equality.

Successful family business owners understand the importance of treating all employees – family and non-family alike – fairly and equally. For one, it keeps company morale and loyalty high. They understand that it is important

  • to base pay, raises, and promotions on employee experience and performance, rather than familial connection,
  • to require all employees undergo performance reviews and, when appropriate, disciplinary actions, and
  • to hire or promote non-family members to positions of authority for balance and perspective.


Through fair and equal treatment you can clearly communicate that every employee, whether family or not, is an important asset to your business.


Communication establishes the work-family boundary.

Ideally, everyone would love to keep their work and home lives separate, but sometimes our emotions get the best of us, especially when we’re having a bad day. Strong family business leaders understand that we’re only human. They can relate and empathize, but they also know how to control their emotions and separate work from personal matters. When stress or personal disagreements rear their ugly heads at work, they know how to defuse the situation and communicate that, while important, the personal matter will be handled during personal time, not work time. Remember, at work, business comes first.


About the author: Elissa Dubinsky is the VP of Operations with us at Accounting Software Connections and is dedicated to educating business owners in areas of finance, customer service, ERP, CRM practices and how to choose the best software for your company.  We’re all dedicated to making sure the client is delighted with our service experience.  For more information on ASC, visit our website at www.AccountingSoftwareConnections.com or call us toll free at 855-462-2407.