By Susan Hamilton
Most successful family business owners I’ve talked to over the years have learned to adapt their sales training, accountability practices, and incentives to the unique requirements of their management and staff. That might sound like a ‘given’, but companies that don’t share the family component hire, train, promote, and fire based on predetermined value-sets that are very clear.
While accountability ranks high for both, they do wear different glasses when it comes to their family members. Most want to give their own their best, but for others, familiarity can breed contempt and disrespect. As Catherine Monson, CEO of FASTSIGNS International, Inc., pointed out earlier in the year, the culture of the company plays a significant role, and as business owners, we can’t afford to ignore the fact that we set standards not only in procedural best practices, but in the overall ‘mood’ of our management, staff, and technicians.
Having grown up in a family business, and later serving other types of companies – I get this. The difference in productivity, customer retention rates and revenue – even pleasantness – are apparent between companies that incorporate a culture strategy. As Claire Billingsley, Laughter Yoga Instructor and author of the book, Circle Up! often says, “If they’re not laughing at your place of business, you’re doing it wrong!” We learn and retain better when we’re jovial, AND we’re more motivated to do our best.
If you’re not already doing this, here are a few ways to incorporate a healthy, productive and fun culture into your family business:
- Wear a smile – intentionally!
- Instead of repeating your standards, print out encouraging quotes, frame them and line your walls. FASTSIGNS actually has an entire product line to support you that will upscale your place of business in public and back end areas.
- Adopt a ‘What Worked’ weekly meeting, where management, staff and technicians are encouraged to share the zany, repetitive or unconventional ways they satisfied customers or solved problems.
Are you enjoying your family business? We’re always looking for advice and support to share with our audience, and we might even choose YOURS for the next edition of The OffBeat Business Magazine. Share your stories with us about what’s working for you!