By its very nature, a family business will often be very self-sufficient and able to look inwards for solutions to challenges. And, there is a strong argument to bring in other skills and expertise from outside to give a broader perspective…
Many family businesses pride themselves on being effective with family members alone. They capture the best of their collective capabilities and seek to retain the privacy of the family boundary.
In the modern business world, this is simply not enough.
Even in corporate environments, the best management teams appreciate the need to have new perspectives shipped in from time to time. For enlightened family businesses this is a challenge they rise to with the same enthusiasm.
Bringing in outside talent to fill gaps or simply add experience and expertise into the mix adds significant value. It simply takes an objective business focus to appreciate that value and be focused in drilling down to precisely identify the needs in the business to be filled.
In the long-term, new blood from outside the business may – or may not – be of value to help the business survive existing owners if a new generation of family members are either not available, or possibly identified as not capable of meeting demanding expectations.
Outside help brings the experiences of other businesses as well as a slant on the business which, as long as it is fully appreciated and enabled, will add value because of that difference alone. They say that 1+1=3 because of the synergies that debate allows. This is particularly pertinent when a family business might have been very introspective and tainted even, by having many family members involved.
If there is only a single member of a family running a significant business, then the need for external help is all the more important.
There is no time like the time when everything is running well to prepare for this. Leaving it until the business and family are under pressure means that decision might be made in a hurry or without the luxury of waiting till the right person comes along.
Taking time out when the matter is not urgent, is the best time for any family business to start considering outside help.