Ownership Roles in Family Business
23rd July 2018
If you own a family business and don’t work in it every day, it can be difficult to find a voice and the right place for you. You'll likely have the business at heart, but might not have the chance to join its daily operations, or you may not want to because you have other plans.
Fear not, because there are many other ways for you to get involved. We’ve listed a few of them below.
Join the Governance Team
Good communication is key for any business. You probably heard this before. But what does good communication mean in your family business? As the family grows, the business evolves and more people work in it, speaking to the business with a united voice remains important, but becomes more challenging.
If your family business has a Family Council or other sharing platforms where the family meets and discusses the business, getting involved is a great way to stay connected to your relatives and to the family business. The role you play in it can help strengthen the communication between the family and the business, and shape the future success of your family firm. Or if there is no such platform, you could start the conversation within the family.
If you’ve gained relevant experience and developed skills that could add value to the firm, you may also consider becoming a family Non-Executive Director (NED). This is an opportunity to know more about the family business and its activities, take part in strategy-making and long-term planning, and at the same time continue with your current career.
Become a Social Impact Leader
Family businesses are often involved in social impact activities, investing in local, as well as international development. If you are passionate about issues like the environment, poverty alleviation or education, you could take part in dedicated family committees or task forces. For instance, you could help identify and implement relevant impact projects.
And for the younger generations, fields like impact investing are becoming more and more popular. Some family businesses establish funding pots for next generation entrepreneurial ventures that have a positive impact. This path could help you fulfil your entrepreneurial flair by leading on a spin-off of the main family business.
Be a Family Unifier
Generation after generation, families grow bigger and it becomes challenging to keep members connected. If you are part of a long-lived business, or a newer one that wants to 'keep it in the family', you could work to ensure owners and their ventures remain as close and connected as possible.
Maintaining strong family bonds is very important to preserve family legacy, keep the youngest interested in the business and help them develop as future leaders and responsible owners.
Represent the Family Brand
Behind a great business is a strong brand. This is common sense, but have you ever considered becoming a brand ambassador for your family business? Getting involved in activities that contribute to family reputation and brand helps the family business today and contributes to its success tomorrow.
Clarity of brand can help family businesses attracting talent outside, but also within the family. The more family members are aware and understand the brand and its purpose, the more they are driven to be part of it.
To find the best path in your family business, explore what options are available and talk to the family about your ideas and hopes. Having an open conversation can open up doors you, and your family, may not have seen before.