What's love got to do with it?Feb 14, 2022
Love. It's not a word we use in business very often.
But in a family business, love is at the heart of everything.
Love between a father and son. Love between a husband and wife. Love between two sisters.
Because without love you're just business partners. With individual agendas and aspirations.
Family businesses are extraordinarily unique because every family member involved wants the same thing for the business. There is one common goal.
The problem with love is that it takes work. And just because you're working together in business, doesn't mean you can slack when it comes to putting in the effort outside of work too.
I see many relationships in family businesses crumble because the individuals don't prioritise or make time for nurturing their relationship as family members outside of the company. In most cases it happens without you even noticing. The business always come first. Often at the cost of personal relationships.
So here are a few easy ways to make sure you keep things on track at work, and at home -
Separate business and pleasure
I know it's easier said than done! But trust me, if you can shut the office door and let go of all the day's business problems, you'll be far more relaxed when it comes to spending time together as family members.
Whether you run the family business with your Dad, your wife, your kids; it's important to remember that spending 2 hours in a sales meeting together doesn't qualify as quality family time.
Take the dog for a walk and make sure business 'talk' is off limits. Treat your loved one to dinner at their fave restaurant. Again - no work chat. Whatever you do, wherever you go, make time to be family.
Be in the moment
There's nothing more distracting than a phone buzzing in your pocket when you're trying to enjoy dinner as a family. How often do your kids say 'look at this Daddy' only to see your head down in your phone again? Whilst you may feel like you have to be 'on' 24/7, nobody else expects you to be. Because they're all busy having time with their own families.
So take a technology detox every day - turn your phone off, put your laptop away and be in the moment as a husband, a father, a brother. You'll soon notice how much fun and love is around when you haven't got one eye on emails.
Don't be afraid to show love
People often worry that if they show any form of love to their family members at work it will seem 'unprofessional' or show preferential treatment over non-family employees. But more often than not, that couldn't be further from the truth.
Staff want to feel that the business (and the family running it) are secure and stable. Any sign of conflict between family members is a huge warning flag for employees. If relationships begin to breakdown and become tense, it doesn't bode well for the company. And in turn, for people's jobs.
Hugs in the morning, the odd bouquet of flowers to show appreciation, a warm energy between you both; all signals for employees that things are going well and everyone is onboard with the success of the company.
If they wanted cold, faceless leadership they'd be working for a huge corporate firm. But they're not, they're working for your family business.
Share the love
Nurturing a culture where love, kindness and appreciation are valued is key to any family firm's success. Those values filter down from you as a family leading the company through to the employees who are dealing with your customers. People buy from you because you're authentic, you care and you love what what you do.
But you can't be everywhere at once. So your employees need to believe in it too. Love and kindness should be as crucial to your company strategy as sales and growth. Employees should be taught about the value of caring for customers, showing gratitude and giving back.
It sounds simple (and obvious) but love takes work. Love for each other, love for employees, love for customers. Make a conscious effort to incorporate love into your business.
Want to chat with me? I'm always on hand for some friendly (free) advice. I've been helping families in business for nearly 15 years so there isn't anything I haven't seen. Call/text me on 07590 830 001 or email me - [email protected]
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