On celebrating the magic of family businesses
Since giving birth to Evie, I’ve been more aware than ever of the benefits that our set up as a family business affords us. For me personally, I’ve been able to get back to work much sooner than might otherwise have been possible, since I can share her care with Dan and my Dad. And for the business, it’s meant that we’ve been able to carry on exactly as we always have done - albeit that we now have a small person presiding over creative meetings and supervising our work! I’ve always known that being a family business offered something really quite special, but this has shown me a different perspective.
The thing is, running a business with those closest to you is unlike anything else. The highs are so much higher, and the lows can feel all-consuming. At times you have to really test your diplomacy skills to navigate particularly sensitive matters, and the weight of responsibility can be incredibly heavy when you realise that your entire household relies on the business being successful. Yet through it all, you have your teammates alongside you for the ride, and that’s an incredible privilege.
We work with lots of fellow family businesses - husband and wife teams, brothers in business, sister duos and multi generational businesses too - and I’ve come to realise that as branding agencies go, we have a rather unique experience that offers particular value to those like us, who are in the family business boat. We understand that running a family business means that many decisions are based on more than what’s commercially smart. There are lifestyles to take into account, as well as the individual vision and talents of those involved. Everything is much more emotively charged, and that’s something that we just get.
If you’re running a family business, no matter what stage you’re at, I’d love to share some insights on creating a brand that works for everyone:
1/ Be honest with yourself and with each other
Know your individual strengths and be brutally honest about them. Family businesses fall out when there’s a lapse in communication, and you can’t afford to harm your relationships.
2/ Find clarity
It’s common to meet family business owners who have differing opinions on the businesses they run together. It’s essential that you’re all pulling in the same direction, so setting aside time to really discuss what you all want from the business will be time well spent.
3/ Agree on your vision for the future
Particularly crucial for multi generational businesses where you have team members who are at differing points in their career! Know the long game, and make sure it’s one you’re all on board with. However…
4/ Remain open to change
As modern entrepreneurs, remaining agile and nimble will always be key to survival. It’s good to have a plan, but know that things change - for the business and the people within it - and be prepared to roll with the times.
5/ Be consistent
Consistency is essential for any business that wants its customers to trust it! It really comes down to having that clarity and shared vision, but make sure that everyone is singing the same message.
If you run a family business, or are about to embark on the journey, I’d really love to hear from you. Join me on instagram and share your experience - use the hashtag #ourfamilybrand and I won’t miss it.