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Family Business – The Missing Middle

In a recent survey (2016) of Family Businesses by Price Waterhouse, it became clear that a major issue facing Family Businesses is the lack of medium term planning.  Family firms are proud, and rightly so, of their willingness to take the long view – to think in terms of generations, rather than years or even months.  And at the other end of the scale, family business are good at dealing with the everyday: the nuts and bolts if running a business.  The challenge is in the middle: having a strategic plan that links where business is now with the long term vision of where it could be .

The vision needs to encompass the family, the owners and the business.  They are all interdependent and success for one cannot be delivered without the other.

The key therefore is develop a plan for the medium term.  The next generation often see the succession process as an opportunity to modernise the business, and there may indeed be a need to do this. But it’s important to make changes in the context of longer term objectives, which is why it’s vital to have a strategic plan, developed jointly by both the current and incoming generation, and in consultation with all the shareholders.

Paul Harris of Real Success Ltd, is the host of Solihull branch of The Family Business Practice which is a unique Midlands-based business development and networking organisation for owner-managed and family businesses and businesses that supply owner-managed and family businesses.

Today, the Practice has over 80 members ranging from husband-and-wife consultancies to businesses employing over 200 people. The one thing they all have in common is that they are all family businesses and they think, act and do differently to their corporate equivalents. You can find out more about the Family Business Practice here.

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