Does Your Family Business Need Help?

Does Your Family Business Need Help?

The draws nearer, for your daughter (or even son), who is working with you in the family business. Lately, though, the thought of whether the spouse would work in or out of the family business has repeatedly crossed your mind. Perhaps it could be your brother, whose wedding is at an advanced stage, and recently, your elderly cousin, jokingly, inquired whether the soon-to-be-wife will also join the business. Better still, it could be you tying the wedding knots. Actually re-marrying, having been introduced to your future spouse a few years ago and notably her professional background is a perfect fit for your company.
These seemingly hypothetical situations confront those in family business, with almost predicable frequency. And clarity on this seemingly simple query, whether in-laws, spouses and generally those marrying into the family, should work in or out of the family business must not take a back seat. Considering the deep seated ramifications, they should be discussed sooner, rather than later.

Well, What is required? Those involved in the business ought to come together and establish clear entry level criteria. Key questions need to be asked during such situations including: What is the requirement for a family member – blood or otherwise to enter the business? Does marriage bring with it a right or a privilege to work in the family business? Do they need a certain level of education and/or experience? What is the family position on spouses, in-laws entering the business? Do all new entrants just join, after all they are now family? Does this include all other relationships stemming from a union between two people?
The entry of “marriage relatives” into the family business has significant ramifications. And this seemingly simplistic situation, ought to be addressed proactively as it serve as a flash point as the family grows.  A cardinal rule in such settings is to manage the expectations of all parties, well before such situations pan out. In fact, it’s not just the criteria for entry that needs to be clarified – and documented. More importantly even “who is family?” needs to be clarified – and documented. It all about clear communication, understanding roles and responsibilities.
Preferably well before the next steps – Over to you.

Does Your Family Business Need Help?
Institute For Family Business (IFFB), has extensive experience assisting family businesses. Through private family business advisory support services, Succession risk audits, specialized topic-focused sessions of Family Business Learning Series, IFFB continues to assist family-owned businesses in the region thrive from generation to generation.
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For more information on how Institute For Family Business (IFFB) can help your family business survive and thrive, pleasecontact ustoday at +(254) 722 259 855 or 732 998 655.

Paul Ouma, is the founder and course leader of the Family Business Program at Strathmore Business School, is a past Director of the school`s MBA programs and current team leader of the Kenya Top 100 companies partners initiative at SBS. He holds an MBA degree from the University of Nairobi and is trained in corporate strategy by the Balanced Scorecard Institute (USA) and is an alumni of The International Faculty Development Program in IESE Business School (Spain). He is an executive fellow and faculty member at the Strathmore Business School of Strathmore University.

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