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BUSINESS MENTOR: Enhancing A Family Business

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By Armando O. Bartolome  

The Philippines is a country with tight-knit family relationship. In fact extended family is evident. There may be four generations living under one roof. Living from a distance may not be a practice. Families of overseas Filipino workers tend to live nearby. 

In provinces, seeing huge property lot with several houses may be a common sight.  I saw how happy a big family of 20 people staying in a 7-bedroom house. 

The Philippines is a FUN place indeed.

Getting into business, statistics will show we have more, which had begun within the family. The likes of Ayala, Gokongwei, Sy, Tan, Razon are examples of giant conglomerates that started business roots from the family. 

Growth of a business is not a walk in the park. There are challenges, which come along the way. As a franchise business mentor together with my spouse Lyndah, have been witnesses to roller coaster rides of family businesses.

Family Members: An Obligation vs. Options

Having a son or daughter active in managing a family business is a sight to behold. What is wrong is to obligate and with no choice at all. On the other hand there are parents who are open-minded. There are options presented. 

Years ago, there was a family of three who applied for a franchise business. The eldest daughter just resigned from her job in a bank. From what appeared the father wanted to get his daughter an existing franchise business. The daughter and her mother agreed with him. In short they obtained a nice location and began to operate the business. 

Six months passed, there was an urgent call from the franchisor. The daughter who was in charge of managing the business was missing. She left a letter addressed to her parents. The letter was brief and to the point. She could not anymore be living under their dictates. Further she did not really like the idea of getting the business. She was just pleasing her dad. The girl went abroad and till this day never established communications with her family. 

The franchise business was pre-terminated with the franchisor managing the branch.  

On the other hand, there was this couple with three children. They all chose to find jobs and even went abroad. A few years after, one of the children approached his mother. The job he took could not meet his family’s needs. He was not there to ask for financial support. What he wanted is to see possibility of joining the family business. 

He was accepted on certain conditions. First he had to undergo the basic training as normally given to every employee. The son had to struggle in working at production, riding delivery trucks and attending to customer service. The mother wanted to communicate being a member of the family is not an automatic rise to a managerial position. 

Today the son understood every aspect of the business. The other two came back after experiencing difficulties abroad. The parents are now proud to have with them all active in their respective field.

My Advise: Get Into A Dialogue

Parents to set the tone of the dialogue.  Allow children to say what they have in mind. Parents on the other hand may explain the vision. Example the current plans for the business. The dialogue is not expected to end with a definite commitment. In fact dialogue may be done on a regular basis. Ensure the atmosphere is conducive and avoid including too many in the dialogue.

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