When Business is Family
The Southwest Indiana Chamber’s Family Business Alliance was developed to provide resources primarily in the form of industry experts, who conduct seminars and workshops in Evansville several times a year to share their knowledge, facilitate interaction among family business owners and discuss best practices in the family business field. We’ve had great speakers and consultants and high marks from attendees.
What we’ve found, however, is that family business owners still look for ways to have deep discussions; conversations about company culture, systems and the strategies to manage change. All of these topics are relevant for any business but the family businesses can be more vulnerable to misunderstandings in communication which can trigger emotional reactions and hamper problem-solving and strategic planning.
One of the ways that we’re encouraging people to have productive discussions is to participate in a peer group or roundtable. These groups are often formed organically and develop as a result of shared connections, like same industry sector, same position in the company or, in this case, being part of a family owned enterprise.
Peer groups are a way of developing a non-family inner circle of trusted colleagues who provide a place to bounce ideas off, a reality check and a perspective that has no hidden agenda. Group members do have the common factor of being family owned, so know the true place you are coming from. They can help you take a step back from problems that seem personal and consuming so that solutions become more apparent. They can also help you feel less alone; a benefit in itself.
There is currently a CEO peer group operating as a direct result of attendees’ interaction in the Family Business Alliance. There have been conversations among several next generation owners about starting a group; perhaps extending it to an online platform that would allow them to share with other family business owners and not be limited to schedules or geography. We’ll let you know how these groups progress. But, in the meantime, an ISBDC Business Advisor can help provide the perspective and feedback on your business and, might even be able to connect you with other like-minded business owners.