Keeping Families in Business

Keeping Families in Business

By Casie Larette, Advance Iowa Program Assistant

To us, the benefits and importance of family businesses networking together are clear. Our mantra family businesses are different’, is not just a catchy phrase. We believe family businesses are different due to the result of the unique challenges during their start up, and those which continue through the life of the business. While every business faces challenges, University of Northern Iowa see’s a specific need in Iowa for support in conserving family businesses in our home state.

Family businesses are unique, and due to the uniqueness it leaves room for lack of connectedness with other businesses in the community who are not family based. Family businesses naturally have a more difficult experience setting long term goals, and creating a healthy work life balance in the family’s life. Whether you are currently struggling to create a family dynamic within your business, or if you feel your business is confident within functioning as family business, participating in the UNI Family Business Forum is for YOU. We have designed this forum to reflect the needs of Iowa family business owners, through our main focus of connection.

The focus of the Advance Iowa Family Business Forum is to create a community of family businesses that will have the ability to learn about business governance, continuity, strategic planning, leadership transition and growth.

Coworker vs family member?

    Professionalizing the work environment, expectations, and organization of leadership, are unique challenges families can face during their start up, and as the business is passed through generations. Family is the relationship in your life that supporting you through the path your life takes. However, when your family is both involved in your personal and professional life, it can be challenging for the leadership of your family business to place expectations on their employees compared to running a non-family owned business.

Expectations hold businesses together and will keep a company running for generations. If you are in a place where you struggle to create a line between being family members and being coworkers, Advance Iowa and peer family businesses can assist your businesses leadership in a confidential environment.

Whose business is it after all?

    Whether you are the founding family member of the business or hold a leadership role through succession of your family’s business, the question of who does the business really belong to is nearly unanswerable. A family business can be a defining feature within not only your family dynamic, however additionally a stronghold to the community the business is based in. Are you identified through your family business? This dimension within your family can be one that contains the pressure of- what is next for the business? Who will lead it? And how to obtain being a valued member of the family and not wanting to work with the family business? How should family members that work in the family business treat family within and outside of the business?

Most likely, you can not imagine your family without the business, especially if there has been multiple generations of leadership. We will discuss these challenging topics within the Family Business Forum. As these challenges are specific to family businesses, Advance Iowa has created a comfortable and confidential space to create relationships gain support through making big and small decisions.

The Key to Immortality

  • 70% of family businesses fail before they reach the second generation.

  • Only 10% of family businesses make it to the third generation.

  • 4% of family businesses make it to the 4th generation.

     When we look at these statistics we do not only see numbers, we see struggling families making big decisions. Family businesses are founded on family values, history, and passion for extending their values to others. Family businesses are an important part of Iowa, we want to help you through the big decisions such as transition of leadership, expansion, and growth. When family businesses are able to make lasting connections with others who are going through the same obstacles this could save your family businesses.

Advance Iowa not only wants to create these connections for you, we want to be a connection. We are confident our services will help you make the decisions that are right for you in the present and future. The key to immortality is preparing the next generation, this will be a large focus within the forum. Encouraging and assisting the next generation in becoming a key asset in the businesses from an early stage is crucial. The phases of your transition should be gradual, starting even before the current leadership is interested in passing it on. Due to your family business being founded on your family values, allowing the next generation in to see these values early is the key to keeping the history of your family’s original business plan within the business.

Join us, to discover more resources in facing challenges head on and feeling confident you are making the best decisions for your family businesses present and future.

You can find more information about UNI Family Business Forum online.You may also contact us via email, Dan Beenken, Program Director at [email protected] or Jayne Kielman, Business Development Representative at [email protected].

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