On a much lighter note, consider the following ways to shorten the life of your family business. Do you see any of this in your family business?
Invite all your children into your business as soon as they can crawl. This way you can enjoy their free labor for as long as possible. Don’t forget to promise them that “One day all this will be yours!” and look closely for the anticipation in their eyes. Those are tears of joy. NOT!
“Our wisdom comes from our experience, and our experience comes from our foolishness.”
Always give the most critical jobs to your oldest child…but only if your oldest is a boy. While you don’t need to pay him, if you do, pay him much more than any other child that might be working in the business. You’re trying to build a family dynasty, right? This will help get you there. While it may seem unfair, life is unfair and this will toughen some of them up and really set the stage for a great holiday dinner for years to come.
Talk about your family business history often with your children and remind them that “we have always done it this way” or “we have always been in the buggy building business and that is all we will ever do”. This usually results in trust, confidence and enjoyment that life is only about tradition and not about pursuing dreams…and certainly not about reaching your full potential! Share stories about how Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and all the other great history makers should have followed in their fathers’ footsteps.
Tell your family that the reason you work hard is so they will have a guaranteed job waiting for them when they graduate from school...whether they have the skills or not…whether there is an actual opening for them or not. DO NOT let them work outside the family business for any length of time. This will only build their self-confidence, fill their heads with crazy ideas about how other businesses operate and for goodness sake, teach them about professionalism in the workplace, accountability and consequences. You have no use for new ideas or this type of psychological babble in your family business.
Children watching their parents struggle and work hard for the family business sometimes think otherwise and want to pursue a different career path. Intervene immediately! Mothers can usually do this quite effectively by encouraging their husbands to hire the wayward son and pay them above-market salaries for jobs they are not qualified for and usually do poorly. This way you can keep your children close and your grandchildren even closer. Do this and relax – Soon that special bond between the mother and daughter-in-law will blossom. It’s a beautiful thing, especially when your son and his wife are handcuffed by the over-compensation he receives knowing he will likely never be able to replace that income in the real world…especially when his only work experience is in the family business.