Kitty and Jamil Alaily, Cost Cutters franchisees for 22 years in Northeast Wisconsin, have nearly completed the hand-off of their 40 salons (including 4 Supercuts) to their 28-year-old son, Jihad. After two and half years of planning and execution, Kitty Alaily offers some hard-won advice.
Share a vision. Make sure you, your spouse, and your children all understand the long-term plans for your company. With everyone on board, the smaller things will come together more easily since you're all working from the same game plan.
Hire an outsider. Whether it's an outside consultant to intermediate, or an office manager whose full-time job is to create procedures and keep you and your family members on task, make sure there is someone other than family to whom you are all accountable. All family members must agree on the processes this person implements.
Meet regularly--at work. Be disciplined to have regular family meetings in the office, whether daily, weekly, or monthly. This helps keep communication consistent. Actions go forward more smoothly because everyone knows what the other departments are doing.
Communicate often. Even with scheduled business meetings, it is important to communicate often. Keep your lines of communication open, from quickly touching base to sitting down to resolve frustrations. There are no surprises when everyone communicates.
Act professionally in the office. Your employees will watch how family members interact at work. Be consistent with all your staff members--family and non-family alike. Don't take family arguments to work. Keep it professional always at the office and you will set a nice tone for your staff.
Make sure the "kids" can do it. When preparing for the next generation to take over, be sure to put the right person into the right position, based on their aptitude. If there is more than one child involved, be sure they know and agree on the roles they will play in the business.
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