Creating More Harmony And Unity In The Family Business
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Creating More Harmony And Unity In The Family Business

Creating More Harmony And Unity In The Family Business

It doesn't take a pandemic like Covid-19 to create conflict and friction among family or your management team. However, when you have an unprecedented event like a pandemic, combined with new rules and procedures on day-to-day business, it can add stress. Then pile on the fact that even if your business remained open, there was a whole lot going on at home for most people. This includes you as the franchise owner, as well as your people.

Added stressors are at play for multi-unit franchisees who have stores in different counties within their states or throughout multiple states. The differing timelines and guidelines for how and when businesses can reopen wreaks another type of havoc on the business. And if family is in the business, then on the family, too.

In times such as these when an unknown hits, in order to grow and prepare for the future, it is important to reflect on how we could have navigated it better. The dynamics of family, for you the franchise owner, the people you employ, the vendors with whom you work, and the communities you serve, are all impacted in different ways. One consistent theme is a need for harmony with family in the business. Never has that been more critical for multi-unit franchisees.

Creating harmony in the business involves unity with all directly and indirectly involved in the business. This requires commitment, hard work, and sacrifice, which during unknown times are crucial to emerging stronger onto the other side. Effective communication is the direct path to ensure your organization can achieve this, no matter what happens.

Effective communication is a very broad phrase and often easier said than done. This is especially true in business when it comes to setting consistent goals, expectations, and achieving an agreed upon succession vision. It may sound like a pipe dream but it is a possibility, and working towards this will help you build a strong business that can be sustained, even when the unknown hits.

One of our favorite phrases is "Agreements Preclude Disagreements." And the best time to develop "Agreements" is when things are "easy breezy" in business and relationships. Here are four key areas to consider to get you started:

  1. Criteria for employment - This sets the most important criteria by which family members (direct and indirect) can enter the business. Criteria may include previous employment and education or technical requirements.
  2. Behavior, attitude, and performance expectations - This sets clear expectations related to terms of conduct, dress, work ethic, attitude, and more.
  3. Compensation, benefits, and perks - This sets a clear guideline for what can be expected in terms of salary, benefits, and any additional (or not) perks associated with being involved in the business.
  4. Family governance - This establishes specific policies on how decisions will be made.

Running a business is tough enough. Add the dynamics of relationships, sprinkle in some stress and anxiety, and a dollop of a pandemic and it can put a toll on your family and those who work for you. Protect all that you have worked so hard for, and ensure you emerge stronger on the other side of any unknown.

 Kendall Rawls knows and understands the challenges that impact the success of an entrepreneurial owned business. Her unique perspective comes not only from her educational background; but, more importantly, from her experience as a second-generation family member employee of The Rawls Group - Business Succession Planners. For more information, visit or email

Published: June 29th, 2020

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