What’s Important About Your Business Development Strategies?

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business development strategies Someone once reminded me that there is only one direction you can coast, down.

Unless your business development strategies are in place and taking you toward success you are headed toward failure.

I spent a lifetime as a consultant to long-established businesses. Some of them have been doing business for 75 years or more.

And while they do have a business development strategies, they have never had a business plan–at least not one on paper.

The owners were always people who had been around the company all their life. They were so closely identified with the business that it would never occur to them to have a business plan.

If they spotted an opportunity or a problem they knew instinctively what its impact could be on their company. Rarely did they need business development strategies harts and graphs to help them make a decision.

Then something would happen and they would need a plan, maybe for the bank–and immediately their creative juices started flowing, helping them deliver some of the most creative fiction ever written.

Their objective, explain on paper something they believed in their heart but couldn’t prove to someone they had never felt comfortable explaining their business to, until they needed their help.

They had always been too busy and too secretive to really share information about their business development strategies with outsiders or members of the family – so they just sort of flew by the seat of their pants.

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The Perils and Potentials of Doing Business with Family Business

family business

The Opportunity

Doing business with family members has NEVER been a neutral topic.

Family businesses are a time-honored tradition.

In contrast, many companies have formal policies against doing business with people you have outside ties with, just because of the (MANY) possible complications.

The Solution

What follows is a discussion of how to accentuate the positives, downplay the negatives, and make good decisions for YOUR situation when it comes to matters of family business.

Family Business in History- Tradition and Legacy

It has been a tradition since time immemorial for families to work together. Young people become apprentices to their older relatives and learn the inner workings of business. After “earning their stripes” and completing their education, these young people are often groomed for high positions in the companies.

The connections, the early introduction to the key players and concepts, and the reputation they carry in their families names provide their customers with the security of dealing with a “known entity,” in what is now a very volatile marketplace.

There are many family dynasties that have spent many generations building reputations, building markets, and gaining experience that become their competitive advantage. The Gallo family business in winemaking, the Eccles family business in banking, and the Shane family business in jewelry are examples of families that have (or had) several generations in building their businesses into vast empires.

There are even current tax breaks for employing your children. Some very smart families have their children work in the family business, and a portion of their salary goes into their education fund. This allows for additional tax advantages.

Working in a family business (as a non-family member) can present a unique set of benefits and problems. I worked for a small family-owned florist shop in college. It was extremely unwise to have a disagreement with a member of the “ruling family” because the rest of the family would hear about it almost instantly and your future with the company would be suspect.

There was also much gossip among non-family members about the pointlessness of trying to be successful in a family business because no matter how hard you work, “you´d never have the right genes.”

On the other hand, I worked at another family-owned publishing company whose approach was to treat all of their employees like family. We had a barbecue on the premises every other Friday, communication was extremely open, and it was a wonderfully warm and nurturing environment.

My boss treated everyone like a son or daughter. They were happy to help out an employee whose home was damaged in a storm, (we were given half a day off on the condition we showed up at Dave´s house in overalls with tools in hand) or to cover for a secretary who needed time off to care for a sick child. It was a surprisingly nurturing environment, unheard of in the modern, cold corporate culture.

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