family-owned company needs to think like a corporation

Why Your Family-Owned Company Needs To Think Like A Corporation

In Strategy Resources by Brandt A. Handley

Family-run organizations make up a huge portion of the business landscape. Their ability to grow from an idea to the Middle Market involved much ingenuity and strength. All the while navigating the sometimes sticky dynamics of families! Many family-led companies may find their corporate competitors have distinct advantages. What can family-owned Middle Market organizations learn from the policies of their corporate counterparts?

Structure And Documentation

Most corporate entities thrive on structure, layers of leadership and policies for every process. Why? Because they understand structure and documentation are the hallmarks of consistency and persistent growth.

In the past, your company might have made huge strides by taking gambles and winging it. Now, however, as you grow into the Middle Market and beyond, steady, consistent growth should become a higher priority. You have more to lose at this point.

Clear Chain Of Decision Making Command

Who is truly in charge of your Middle Market organization might be a sore point. Perhaps the founders are having a hard time turning over the reins. Or maybe there isn’t a good successor in play. No matter what your internal struggles might be, they won’t get better with a muddy structure.

Therefore, it’s imperative you outline who has decision-making power and how ultimate decisions will be made. Your employees, vendors, customers, and partners need to feel secure in who they should be discussing items with.

Goal Setting And Strategic Planning

Back when you started out, your goals were probably simple: sell products and services, make money and keep the doors open. As your family company has grown into the Middle Market, those goals still exist but certainly have expanded.

Corporate entities use goal setting and strategic planning to help them know where they will be in the near and far future. They shape every decision around their plans and use them as reference points when faced with tough decisions and growth potential.

The Right Employees For Key Roles

In a family-led organization, much of the workforce and leadership are likely related, which can be a boon or a hindrance to growth. When your key personnel is chosen for their relationships over their strengths, you may find your company doesn’t have what it takes for appropriate growth.

While you obviously will have family members involved in the business, you should evaluate them for their actual talents and strengths and be aware when you will need to bring in outside assistance. You might be able to get away with some temporary consultants to bring key staff up to speed, or you may need to consider paying for proper education in vital roles.

And depending on what your Middle Market organization needs, you may have to think about bringing on C-Suite or leadership from outside if it makes the most strategic sense.

It’s possible to maintain your family-led company and reap the benefits of corporate policies. Use the examples of your successful competition and work to infuse their lessons into your existing culture.

So what’s in the Mighty Middle Market for me? — get it right now at