Home' Border Enterprise : Autumn-Winter 2011 Contents enterprise
Vol 4. Autumn/Winter
AFAMILY business is a powerful
entity as no-one else will work as
hard or be as committed as family
members to ensure its success.
However, the family firm faces
challenges which differ from other businesses in
many ways. A common occurrence is that family
issues can affect business and business issues
can affect families.
Conflict among family members is a major
threat to the business and can stem from a
number of sources such as children coming
home; changes within the family including
marriage and divorce; clashing values and
objectives; dysfunctional family relationships;
generational rivalry and competition; a push for
change; unrealistic performance expectations;
and changes in ownership through death or
According to business consultant Professor
Nancy Bowman-Upton, in the publication
Transferring Management in the Family-Owned
Business, it is estimated that less than a third
of family businesses survive the transition from
first generation ownership to second generation
ownership. "Sometimes this is due to family
members not having interest in running the
business but in most cases it is due to the
lack of creating a plan. A succession plan is
absolutely necessary to ensure the business
lives on from generation to generation," Ms
Her tips for a successful family business
• Clearly defning the goals of the company.
• Outlining each family employee’s role
and responsibilities and holding them
• Keeping an open line of communication at
• Addressing all concerns quickly and in a
• Creating a fair promotion and salary system
that is based on individual merit and ability.
• Taking a management course to learn how
to separate emotions from the management
• Providing opportunities for advancement in
the business for non-family employees.
• Being prepared and creating a succession
Regular business meetings are also necessary
to ensure everyone is 'on the same page'. They
allow family members to run the enterprise as a
business, just like a board runs a company or a
management committee runs an association.
A meeting provides the family with a legitimate
forum where issues may be raised, expectations
are able to be made clear and decisions can be
made as a group.
The benefits are that things will get done,
people will feel valued and the business will
move forward. Most importantly, tension in the
business may be prevented from 'spilling over'
or impacting on family relationships.
Some of the most
organisations are family
enterprises and there
are plenty on the Border,
writes MARK COLLINS
B & B JOINERY
Owners: Adam and Trin Besic DESCRIBE your business/how
did it start?
manufacture all types of
cabinetry for the domestic and
commercial markets," Adam said. "The
business was started in 1988 by Greg and
Allyson Boehringer and my wife Trin and I
joined them as partners in 2002."
How long have you worked together?
"Trin and I have worked together for the
past nine years."
How do you complement each other /
what are your particular skills?
"We each bring our own set of skills to
the business. Trin manages our accounts
department and oversees our OH&S
requirements while I am involved in kitchen
design and sales and manufacturing
What are the advantages of working
"Flexibility of work hours is a big positive
as we can attend outside engagements
and appointments and still have someone
left at work to run the business. When
faced with any business issues we bounce
ideas off each other to come up with a
What, if anything, is the downside?
"It can be difficult to take direction or
criticism from each other."
How do you keep business and family
"We do not take any work home. It is
better to go in early and get it done so that
way we when you are at home your time is
devoted to family."
What are your tips for continuing
"Make sure there is open communication
and a dedication to hard work. You also
need to keep your eyes and ears open
to be aware of what is happening in the
economy and to keep abreast of market
Where will you be in 10 years?
"We still want to be involved with B & B
Joinery. The Albury-Wodonga area should
continue its strong growth well past that
period so being in the construction industry
should be a good business choice."
Would you recommend family
partnerships to others?
"Yes. If you work well together and
complement each other at home then
a business partnership should be a
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