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Simplifying Family Business

Business Action is focused on helping Entrepreneurs lead better lives, through creating a better business. We have a small team of accredited family business advisors, EOS Implementers & Leadership coaches, as well as access to a huge range of advisors through our Trusted Partners Network.

24 July, 2023
Family Business, Family Business Leaders, Article, Partners
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We recognise that each of the circles in the family business model needs a clear purpose, a clear leader & a clear understanding of their roles.

Our speciality is in the family business circle & we love helping family business leaders to get more of what they want out of their business & their life, freeing themselves up to spend more enjoyable time with their family.

So, how do we do this?

Many business leaders tend to overcomplicate things, particularly executives & founders in family businesses as they generally have additional complexity to deal with.

The reality is that people thrive on simplicity rather than complexity.

In light of the increasing complexity in the world, simplicity has become even more critical.

Over the past year, individuals have faced numerous challenges, such as adapting to remote work, concerns about health & well-being & uncertainties about the future.

By embracing simplicity as part of their leadership approach, family business leaders can avoid burdening their employees with unnecessary complexities.

This, in turn, helps create a work environment that minimises stress & burnout, allowing teams to maintain motivation & achieve success.

Additionally, it allows leaders to strike a better balance between work and personal life, prioritising their families, hobbies & other passions.

Finally, having clarity in the business also helps to simplify the other circles within the family business model.

However, it's important to note that oversimplification can lead to misunderstandings & errors. The key lies in simplifying processes without losing their essence & ensuring clear communication throughout.

To achieve this, focus on simplifying the following six key areas, which can lead to significant & measurable improvements:

1. Gain Clarity around your Family Business's Vision

To lead with simplicity, it is crucial that every member of your family business understands where the company is headed and how it plans to get there.

This can be simplified into a 2-page business plan (or V/TO) by answering 8 key questions that outline your company's core values, purpose, long-term targets, target audience, envisioned future, short-term goals, immediate priorities, and existing challenges. Share these answers in easily digestible language with everyone in your business, and regularly review them to maintain alignment with your direction.

Find out more about  V/TO here.

2. Get the right Structure with the right people

In a family business, just like any business, people are the backbone of success. However, family businesses have additional complexity due to family dynamics & personalities.

Ensuring that you have the right people in the right roles who share your core values is essential, but also making sure that everyone is clear about their accountabilities & role & that you have the right people in the right seats becomes paramount.

As the business evolves, review your team structure & design an Accountability Chart that aligns with your Vision then make sure you have the right people in the right seats.

Learn about how to create an Accountability Chart here.

3. Measure the Data that helps you make decisions

Evaluate the data points you use to measure your business's success.

Are they truly informative and relevant, or do historical or ego-driven factors drive them?

Simplifying your data can help you focus on what truly matters.

Imagine being on a remote island with limited access to technology, where you receive a sheet of paper with only seven to 13 numbers representing your business.

Which data points would provide the clearest insight into your company's progress and overall success?

Determine these key metrics and track them regularly to build a company scorecard.

4. Deal with your Family Business's Issues

Acknowledge & address the issues within your family business.  Identifying and naming them is crucial, rather than avoiding or ignoring them.

We call these the ‘elephant in the room’ conversations. They’re often tough conversations to have but they are for the greater good of the business.

Establish a practice of discussing & resolving issues as a team.

Encourage diverse perspectives & brainstorming sessions to find solutions, spending most of your time identifying the root cause before jumping to solutions.

Sometimes it can be helpful to get some outside assistance to run these meetings & help you to have the difficult conversations.

5. Simplify your Processes

Many family businesses have extensive standard operating procedures (SOPs) that document every workflow detail.

However, it is essential to evaluate whether your team members follow and understand these processes.

Simplify your processes by focusing on the vital 20% that will have an 80% impact on your business operations.

Collaborate with each department to identify the critical workflows within their areas of responsibility.

Once identified, ensure easy access to these simplified processes, considering the preferred format for sharing them with the team.

6. Gain Traction

Having a well-defined plan is meaningless without action & traction.

Ensure that everyone in your family business understands the quarterly priorities & establish a regular meeting schedule to maintain momentum.

Plan two sets of meetings: quarterly meetings for leaders to reflect on past performance, set new priorities & address outstanding issues &weekly meetings for departmental teams to review progress & address challenges.

These meetings should have clear agendas & focus on moving the company forward in line with its stated priorities.

Leading a family business presents unique challenges. Rather than complicating matters, family business leaders should strive for simplicity, as it often leads to better results & a healthier family life.

EOS was designed specifically for family businesses. It helps you work through each of these 6 key areas & gain Clarity, Vision & Results.

Take the free organisational check-up to see how your business performs against each of these 6 key areas & get a full report along with free tools to help you get stronger - click here

And if you’d like to read more about how to simplify these 6 key areas, feel free to download our free e-book - click here 

Business Action is focused on helping Entrepreneurs lead better lives, through creating a better business. We have a small team of accredited family business advisors, EOS Implementers & Leadership coaches, as well as access to a huge range of advisors through our Trusted Partners Network -


The views expressed in this content are those of the author, who is also responsible for any errors and omissions. Family Business Association provides this article for your information only. The content of the article should not be taken as advice. If you wish to explore this topic, please consult an advisor who you consider to have the expertise to provide specific advice in relation to your family business.