Family Business in the Age of Uncertainty

Bernie Kliska
Bernie Kliska

In today’s business environment, there appears to be many issues for family businesses to be concerned about.  The demands and tensions during these uncertain times highlight even more clearly the need for trust and open communication between family members.  It also emphasizes the need for economic discipline, clear policies, and well-established systems of family and business governance.

A major concern today is the uncertainty of what Congress will or will not do in the future.  Acknowledging the current bewildering political environment is important.  It helps people understand that it is natural to feel uncertain and anxious during these times.

Family businesses seem to be more resilient during uncertain times because they tend to focus on long-term goals.  They work not only for the current generation of the family, but also for future generations as well.  They naturally tend to be more entrepreneurial and adaptable.  They also usually have a deeper reservoir of loyalty to draw upon, not just from each other, but also from their employees.  They are less prone to lay people off and more willing to hold onto employees longer.  For that reason, they often have a more dedicated and motivated work force.

What differentiates lasting family businesses from non-family businesses is an acknowledgment that they have challenges and they embrace those challenges.  There is a willingness to work towards resolving them.

We may not be able to destroy the beast of uncertainty, but we can definitely put it in its cage, where all it can do is occasionally rattle the bars and put on a distracting show.

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