FAMILY BUSINESSES IN THE AGE OF ‘NEW NORMAL’

Bernie Kliska

Family businesses have much to be anxious about these days because of tight credit and the situation in Japan and the Middle East. But the truth is, during uncertain times, family businesses, are better situated than most other businesses not only to survive, but to grow and prosper. Acknowledging today’s unique business environment is important. It helps people see their anxiety as something normal. Family businesses cope best by replacing their anxiety with a renewed sense of mission. They are in better position to make the necessary changes in this challenging environment. Stockbrokers and Wall Street analysts are not second-guessing them, they are ultimately answerable to their own internal support system. During demanding times families usually find ways of supporting one another and sticking together. When working with families  that are apprehensive, I usually ask them how they supported each other in the past when things were uncertain. What are their reassuring strengths, who has them, and can they be utilized now?  Family businesses have many qualities that not only help them stay afloat but move ahead through uncertain times. By their nature they are more entrepreneurial and more flexible. They also 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 therefore tend to have a more motivated workforce. Family businesses are more than ever the backbone of our economy.

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