Top 10 New Year’s resolutions for family businesses

Wendy Sage-Hayward
Wendy Sage-Hayward

It is that time of year where everyone is making New Year’s resolutions. I am not necessarily a big fan of resolutions primarily because too often we don’t remember them shortly after we make them! However, if we treat New Year’s resolutions with a bit more formality by writing them down and reviewing them regularly then we will have a greater likelihood of success.

My second issue with New Year’s resolutions as they relate to family business, is that they typically focus on individual outcomes like weight loss, exercising more and the like (which are all good goals of course!). However, this year rather than focusing all of your resolutions on yourself, try developing one for your family firm.

Here are a few resolution ideas to get your thoughts moving in this direction:

  1. Practice daily gratitude towards your family members – especially the ones you find more challenging.
  2. Identify three items in your family code of conduct that you will improve this year.
  3. Engage the next generation in a new conversation about their role in the family business.
  4. Go to a family business conference or course with another family member (not a spouse) this year.
  5. Schedule a conversation with your family about what money and wealth mean in your family.
  6. Complete your shareholder’s agreement in 2015, or at least get started on it!
  7. Develop family employment policies for your family firm.
  8. Schedule a conversation to talk about the pros and cons of pre-nuptial agreements or co-habitation agreements.
  9. Start a family business book club in your family. Top reads include: Innovation in the Family Business by Joe Schmieder or Strangers in Paradise by Jim Grubman.
  10. Develop a plan for exiting your family business in five years.

Remember when it comes to goals, less is more so don’t try to do all 10.  Start with accomplishing one or two, then move along and try more.

What would be a great New Year’s resolution for your family firm?

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