The Purpose in Family Business
Family business has positives and negatives – our aim should be leverage the positives and seek to mitigate the negatives. One important distinguishing feature of family businesses is that they can embody a sense of purpose.
The original purpose of the business founder may have been wealth creation. However, as the business evolves and additional family members join, it’s an opportunity for the family as a group to discuss and articulate their collective values and purpose, and then make them an essential part of the family business.
Purpose and profit are not mutually exclusive; purpose must drive profitability. It need not be political either. While early thinking was that purpose of the corporation is to “maximise shareholder value”, more recently this has broadened into thinking about “stakeholders” which includes employees and society at large.
This can be challenging for many corporations. But a business that is owned by a small group who are connected by familial ties are in a better position to both articulate their purpose, and take a long-term view in terms of how they manage and operate the business. That way, the business is just one piece of the family’s “social capital” that helps it achieve the broader family mission.
Consider This: To what extent is your family business “values driven”? Has your family discussed and considered your shared purpose? and how that translates into how you use the family capital (both operating and non-operating assets)?
- The nine principles of purpose: Why ‘doing good’ is good family business
- These Values Help Family Businesses Survive and Thrive in Tough Times
- From Shareholder Primacy To Stakeholder Primacy: How Family Businesses Lead The Way
- The ‘unique resources’ which help family businesses beat a crisis
- Does Your Family Business Have What It Takes to Endure?
Here is more on reading on family office services.