Belfast Telegraph

Blood as a weapon: The benefits of the family business culture

By Ron Immink

I've just finished a blog post. The first few paragraphs highlight that culture is the last battleground for business.

Everything else can and will be commoditised due to technology, the web and the speed with which things can be copied. This is a particular opportunity for small businesses. It is very difficult to develop and change culture in a big organisation.

Imagine a passionate, lean, mean fighting machine with some core values that resonate with your target markets. What do you need to do?

  • Develop guiding principles for your business
  • Define a passion statement; what is your business passionate about?
  • Define a value statement; what values does your business stand for?
  • Look after your staff; happy staff will result in happy customers.

I would take a bet that the two companies we have featured on these pages have embraced these principles. They picked a niche and went for it. Combining technology with excellent customer service, culture and passion.

It shows that family businesses have an edge. There is blood involved. A lot of the time that is a good thing. Family businesses are very, very strong on culture and, in effect, extend the sense of family and belonging across the organisation. Sometimes blood is a bad thing, particularly when succession is involved. Blood on the wall in those cases. If you are a family business, add 'plan your succession' to the tips. Otherwise it will be a waste of culture and a waste of your most important competitive weapon.

Ron Immink is co-founder of Small Business Can