I heard an ad on the radio for a window installation company. The ‘creative’ at their ad agency had decided to make the fact that the company is a family run business with nine family members in management as the key sales point. Ostensibly everyone in the family cares about high quality service.
Let’s begin with the most obvious.
- No other employees will work hard or ‘give a shit’ since they have little or no chance at promotion.
- There can be no reasonable plan of succession. It will always be the result of a family fight to the death.
- The accounting department will go to the person with the worst case of OCD not to the person with a history of honesty. Good financial analysis will not exist.
- If a customer has a problem they better hope the problem was caused by a weaker member of the family not a stronger member, or there will be no resolution.
- Mistakes will often be covered up because of internal family dynamics.
A family business is not a good idea.
I recently took advantage of a similar situation. The father sent two men to work at my house. They both screwed up a key pricing issue. When I called the father for a refund, I mentioned his son’s good behavior and bad mistake. I knew he would have had a long history of his son screwing up, whether it was true or not.
You can’t sell me with a 'family business' sales pitch or ‘veteran owned’ either. I’m a veteran.