Have you got the magic formula?

Have you got the magic formula in your business?

One the hardest aspects of business to master is how to keep your best people.  But the secret to keeping your best people lies in this magic formula:-


The first three letter form the foundation;  Do they have the Skills and Knowledge to do their roles effectively and the right Attitude that enables them to work effectively with others?  However, the multiplying factor is are they ALIGNED to what you are trying to achieve?

An example we hear all to often is  “she can do the job effectively and she’s positive around the business, helping others and working in a team, but she doesn’t believe that what we’re trying to achieve is right.  She keeps trying to change things or do things in a way that aren’t in line with our values.  It’s a real shame…”

Alignment is the most powerful aspect of getting the best Performance (P) from your team and without it, your business will be disjointed and pulling in different directions.

Shared values and vision, delegating responsibility, distributing profits and being prepared to engage with your staff, are all examples of how to gain alignment.  Above all though, is the willingness to communicate effectively in a way that works for each member of the team.  And this is will be the subject of another post soon…

Real Success Ltd help businesses to recruit, keep and develop their staff through adding science and practice into the art of managing people.  Working across many industries including the agricultural sector (where our work is recognised as thought leadership) and especially within family owned business, Paul Harris is determined to raise the profile of people management to equal status with the financial, technical and operational elements of a business.  You can contact Paul on 07895-264916 or email: paul@real-success.co.uk

Are your family right for your family business?

Are your family right for your family business?

The family firm has a dimension which other companies never have to tackle: the family itself.

The assumption that sons, daughters or in-laws will want to take over the family firm can be a dangerous one to make.  What’s even more risky is to assume that your children or other family members have the skills and attributes required to lead your business..

58% of family businesses surveyed in 2016 suggested that their biggest challenge was to attract and retain the right talent.  Family members need to be part of this drive towards acquiring and retaining talent as often they hold senior roles that they simply aren’t qualified to fulfill.  This stifles opportunity for non-family members and can deal a devastating blow to the sustainability of the business.

Family members need to be subject to the same scrutiny as those from outside the business and this must begin at the recruitment stage:-.

  • What are the job description and person specification for the senior roles?
  • How do family members stack up against these important documents?
  • Would your business be better served by recruiting someone from outside your business?

The answers may be unpopular but to bury your head in the sand and assume your family are right for your business could be the very decision that condemns them to a struggling business.

So maybe it’s time to think long and hard as to whether your family are right for your family business…

Paul Harris of Real Success Ltd, is the host of Solihull branch of The Family Business Practice which is a unique Midlands-based business development and networking organisation for owner-managed and family businesses and businesses that supply owner-managed and family businesses.

Today, the Practice has over 80 members ranging from husband-and-wife consultancies to businesses employing over 200 people. The one thing they all have in common is that they are all family businesses and they think, act and do differently to their corporate equivalents. You can find out more about the Family Business Practice here.

Family Business – The Missing Middle

Family Business – The Missing Middle

In a recent survey (2016) of Family Businesses by Price Waterhouse, it became clear that a major issue facing Family Businesses is the lack of medium term planning.  Family firms are proud, and rightly so, of their willingness to take the long view – to think in terms of generations, rather than years or even months.  And at the other end of the scale, family business are good at dealing with the everyday: the nuts and bolts if running a business.  The challenge is in the middle: having a strategic plan that links where business is now with the long term vision of where it could be .

The vision needs to encompass the family, the owners and the business.  They are all interdependent and success for one cannot be delivered without the other.

The key therefore is develop a plan for the medium term.  The next generation often see the succession process as an opportunity to modernise the business, and there may indeed be a need to do this. But it’s important to make changes in the context of longer term objectives, which is why it’s vital to have a strategic plan, developed jointly by both the current and incoming generation, and in consultation with all the shareholders.

Paul Harris of Real Success Ltd, is the host of Solihull branch of The Family Business Practice which is a unique Midlands-based business development and networking organisation for owner-managed and family businesses and businesses that supply owner-managed and family businesses.

Today, the Practice has over 80 members ranging from husband-and-wife consultancies to businesses employing over 200 people. The one thing they all have in common is that they are all family businesses and they think, act and do differently to their corporate equivalents. You can find out more about the Family Business Practice here.

Failing to plan means planning to fail

Failing to plan means planning to fail

The most dangerous ‘failure factor’ on the horizon for the family firm is the succession process. The transition from one generation to the next is critical and often this is the most significant risk to the ongoing success of the business.

The personal and professional elements of the business can bring these two dimensions into direct conflict, with both the family and the firm at risk as a result. However, a well-managed succession process can bring all aspects of the family firm together, generating new energy for growth and diversification.

To do this effectively family businesses need to develop, implement, and communicate a robust succession plan, and do so as early as possible before the actual handover. This is even more important now, when many more people are having children later in life, meaning that the next generation may not yet be ready to take over when the current owners would like to retire. And yet only 15% of family firms have a ‘plan’ for their succession process.

Succession planning is even more important where there are some family members working in the business and some not. In many of these cases, issues like ownership and entitlement may not have even been discussed or considered, which means different people are making different assumptions about the future. In these circumstances, its essential that family members get help from specialists who can then spend time sitting with family members, helping them work through a fair way forward. This prevents any potential conflict, and help the family become more unified for the future.

Paul Harris of Real Success Ltd, is the host of Solihull branch of The Family Business Practice which is a unique Midlands-based business development and networking organisation for owner-managed and family businesses and businesses that supply owner-managed and family businesses.

Today, the Practice has over 80 members ranging from husband-and-wife consultancies to businesses employing over 200 people. The one thing they all have in common is that they are all family businesses and they think, act and do differently to their corporate equivalents. You can find out more about the Family Business Practice here.