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Ask the Right Questions When Growing the Family Business

Ask the Right Questions When Growing the Family Business

Profit growth and business expansion are two key goals for many family businesses. In order to successfully reach your targets, however, you must control the growth.

If you undergo an undisciplined expansion, you'll run the risk of burning through too much cash too quickly, diluting resources, leaving projects unfinished, and destroying morale.

Whether you're planning an ambitious expansion, considering a merger or acquisition, developing a new growth strategy, or looking at a few minor tweaks to boost revenue, plan your moves carefully.

As you move forward with the strategy, continually evaluate the game plan by asking the following questions:

Is the plan financially sound?

Your family business's cash flow must be able to sustain the strategy, or you'll risk falling behind on your bills and becoming overwhelmed with debt before you reach your objective(s).

Ask the Right Questions When Growing the Family Business

How will you allocate resources? 

This includes personnel, vendors, consultants, technology, supplies, and equipment.

Have you arranged to provide adequate training?

Employees need to have the appropriate skills to accomplish the new tasks assigned to them.

Are you paying attention to critical aspects of the business?

It's easy to get distracted by an expansion, merger or acquisition. Don't let it dilute your focus unless you've consciously chosen to change that focus!

Are you continually evaluating progress?

Doing so includes monitoring each element of the overall plan to ensure it's completed on time and within budget. If you keep falling behind schedule or spending more money than you intended, determine why and revise the project appropriately.

Have you instructed managers to set priorities?

They'll need to help staff members stay focused on their most important tasks and projects.

Have you clearly communicated the company's new goals?

Employees need to know why you're undertaking the objective(s), what the relevant time frames are, and whether any outside help might be involved.

Are you keeping managers current on the status of the project?

Hold regular update meetings and set up procedures to maintain accountability.

Have you solicited insight from everyone who could make a valuable contribution?

Sometimes family business owners make decisions in a vacuum. Ask non-family managers and even some key employees to weigh in on how things are going.

Have you established contingency plans?

Brainstorm as many worst-case scenarios as possible and devise countermeasures against them.

Are you keeping your professional advisors in the loop?

Your CPA, for instance, can assess your financial statements and budget to see whether you're still on solid financial ground. Your attorney can provide feedback on unforeseen or developing legal risks.


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