Family business represents approximately 70% of Australia’s total industry.

They are wonderful employers, broadly supporting staff while keeping our economy growing. They generously give back to local communities, showing appreciation and support. Many people underestimate how hard they work as a family team, putting everything on the line to grow a successful enterprise. 

At KBA, we work with many family businesses who are focused on handing down their company to the next generation. This is not an easy process. Each generation comes with their own views, values, and ideas around how things should be done. One theme is common – how do we take our business to the next level?

We have seen the highs and lows of this journey, especially when family members have differing, or even, opposing views. This makes it hard to get agreement – often at the expense of business efficiency, mutual benefit, and staff engagement. Once a decision has been made on future management and ownership it is important that processes are put in place to facilitate a smooth transition.

So, why do some family businesses work better than others? Often it is the result of setting their children up for success. It may mean ensuring the next generation are skilled and experienced in the right areas. It could mean spending time working in other businesses. It usually means – earning their stripes. There is certainly a big difference between a theoretical leader, versus an experienced one.

We often see common themes when things don’t go as planned. Many times it is driven by misalignment about the future direction of the company. This makes things frustrating and confusing for existing employees, often resulting in poor employee engagement and high staff turnover. It is crucial to create a positive and aligned environment, projecting a future that people want to be a part of.

As part of our services, we support many family businesses evolve from good to great. Here are some tips:

Due Diligence

With any family structure, ensure that ground rules are set in place. This includes commercial agreements, wills, independent trusts, and other key instruments. Seek legal advice in setting this up from the beginning.

Strategic Planning

Have a clear business plan that outlines the next 2-3 years. Make sure it includes input from key stakeholders and includes actionable goals. This is your charter to success.

Leadership and Management Training

New generations need to learn how to be great leaders. They need to learn how to manage and empower staff. They need to understand that leadership is earned and not given, especially if they are assuming ownership.

Systems and Technology

We know that new generations want to utilise the latest technology and their tech-savvy skills. They often want to make changes to the company quickly, streamlining systems, reporting, and ways of working. It is crucial to bring others along in the process if the changes are to stick.

At KBA, we take our hats off to family businesses, especially those at a point of handing down a legacy. Our team is passionate and motivated to help and support with strategic planning, change management, personality profiling, management training, engagement surveys and outsourced HR. Our purpose is to take clients on a journey through all aspects of employee engagement and performance, and in doing so – transition them from good to great!

Please see our Free Information, Self-Help downloads and Checklists on:

If you would like help or want to know more about our services, please contact us at Key Business Advisors on 1300 4 ADVICE

About The Author

Colin Wilson

Director and founder, Colin Wilson drives Key Business Advisors with determination, passion, and motivation.

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