Answering These Eight Questions Help Family Businesses in Small Towns Thrive

Anytime someone works in a business experiencing problems, they experience stress. When family members work together, they deal with added layers of stress. When working in a business together, they need a simple way to talk about these complicated stressors. Enter the Vision/Traction Organizer™ (V/TO™). I’ve seen how using the V/TO helps family businesses in small towns overcome these difficult scenarios and thrive.

Deep Family Roots in a Small Town

Does this sound familiar?

Your family has operated the business for 40 years. You love the business. For most of your life, you have given more time to the company than anything else.

But sadly, it isn’t growing. You worry about it making enough money to continue to support your growing family.

You know you should make some changes. But you worry that those changes will make your dad – the founder of the business – really uncomfortable.

One of my clients shared this with me the first time we talked.

She joined the family business seven years ago after realizing she had more fun there than working for someone else. And she loves working shoulder to shoulder with her dad as a second-generation leader.

But she still worries.

The family business had five locations and not enough business volume to support all of them. My client didn’t know how to address this critical issue with her dad.

One location sits in a small town where both her family and the business have resided for generations. For generations!

Making Objective Decisions

Throughout the first 18 months working together, we used the V/TO to help her talk with her dad. And, of course, we used it to discuss solutions to their location situation with the rest of the leadership team.

When their team of four built their V/TO, they had many conversations about whether they needed all the locations. The leadership team considered what it would mean to close any of them, especially the one in the family’s “hometown.”

Using the V/TO, they looked closely at their 10-Year Target™ and Core Focus™. They created big long-term goals to fully capitalize on the niche they fill in the market. The leadership team realized that the hometown location needed to close in order to support the larger vision.

After discussions, financial modeling, debates, tears, conflict, and more discussion and conflict, they decided to close it. It took the team three quarterly meetings to get to that decision. And even after that, the dad still felt unsure.

Crystallize your vision and align your team

Staying True to Core Values

The leadership team also leaned in on their core values to make some really creative decisions.

Their core values drove them to decide to give all the employees in that location generous severance packages. They then partnered with leaders from the small town to turn the location into a community center. Now that building could serve residents for the long term in a new way.

In the end, this difficult decision helped them achieve a number of great outcomes. They are now in a position to increase business profitability, maintain their historical presence in the community, and treat their employees well.

By no means did they make an easy decision. But the team said they would’ve put off making it for years, had they not created their V/TO. That and the continued discussion about what it meant to have the core values, a Core Focus, and a 10-Year Target. In the end, they all pointed to the same future.

Sometimes a trusted outside advisor can help leaders identify paths that serve the greater good of the family business. EOS Implementers® help families learn to run their business on EOS and can coax leaders to have those tough discussions. Find the right EOS Implementer for your business today.

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