Families can build great businesses – productive, profitable and long-lasting. But family businesses can end badly, too – flaming out in generational issues or squabbles.
The Mitzens are aiming for productive, long-lasting and profitable.
To that end, the Mitzens have put structural guidelines in place to resolve issues that often arise as family businesses progress. They also have put considerable effort into creating a family mission and values statement intended to guide relationships and decision-making.
For the Mitzens and families in similar situations, "Its really important to define their personal values" so that different work-related attitudes can align in a smoothly operating business setting, says
Chief obstacle buster at Inspired Choice,
The Mitzens business is
* Nicks fiancee.
Its the Mitzens willingness to talk out values and relationship issues before opening their first store that sets the family apart.
"We spent more than 30 days developing our mission and values," Andy says. The exercise "gave us insights to each others values and made us realize that someone doesnt necessarily disagree, just looks at (an issue) differently."
Among the indications that the values and mission process has taken hold: "Im not Dad at work," Andy says. "
Another indication: No business is discussed at dinners or family gatherings, though Nick admits "Agata and I talk a little." Instead, there are weekly meetings to discuss business matters.
"Life is about human interactions," Andy continues. "Our mission and values process has helped. When we run into issues, someone asks, Are we communicating in accordance with our mission and values?"
Family businesses "are so much about communication," Sussman-Miller says. "You cant personalize issues. The emotional reaction comes first, but its important to sort out the emotion and get to the facts in a neutral way. "Create work-free zones in the family structure and stop talking about work after hours."
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