Welcome to 2018 my dear readers! The whirlwind of gift-giving, marketing blitzes,
parties galore that began right after Halloween and continued to gain momentum
throughout the end of December just ended. And in a blink of an eye, January and
February flew so fast and it’s already history.
After a record breaking 82 domestic and 51 overseas flights last year, I promised my
family last December that I will slow down in 2018. Unfortunately, I have reverted to
another back breaking calendar in January and February promoting global best
practices amongst businesses, big and small.
It has been a love-hate relationship between me and the consulting firm,
Wong+Bernstein (W+B) Advisory Group and I really cannot blame them. W+B has
become a wonderful instrument for corporate governance the past 7 years. As a matter
of fact, based on statistics we have researched internally, W+B can proudly boast
saving close to 200,000 jobs that would have otherwise disappeared had it not been for
its timely intervention on several family disputes in Asia.
For January and February alone, I have logged 24 flights already and half of those
engagements happened overseas. I practically blanketed Indonesia, Singapore and
then Toronto, Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles. I must admit I am having fun but the
stress of travelling in a suitcase can take its toll on one’s health.
Managing Growth without the Stress
This leads me to the crux of this article. For business owners, the task of balancing
family and business has become more difficult than ever. Family members must work
longer hours with the aim of increasing sales, cutting costs and generating a quick
Return on Investment (ROI).
Beginning this year, I can only imagine business owners spending long hours cracking
their heads on how to manage production costs as the dollar to peso has been swinging
wildly since the middle of last year. There are even talks of a P52 to P55 to the dollar
before the year ends. If you are dealing with dollar denominated suppliers, this
automatically translates to a 5% to 10% adjustment.
Being competitive requires intense focus too, especially when year on year sales have
registered a paltry increase. People can begin to lose the balance that is essential for
success, both as a family and in business. Therefore, your first line of defense from
stress is to manage it.
Embrace Life and Work Balance
I’ll name a few here with excerpts coming from an article, The Business of Family
Business, penned by Lee Mccaffrey:
Are you happy? There’s no use being in a situation where you’re not happy. It breeds
resentment and anger, and nothing good can come from that. If you’re not happy, it’s a
good time now to sit down with everyone to figure out why, and then take steps to fix it.
Address issues as they come up. Let’s say something big happened early January,
say a resignation by one of your most competent supervisor who now works for a
competing business. If you cannot get over it and continue to occupy your mind rent
free, it will likely take on a life of its own. Issues and problems like this must be
addressed and squared away, as they arise. So what’s the solution? Hire an equally
talented replacement pronto and make sure those officers occupying sensitive positions
sign documents with non-compete clauses.
Doing Too Much All at the Same Time. The problem with multi -entrepreneurs is that
we often experience too much of a good thing. While stress itself is necessary for our
survival and zest for life, too much tasks can have a negative impact on our health, both
mental and physical. Too many things on our plate, even if they are fun activities can
leave us feeling exhausted, rather than fulfilled. I must admit, I am guilty and still trying
to manage a way to get out of this hole.
There is no balance between Work and Family. For family members working
together, balance is important because the business is part of the family and the family
is part of the business. The ramifications of losing balance can have long-lasting and
Families should take advantage of official holidays that fall on long weekends (and there
are many this year), to re-energize or mend broken relationships and enhance the value
of their time together, so that getting through these tough times can be much easier.
a. Set communication ground rules. Family discussions during family time (holiday or
not) must not include any talk about the business. Usually, the founder or the business
leader is prone to violate this rule. The best way is to create a fun program that rewards
those people who refrain from “talking shop” during family time or travel and provides a
friendly penalty program for those who do. For those who have already set up a Family
Council right after signing the family agreement, this activity is one of them.
b. Share one quantifiable goal with each family member. Ask each family member
to identify one goal that the rest of the family can help that person achieve this year.
Tough times do not have to upset the balance between family and business. To quote
Richard Eu, the great grandson of the Founder of the Eu Yan Sang Group, Asia’s
largest TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Retailer:
“Good governance in a family business starts by putting the company and the family
first – each in its own time. “
So to begin the year right sustain the momentum in the next three quarters, I encourage
family members to set aside dedicated times for the business and family!
From my family to yours, I sincerely wish you a prosperous 2018!