Working With Family

As a lot of you know, working with family can be a picnic.  Some days are sunny and cool and some days thunderstorms can spoil everything.  Ron Gattinella knows a lot about running a family business.  He and his three adult children own and operate the four Close to Home stores in New England.  At our recent Baby Lock Tech dealer event Ron gave a presentation on working with family.

A little background:  Ron, his two sons, and his daughter each operate one of the four stores.  Each one of them is responsible for the operation of his/her location.  They meet frequently and each has an equal vote on decisions that affect all four stores.

Here are some of Ron’s tips:

  • In the business he doesn’t wear the "father" hat.
  • You can’t have development without discussion and disagreement.
  • Set up an account with a local bank.  Get them to understand what you do, especially the seasonal aspects of the business.
  • Family members who work in the business must be invested in its success.
  • Multiple stores must be linked by a point-of-sale system.
  • While Ron doesn’t wear the "father" hat, someone has to be the leader. 
  • A leader is someone who can take a group and move it forward.

Finally, and this applies to every business, family or otherwise, you have to be able to "duplicate yourself".  In other words, your business must be process oriented.  There must be systems in place to get the work done, whether you’re there or not.

In an earlier post, we referred to Ron’s soccer-coaching analogy and a great quote from Albert Einstein:

"When a group of individuals becomes a ‘we’, a harmonious whole, then the highest is reached that humans as creatures can reach.

At the end of his presentation, Ron reccomended two books.  I’ve not read either one, but I have them on order.  They are:  "E Myth Revisited" by Michael Gerber and "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman. 

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