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Your Family Business Survival Guide Part 1.

The WHY's and HOW's of what makes a business successful

The Basics

Image of man on tightrope over fire with caption Your Family Business Survival Guide


One of the reasons for creating the “Your Family Business Survival Guide” is in part, an emotional one. You see, something that really burns me up is when I see or hear comments such as “Aren’t they lucky to have such a good business?” or along the lines of “He/she is so lucky to come from a wealthy family”. Well guess what – luck rarely has anything to do with success in business! Moreover …

Success doesn’t just fall into your lap and we, as business people, know that only too well. Hence, in this article, we’re not going to dwell on why many family businesses fail but rather, the WHY’s and HOW’s of what makes a business successful – on a sustainable basis. The key word here is “sustainable“.

Surviving in business requires a combination of strategic planning, adaptability, and perseverance. This principle applies in the for start-ups, businesses that are still in their formative years and those that might well be considered to be “mature” family business operations. So, whatever your situation, what follows are a few tips designed to help you navigate and succeed in the business world on an ongoing basis.

Tips for Success: Not Platitudes

The aim here is to provide you with genuine, commonsense, useful tips for success. No doubt you have seen some of them before. However, we plan to do a deep dive into the the various facets of family business success, including some that may be new to you.

On that latter note, you may be surprised to learn that a large proportion of businesses fail because they’re successful! Say what? Yep – and I can attest to this from my own experience as an empanelled advisor with a Government small business advisory Authority.

I can’t give you exact figures but if memory serves me correctly, around 60% of the businesses that I was called upon to do some ad hoc troubleshooting for were floundering because they had grown too quickly. Now, growing quickly isn’t of itself a bad thing. However, the owners of these businesses hadn’t planned for their success properly. So, here’s an outline of what needs doing to help ensure business success:

Now let’s look at each of these in more detail.
Understand the Market and Your Audience

A. Conduct thorough market research to identify trends, competition, and customer needs;

B. Define your target audience and create buyer personas to better understand their preferences and behaviors;

C. Develop a unique selling proposition (USP) to differentiate your business from competitors.

Summary: Conducting thorough market research will help you to understand your target audience, competitors, and industry trends. This in turn will assist you in refining your business model and identify opportunities for growth.

Build a Solid Foundation

A. Establish a clear vision and mission statement for your business;

B. Create a robust business plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections;

C. Build a strong team by hiring skilled professionals who align with your company’s values and goals.

Summary: Develop a comprehensive, solid business plan that outlines your goals, strategies and financial projections. A well-crafted business plan will serve as a roadmap for your success and help you secure funding if needed. NOTE: It’s vital that your Business Plan not be shoved away into a drawer or buried deep within the entrails of your computer. Your Business Plan is meant to be a working document – your “Bible”, your “Owner’s Manual” one which you review regularly, making any needed adjustments along the way.

Implement Effective Marketing Strategies

A. Develop a comprehensive marketing plan that utilises various channels such as social media, content marketing, SEO, and advertising;

B. Utilise market segmentation to target the right audience with tailored messages;

C. Monitor and analyze marketing efforts regularly to optimise campaigns and maximise return on investment.

Summary: Businesses that have a strong online presence and have an active social media presence are more likely to be successful. In addition, businesses that provide high-quality products or services at affordable prices are also likely to succeed.

TIP: Dare to be different! > > > > > > >

Foster Customer Relationships

A. Provide exceptional customer service to build trust and loyalty;

B. Implement customer feedback mechanisms to gather insights and continuously improve your products or services;

C. Develop customer retention strategies to ensure repeat business and referrals.

Summary: Place a strong emphasis on delivering exceptional customer service. Focus on building long-term relationships with your customers by understanding their needs and providing solutions that meet or exceed their expectations.In other words, make the customer “King of Your Jungle“.

Digital Transformation - Teaching an Elephant to Dance

Adapt and Innovate

A. Stay agile and constantly adapt to changing market dynamics;

B. Embrace innovation and keep up with technological advancements to stay ahead of the competition;

C. Encourage a culture of creativity and continuous learning within your organization.

Summary: The business landscape is constantly evolving, so it’s important to be adaptable and open to change. Stay agile and be willing to pivot your strategies or explore new opportunities if necessary. Stay updated with the latest industry trends and developments. Attend conferences, workshops, and seminars to expand your knowledge and skills. This will ensure that you stay ahead of the competition and adapt to changes in the market.

Financial Management

A. Maintain accurate financial records and regularly review your financial performance;

B. Implement effective budgeting and cost control measures;

C. Seek professional advice when necessary to optimise cash flow and make informed financial decisions.

Summary: Maintain a strong financial management system to track your cash flow, expenses, and profitability. This will help you make informed business decisions, identify areas for improvement, and ensure your business remains financially stable. A key to good financial management is having a healthy level of financial literacy. Therefore, it’s important that ALL members of your family business be financially literate.

Embrace Resilience and Perseverance

A. Acknowledge that setbacks and challenges are part of the business journey;

B. Cultivate a resilient mindset and adapt quickly to overcome obstacles;

C. Learn from failures and celebrate successes, using them as fuel for growth.

Summary: Remember, surviving in business requires dedication, hard work, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Stay focused on your goals, learn from your failures, and celebrate your successes along the way.

Your Family Business Survival Guide Summary

All of the above is a summary of the basics for ensuring your family business success. If you can get these right, then you are well on your way to achieving your family business’s survival, longevity and overall financial wellbeing.


There is a sequel to this article and in it we address more of the ‘beyond-the-basics’ intricacies of family business survival – and sustainable growth. A key focus will be the requirements for the creation and maintenance of the family dynasty for future generations

Meantime, please feel welcome to contact us at any time for a discussion on any facet of your family business.

How FBA Can Help You With Your Family Business Survival

At Family Business Advisory (FBA), our purpose is to help family businesses succeed on a sustainable basis. As such, we provide you with access to specialist family, business and technical services with a goal being to generate opportunities for families in business.

In order to complement our own particular specialised skills, over the past several decades, we have developed a network of trusted, professional advisers in such areas as:

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Moreover, we work at all times to give you peace of mind and proactive support to help navigate any changes in the market brought about by legislative changes, geopolitical events and general market conditions – all to maximise your personal wealth and security.

These services are provided by FBA, in association with the Wealth IQ Group.

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