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July 20, 2015

The 4 Cs of Conflict-Free Family Businesses

Focusing on growth is harder when your co-owners are your relatives

by Fred Pidsadny for ProfitGuide.com

Family-run businesses are like elastic bands—they can be stretched only so far, in different directions, before tensions cause them to snap. Those who run family businesses know that stress can often be elevated by forces that don’t exist in non-family firms, from hiring obligations and bloodline silos to next-generation financial demands to under-performing family members. It’s one thing to discipline or even fire a stranger, quite another to turf a brother or daughter. For such businesses, finding a successful balance is an ongoing challenge.

So how can family-owned businesses avoid conflict and focus on growth? For a number of years I’ve been working with a company run by three brothers, each with their own family and their own unique take on strategy and succession planning. They have benefited tremendously by learning and practicing what I call the four Cs of strategy execution for owner-managed businesses:

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