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Starting in my family business. Any advice on what to do, what not to do?

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Varun

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Feb 9, 2018
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Hello everyone,

My family owns a small business in consumer electronics(retail). My long-term goal is to automate it so that it can be a proper Fastlane venture. It fulfills every other criterion in the framework.

However, it has only been 3 days since I joined. Presently, I've just been told to observe sales and told a couple of things about general functioning. I'll also be getting involved as a salesman and in every other facet of the business to learn about it.

What are the things I can do to expedite this process, apart from things such as deliberate practice mentioned in TMF and Unscripted ? Looking to learn more efficiently.
 
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The Racing Driver

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Apr 20, 2015
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Hello everyone,

My family owns a small business in consumer electronics(retail). My long-term goal is to automate it so that it can be a proper Fastlane venture. It fulfills every other criterion in the framework.

However, it has only been 3 days since I joined. Presently, I've just been told to observe sales and told a couple of things about general functioning. I'll also be getting involved as a salesman and in every other facet of the business to learn about it.

What are the things I can do to expedite this process, apart from things such as deliberate practice mentioned in TMF and Unscripted ? Looking to learn more efficiently.

I'm also helping my Dad in his business. I don't know if this is the best way, but can you see any obvious bottlenecks? You're already getting sales so discovering what's preventing growth can quickly bring into focus what you need to learn and do more efficiently.

Since your business is in retail, maybe a chain strategy is one way of scaling. For that you'll almost surely need solid processes and standard operating procedures (SOPS).
 

Varun

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Feb 9, 2018
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I'm also helping my Dad in his business. I don't know if this is the best way, but can you see any obvious bottlenecks? You're already getting sales so discovering what's preventing growth can quickly bring into focus what you need to learn and do more efficiently.

Since your business is in retail, maybe a chain strategy is one way of scaling. For that you'll almost surely need solid processes and standard operating procedures (SOPS).

Sorry, I've been travelling, didn't get to check back.

Thanks for the information. Yeah, I'm aware of chaining, that's the way to go. There's a retail chain in my country in consumer electronics(India) that's already done it, though we are into both retail and distribution to other retailers. Most bottlenecks have to do with micromanaging and therefore automation. Didn't know about SOPS, thanks. What do you mean by solid processes?
 

The Racing Driver

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Apr 20, 2015
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Most bottlenecks have to do with micromanaging and therefore automation. Didn't know about SOPS, thanks. What do you mean by solid processes?

Sorry to confuse you, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and solid processes are almost the same thing. They help you run your business more smoothly and can definitely prevent needing to micromanage.

Here's a good definition: Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) - The Personal MBA
 
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Varun

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Feb 9, 2018
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Rich Wood

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Jun 17, 2018
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Salt Lake City, UT
Varun,
Family businesses can be great, but it really depends on how you approach it.
I left a very lucrative position in another company to work side-by side with my father about 7 years ago. We have always been best friends, and I wanted to continue his legacy and spend more time with him, and build on what he had built. I felt it would be a travesty to see all of the good work be sold to someone else, or go down the drain.

A very good friend of mine said, do business with your friends and family, because as you get older that is the only way to stay close to them (with all of the other stresses and demands of life). it is very true!

At first I didn't want others to think I had the golden spoon, or that I was daddy's boy, so I had to work harder and smarter than all of them. I quickly proved my worth, earned their respect, and to this day work diligently to make the company great.

Best things you can do in the company business, are preserve the good things of the business including the culture and relationships.

Worst thing to do, is take advantage of what your family has built, and destroy the foundation. Don't rob the coffers.

Wave the flag high of what your family has done, and build on it. Become a 2nd generation success story, and build the company into the brand with the reputation that it should have. Grind and hustle every day, until you can be proud for yourself, your employees, your customers and represent your family in such a way that they should be represented.
 

Varun

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Feb 9, 2018
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Varun,
Family businesses can be great, but it really depends on how you approach it.
I left a very lucrative position in another company to work side-by side with my father about 7 years ago. We have always been best friends, and I wanted to continue his legacy and spend more time with him, and build on what he had built. I felt it would be a travesty to see all of the good work be sold to someone else, or go down the drain.

A very good friend of mine said, do business with your friends and family, because as you get older that is the only way to stay close to them (with all of the other stresses and demands of life). it is very true!

At first I didn't want others to think I had the golden spoon, or that I was daddy's boy, so I had to work harder and smarter than all of them. I quickly proved my worth, earned their respect, and to this day work diligently to make the company great.

Best things you can do in the company business, are preserve the good things of the business including the culture and relationships.

Worst thing to do, is take advantage of what your family has built, and destroy the foundation. Don't rob the coffers.

Wave the flag high of what your family has done, and build on it. Become a 2nd generation success story, and build the company into the brand with the reputation that it should have. Grind and hustle every day, until you can be proud for yourself, your employees, your customers and represent your family in such a way that they should be represented.

Thanks for this great comment! I share many of the ideas you mention in your post, and got some new good ones. Always good to hear from those much more experienced than me.
 
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Shepherd

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Jul 10, 2017
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One word of advice from experience that doesn't directly address your question: Understand that making this move WILL add complexity to your family relationships. Not necessarily better or worse, but complicated. Change will probably be difficult and should be approached carefully after you have proven yourself. Don't try too much too fast. Try and have a game plan as to what the next couple years will look like that everyone agrees with. Spell it out, don't just assume your trajectory and expectations are shared. Good luck.
 

Late Bloomer

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However, it has only been 3 days since I joined. Presently, I've just been told to observe sales and told a couple of things about general functioning. I'll also be getting involved as a salesman and in every other facet of the business to learn about it.

I think that's excellent advice. In general, it's a good idea for most new managers to simply observe for around 1 to 3 months before making any big changes. That gives you time to see how things currently work, who's involved, and start to ask why things are the way they are. Something that looks inefficient at first, might have been developed through the years to respond to problems. There might not be a need to things that way any more, but maybe there still is a real concern that needs to be addressed. I suggest you take lots of pictures and video clips and have a notepad with you, to document the way things are done now.
 
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Varun

Contributor
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Feb 9, 2018
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56
One word of advice from experience that doesn't directly address your question: Understand that making this move WILL add complexity to your family relationships. Not necessarily better or worse, but complicated. Change will probably be difficult and should be approached carefully after you have proven yourself. Don't try too much too fast. Try and have a game plan as to what the next couple years will look like that everyone agrees with. Spell it out, don't just assume your trajectory and expectations are shared. Good luck.
Yes, I was beginning to sense it in some ways. I'll use this advice, thank you.
 

Varun

Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Feb 9, 2018
73
56
I think that's excellent advice. In general, it's a good idea for most new managers to simply observe for around 1 to 3 months before making any big changes. That gives you time to see how things currently work, who's involved, and start to ask why things are the way they are. Something that looks inefficient at first, might have been developed through the years to respond to problems. There might not be a need to things that way any more, but maybe there still is a real concern that needs to be addressed. I suggest you take lots of pictures and video clips and have a notepad with you, to document the way things are done now.

Yeah, I've been asking some questions. I actually have no experience at all right now, just trying to see how the accounting side of things work for now. I was told that if I understand that, I'll understand most of the stuff. Thanks!
 

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