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5 Questions To Ask Before You Start The Next Big Thing In Your Family Business

By Kyle Danner

If you work in a family business, you rarely stop, if ever, to appreciate what you’ve accomplished.

I know why.

We were the same way in my family’s business. We couldn’t stop. Either we were in survival mode or the demands were too great. We couldn’t take the time because we didn’t have it. At least that’s what we told ourselves.

Besides, it’s a little indulgent to look back, isn’t it?

After all, you don’t see what you’ve accomplished. You only see what’s left to do. Yet, you miss the value in looking back.

  • Looking back is a reminder of what you have done.
  • Looking back is a reminder that the really hard thing you struggled with, wasn’t so hard once you started.
  • Looking back is a reminder of how you figured out how to get it done.

How To Look Back When Looking Forward

Listening to the family story is one way to look back too. It’s one of the first things I do with a new family business client. It’s a little sneaky actually. Usually, the family is ready to make a big change, either with passing the business on to the next generation or exiting completely. The to-do list grows quickly to the point it’s overwhelming and discouraging.




But listening to them retell the family story is their reminder of how far they’ve come, and the lessons learned along the way. It reminds them they can do it again.

5 Questions To Ask Before Starting The Next Big Thing

Before you start the next big thing, take a few minutes and look back. The following questions will help.

  1.     What problem did you solve?
  2.     What new lessons did you learn?
  3.     What new skills did you acquire?
  4.    What mistakes did you make?
  5.     What was the ah-ha moment?

You don’t have to answer all of them and you don’t have to spend a lot of time with it.

to do list (1)

If you want to take it a step further, make it a family and business habit. Schedule time to look back. Here are some suggestions:

  • On the first day of the month
  • Every Friday afternoon
  • Last day of the quarter
  • On your birthday
  • Over family dinner on a holiday

Make it stick by writing it down and keeping it handy as a reminder when times are tough and you’re questioning how you’ll get it everything done.

Whether you are the owner of a family business or part of the next generation to lead, let’s work together to position your family business for the future. Whatever the “next big thing” is — asking your kids to take over the business or figuring out how to tell your parents about the new direction you want to take the company — I can help you set the business and your family up for success.

Want more expert tips on how to take the next step with your family business? Download a free chapter of my ebook, Is There An Elephant In The Family Business?

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