Small and Family Business 101

There is a reason I largely choose not to immerse myself in helping investors, founders and top management in small and family businesses profitably grow – emotional overload. Here is three attributes (“The Three P’s”) that anyone who wants to build a career “selling” to these firms must excel at:

  1. Patience – a willingness to live with large levels of procrastination that has more to do with the Founder’s beliefs and their subordinates views on how best to conform to those beliefs. “We demand and believe in loyalty” – excessive numbers of mid and senior employees and clients who are retained by the business despite an increasing strategic “mismatch” with the future direction of the firm.
  2. Power – an ability to line up the powerful forces in support of your ideas, insights and growth strategy and use that power to mitigate or eliminate the forces pointing their guns at you. In Boardrooms of small businesses, the power is largely drawn from the emotional objectives of the Business Owner, key investors or close counselors (reputation, standing in the community or within the firm, personal friendships etc.)
  3. Perception – an ability to tap into the key influencers’ perception of how they want the firm and its’ people to be viewed by the outside world  (clients, business partners, suppliers, competitors, friends etc). Many a reason to invest in a profitable growth alternative has as much if not more to do with perception than reality (the owner of an insurance broker who builds a HNW private client business largely because he wants to be seen as a peer of other successful entrepreneurs and executives in his personal community).

© James Berkeley 2015. All Rights Reserved.

 

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