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Owning a business is not for everyone. It involves taking risks, defining strategies, and dedicating countless unpaid hours. When the business is family-owned, it becomes even more complex. In addition to the challenges of entrepreneurship, there are the complexities of having a sibling as a partner or a parent as a boss.

Being able to separate the family sphere from the business sphere to achieve business success is key. Taking the company to a more professional level and carefully selecting skilled employees are absolutely vital moves.

However, that alone is not enough. In this way, families must ask themselves, especially looking towards future generations: Why do we want to participate in the family business? What is the purpose of staying together?

Dr. Victor Frankl, Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, in his book "Man's Search for Meaning," mentions that what truly motivates people is the search for meaning in life.

People are intrinsically motivated when they find purpose and meaning in their actions.

Family enterprises must seek a sense of purpose to stay together so that the difficulties that arise, which indeed will arise, can be overcome with a common goal in mind, a goal that is shared by its members and allows them to fulfil themselves as a family in business. For some families, it is to continue the family legacy, for others, philanthropy, generating wealth for family members, among countless other purposes. Each family must find theirs and then build a future aimed at that purpose.

But how do we achieve this?

The first step is to create opportunities for dialogue. Establish safe spaces where the family can pause to reflect on how they got there, what challenges they overcame, and what values emerge from those 'family stories' can be a great start to search for the meaning.

Families that take the time to think and then BUILD a purpose, where all the family members are involved, where the next generation can envision a future, are more likely to achieve the enduring legacy of the family heritage.

And above all, as Frankl also discusses in his work, it is about freedom. We must help families work towards freedom.

As long as all members are free to choose their future and express their interests, they can build a family project that is feasible and respectful of the family and its members.

About the Author - Jacqueline Schwartz CFBC, TEP is a Family Business Consultant, helping families manage the unique complexities that arise when business is blended with family dynamics. This involves working with the family to learn about their own characteristics and create an environment conducive to long-term business success while preserving family harmony and cohesion.

Knowing and implementing business best practices in areas such as corporate governance, succession planning, next-generation leadership, and change management, helps families ensure that the family business is operating effectively and can continue its legacy. Find out more here


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