Family Businesses Meeting With Each Other: An Offer You Can’t Refuse

It is standard practice to research the competition before deciding to start a business, and during the existence of the business.  The reasons are legion: ensuring there is a need for the existence of your business; finding out what your product/service differentiators are; assistance in setting a price point; making use of good tools (or employees!) that are already out there; avoiding the pitfalls someone else became a victim to before; and many more.

This interest in the competition remains true for family businesses as well.  The reasons are mostly the same, but with the added dimension of handling the family part of the business.  There are family feuds within and among families in business (witness the Gallo brothers), but for those willing to believe that the sum is indeed greater than the parts, cooperation and interaction among family businesses can be good business for all involved.

Why Should Family Businesses Meet With Each Other?

Chambers of commerce bring together local businesses in a beneficial format all across the country, often supplying reduced costs for helpful business learning opportunities, providing unique events and speakers, relevant to the business world.  Often, there are members in these chambers in the same industry – it doesn’t necessarily mean a business is facing the enemy at every event; often alliances form and lessons are learned helpful to all the companies involved.

What is more compelling about family businesses meeting together, is the fact that even if they’re not in the same industry, they all have things they can learn from each other specifically regarding the family aspect of family business.  Wouldn’t it be helpful to learn from someone else in your field how they handled the unexpected passing of their CEO, either by learning about the provisions they had in place, or being warned about not having a viable succession plan?

It is also inspiring to hear how some family businesses make it past those crucial first two generations, to become a long-lasting family business.  Perhaps learn how they integrated non-family members into the Executive circle, or how they handled splitting the business into different divisions.  Family businesses gathered together could have the power to meet these interesting family business leaders, to talk with each other and outside experts about the problems unique to family businesses, but ones they all in the group share.
These are but some of the reasons the Greater Washington DC Family Business Alliance was initially formed in 2008. Look for us to come up with more compelling reasons for your family business to join us, and benefit from our shared experiences.

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