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Family Business: Communication at the Business Level

By Deborah Gantos In the past two issues, we have discussed the three levels of communication and how deeply they affect the interactions, progress and even success or failure of a business. In part 1, we examined the individual’s role in helping or sabotaging relationships on a personal level by the way the individual communicates in words and nonverbal behaviors. In part 2, the intricacies of family roles and interpersonal dynamics provided some very important information on ways to understand, cope and repair dysfunctional behaviors and broken dialogues. In this article, we will examine these dynamics on the business, or organizational level. It all boils down to COMMUNICATION. Are you starting to get the theme of these articles? Family members ought to communicate on a business level with the same professionalism that should be expected in any business. The first step in the process is meeting regularly to exchange face-to-face dialogue, brainstorming, problem solving and any other important items. Developing an agenda is an absolute necessity. The agenda sample below is a good example of what you will need for your next meeting: It should start with reviewing the agenda from the last meeting, then discussing previously assigned tasks from it. If a task was not done, the person needs to explain why. This is very helpful in discovering breakdowns in processes, or identifying confusion concerning who is supposed to...

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Family Business: A Case Study

By Deborah Gantos [Editor’s note: This is a composite of many cases I have facilitated in providing counsulting, counseling and training for dysfunctional family businesses. The names, places and characters have been changed to protect the guilty and guiltless: humor intended.] Background Back in 1975, Joseph McGillicutty decided to open an Army Navy surplus store. Joseph fell in love and married the girl of his dreams: Griselda. She and Joe Sr. started raising a family. Joe Jr. was the first born. Six years later, Nancy was born. One year later, Jenny, the baby, was born. Jenny was her mother’s...

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The Importance of Market Research for your Business

By David Castlegrant In 25 years, as a consultant for over 200 small businesses, I have found very few, maybe 5%, had a consistent marketing strategy. Even fewer reported doing any direct marketing research. Most companies rely on their experience rather than a segmentation strategy to target potential customers. Other than the advice from advertising media salespeople, very little study is applied to marketing communications, tag lines, jingles, or other visual/audible hooks. Most companies utilize what can be described as a “spitball” approach to marketing: toss it out there and wait to see what “sticks.” Most companies rely on...

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The Two Keys of Employee Motivation

By David Castlegrant After researching the theme of this article, I found there is no shortage of material on the topic of employee motivation: 10 Ways, 18 Points, 5 Better Ways and The Number One Way. Remove” motivate” and replace with “how to make your first million dollars” and the Google searches almost look the same. So what is the right way to motivate your employees? At the ending of a TV show from the early 1960s called, The Naked City, the announcer would state with an air of authority, “There are eight million stories in the naked city....

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When Small Business Sells to Big Business

By David Castlegrant Once upon a time, there was no Internet. Back then, smart phones and handheld devices did not exist. Companies were forced to conduct business using paper, typewriters and selling products face-to-face locally. With the advance of the Internet, a whole new world of marketing began. Soon customers became global and could shop 24/7. Companies could collect, store, and study customer data and really target market. Companies could do business with other companies faster and cheaper. No wonder the Internet poses such a challenge to the survival of the traditional brick and mortar businesses. Now that the...

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