Building a generational business is part of the American dream. Many pest control business owners dream of the day they pass the business on to their children. It’s the American standard for leaving a lasting legacy, and a popular one at that.
But, while it can be exciting to grow the family business, it often comes with some challenges: How can you maintain the integrity of the family business while evolving with the times? And, are you looking to expand the family business?
The ten family business growth strategies listed here can help propel your business.
1. Communicate to Bridge the Generation Gap
Owning a family business can be very rewarding, but it does come with this share of struggles. That is especially true when many generations work side-by-side.
When pest control owners wish to keep the integrity of the business, their behavior may come across as controlling. In such an atmosphere, younger generations, which look to expand and improve strategies, can often feel stifled. This most often results in a generation gap. So, here, the key is to communicate and agree to value ideas with an open mind.
Millennials are digital natives. That means they understand the true power of the Internet and technology. On the other hand, older generations understand that technology is important but they feel risk-averse to use it to their advantage. A Deloitte study found that 61% of owners understand technology is important, but 40% are unwilling to take the risk to use it.
Being open to sharing ideas is the first step toward closing the generation gap.
2. Establish a Strong Business Culture
What is your onboarding strategy for nonfamily employees? If this question makes you scratch your head, you may not have a strong business culture or you may not have thought of one yet.
The benefit and detriment of family-owned pest businesses are that the work culture can take on the family’s personality. While that’s not always a bad thing (depending on the family), it can leave some employees from outside the family feeling alienated.
So, in order to expand the family business, you must define your business culture. You can start by asking yourself:
- What do you stand for?
- What are your values?
- How do you define them?
- How are they rewarded?
A laser-focused onboarding strategy is also imperative here. You should be able to clearly state the company’s mission and values during the onboarding process and make it clear to all new hires. Without it, you may experience high turnover or see low productivity.
3. Set Boundaries
Working in a family business can feel like a 24-hour job, but it doesn’t have to be. It is incumbent upon owners to create boundaries of professionalism. That is, whatever happens at home, stays at home. Conversely, whatever happens in the conference room, stays at work.
Not only will this help your nonfamily employees see a clear culture and professional norm, but they will also feel more connected to the business as a result. Establishing clear boundaries between the business and the family can help owners and their family members appreciate both.
4. Treat Employees Like Family
To grow your family pest business, you must treat all employees like family members. That courtesy should also extend to your customers. When employees that aren’t your relatives see that all are treated equally, they feel emboldened to raise the bar and work as a family member.
Aligning this value with your family business culture is key to ingraining it as part of your business. As new employees join the family business, they will feel they have stock in the future success of the company.
5. Be Willing to Evolve
To grow the family business, you must be willing to evolve and adapt to the times — be it getting over an aversion to new technology or lowering your resistance to changing trends. Evolving and adapting are essential to the health and sustainability of a family-owned business.
Younger generations are more willing to embrace new technologies that can help expand the family business. These could be anything from automated chatbot features on the business website or setting up targeted email marketing campaigns for current clients.
Overall, generations young and old must work together to evolve the business to meet the current customer demands, including embracing technology.
6. Know When It’s Time to Outsource
As you expand the family business, other aspects of your operations must grow with it. While this is a given, many businesses grow and keep processes the same. Not only is this ineffective, but it also can lead to confusion for the new staff.
If your business is scaling to serve other geographic territories, you can’t be in all places at once. To make the process smoother for yourself and your future employees, using business process outsourcing, or BPO, can help.
BPO comes with several benefits:
- It helps with onboarding, training, and hiring
- It reduces physical space in your office
- It lowers your outsourced market costs
- It provides you with experts who have relevant knowledge and expertise
Even if your family business hasn’t grown to the scale to need a BPO, you can still benefit from the power of outsourcing. Using call centers to manage customer support and help close leads can be invaluable.
7. Recruit from Outside the Family
Effective family-owned businesses understand that there is talent everywhere. To only rely on the family would be doing a disservice to the growth of your company. While generations of a family may be very different, they still tend to have similar upbringing.
Right now, family control is a real problem for some family-owned businesses. This graph highlights that 71% of all boards have at least half of family members.
In order to have a more well-rounded view of the business, leaders must be willing to bring in talent from outside the family. An outside perspective can help a family business grow in ways the family members never considered. For example, they may have a unique insight into customer retention or they may churn rates that can help drive profits.
Successful pest control companies don’t just hire from outside the family, they also bring in outside visionaries to sit on their professional, advisory, or supervisory boards. This allows them to see the outsiders’ perspectives.
8. Have an Exit Strategy
It’s important to have an exit strategy because, without one, the next generation may feel woefully underprepared to take over the business leading to loss of wealth from generation to generation.
Sometimes, it can be hard for owners to pull the ripcord and hand over the keys, even though it’s been a dream. It’s hard to let go of something with your name on it. Even so, there must be some kind of exit strategy in place, even if it’s loose.
Here’s why: Without an exit strategy, you cannot have a clear succession strategy. Right now, 64% of next-generation leaders plan to run the company without any succession plan.
9. Have a Succession Plan
Successful family business owners don’t leave their company to chance. They plan for the future and create succession plans well in advance. They take the time to research the talent within their company to find a suitable successor. Depending on the circumstances, they may look inside or outside the company.
Here is a list of five traits that successful family business look for:
At the top, you’ll notice it has “expressed an interest.” In nearly one in four cases, next-generation family members are considered suitable successors.
10. Be Willing to Witness Changes in Your Company
Sometimes, next-generation family members have different ideas for their company. That can mean small changes or wholesale restructuring of the business. The latest research has shown that almost one-third of successors plan to make changes to the business once they are in charge.
While this may be the thought that keeps some owners up at night, it’s part of the process of owning an intergenerational family business. These changes most likely involve technology and outsourcing because these two elements are growing trends for businesses that wish to scale.
Slingshot Can Help Propel Your Family Pest Control Business
Customer behavior has changed especially over the past year. With smartphone technology, resources are available at the customers’ fingertips. The press of a button can mean the difference between gaining a new client and being left behind. To ensure that your company is the first call for these customers every time, you need effective customer response tools and resources.
Slingshot provides your pest customers with 24/7 service — even on weekends. We help family-owned pest control companies modernize their operations to meet the needs of today’s consumer.
25% of all sales opportunities present themselves after work hours, and we are always there to take that call. Our services can help you increase your leads, conversions, and sales. We offer the best chance to be the first call your customer makes. Not only that, we are there to make the sale.
If you need help with customer support and sales, request a free demo.