Family-owned Business Tan Hiep Phat Versus Multinationals: In It For The Win
Many of our businesses can be traced back to one or two founding inpiduals. As these ventures grow, however, more family members may get involved to help fulfill the mission and vision of the business.
With growth comes inevitable challenges and growing pains as initial processes need to scale and adapt.
|CEO Phuong Uyen Tran - Deputy Director of Tan Hiep Phat Beverage Group (right) and her parents. Photo: Tran Qui Thanh|
CEO Phuong Uyen Tran - Deputy Director of Tan Hiep Phat Beverage Group shared that she learned from personal experience, watching her parents grow THP, that family businesses can succeed, but not without struggling at times.
"One of my father’s favorite sayings goes: When the boat sets out to sea, it is likely to encounter storms. The challenge is learning to control the boat when that storm comes," said Phuong.
|Photo: Tran Qui Thanh|
Storms will come as you grow any business, particularly if it is cultivated by family. However, those storms can be navigated successfully by understanding the following principles:
1. You must embrace effective communication
Communication is critical no matter the situation, but when you have personal and business lives overlapping, emphasis on good communication is extremely important. Transparency and better communication empower every inpidual involved in the business — especially family members — to exercise better judgment and to take ownership over their part in the process.
A shared understanding of expectations allows everyone to be unified in purpose, goals, and tasks. Family-owned businesses only work well when there is good communication between different family members and across the generations.
It means you have to learn to listen to one another. An integral part of communication is listening. A family must learn to listen to each other fully and to be generous. This results in giving others the space to express an opinion without butting in or mentally preparing our own retort. Doing this as a family helps free us from our prejudices about who we are and what we are capable of — it gives each inpidual the space to reveal their best self.
2. You must create and adhere to boundaries.
When family members are involved in the business, it is important that boundaries are created both inside and out of the working environment. The potential for broken boundaries and inter-marital, or inter-generational, conflict is practically limitless. When THP was first established, we had no boundaries at all — we literally lived in the factory. My father’s office was also our family’s living room. Logistics have changed over the years, but despite the change in living quarters, it is important to acknowledge boundaries in the work environment.
For example, in the workplace, I need to respect my father as my boss, but he also needs to respect my professional opinion even if it differs from his. He talks to me as a valued colleague and supervisor, not as a father talking to a daughter.
|Photo: Tran Qui Thanh|
3. On top of anything, be a family!
Your family relationships are the most important, even more fragile when there is a family business involved. It is vital to do what is necessary to keep them intact and strong. Our family has its own mission statement and a set of core values just like our company does. We regularly re-visit these values, discuss them at family meetings, and then refine them. We all agree to abide by them.
We have found them an indispensable checklist. They bound us together at a time when we were fraying at the seams. They have helped keep us close-knit and made our working life far more straightforward.
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