How to make your family business flourish

This post is by Giles Ellis, an experienced business coach and Director at GECA Chartered Accountants. GECA offer Business Planning and other Business Advisory Services.

When you inherit a family business, you step into a new role. And, as in any new role, establishing your way of doing things can be challenging.

In fact, changing things in a family business can be particularly difficult. If you have been working in the business for many years, you may be set in your ways. Parents, siblings and other relations who work, or have worked in the business, will have their opinions about the best way of doing things, and there can be a lot of emotion tied up in the business – it can be difficult for older family members to let go, even if they’ve technically passed the business on to you.

But that doesn’t mean you should continue on with the status quo. If you want your business to grow, you need to take a hard look at the way you work and make changes – even if others don’t agree.

Here are the top five ways to kick-start your growth.

Keep your customers coming back

Increasing your customer retention rate can be a low-cost, low-impact way to grow your business. Keeping existing customers around is easier than attracting new ones, so it’s worth thinking about ways to increase retention.

The ‘how’ will be different for every business. You’ll need to investigate why customers are leaving your service or failing to buy your product again, and work on improving those factors. Does your customer service need work? Do you need to contact your customers more often to make sure they remember you? Is it something simple, like shipping cost or packaging, letting you down? Small changes could make a big difference.

Finding new leads

Finding new potential customers is the bread and butter of business. If you’re neglecting this area, your growth is likely to be stagnant.

There are many ways to connect with potential customers and find new leads. Advertising, whether online or in print, is the most obvious and traditional – but not necessarily the most effective. You can also use direct marketing to target people likely to be interested in your business, use social media to connect on an individual level, and work on improving SEO for your website so potential customers can actually find your business.

Conversion is key

Once you’ve increased the number of leads, you can work on your conversion rate. If you’re not converting leads to sales, you’re wasting the money and time you spend on marketing.

You can boost your conversion rate by offering promotional prices or deals for new customers, adding customer reviews and testimonials to prove your product’s worth, or improving your website to make it easier for customers to purchase your product.

Boost your transactions

Increasing transactions is a good goal – more transactions mean more money, after all. But it’s also important to work on increasing the value of each transaction. Higher value transactions bring your business more profit, with the same – or a similar – amount of effort on your part.

If you’re selling online, you can try to increase transaction value by offering free shipping on sales over a certain point, bundling product offerings so customers purchase more items, and using targeted suggestions based on customers’ browsing history. In physical stores, you can work on staff sales training, use tactics like suggesting related product add-ons, or think about increasing your prices.

Reduce your costs

All businesses have overheads, and every sale has a cost involved. Some of these costs are set, while others may be more flexible. Reducing these costs can be a relatively simple way to up your profits.

Think about your larger, monthly costs – like rent and staffing – and the less obvious expenses that apply to each sale – like packaging and shipping. Whether you find ways to reduce the larger costs and save a big chunk of cash, or reduce the smaller costs and save slowly over time, it could make a significant difference to your profit margins.


Looking for ways to grow your family business? Book a complimentary meeting to talk to a qualified business advisor at GECA for advice and support.