Running a family business with a long tradition is a very delicate subject as it has emotional value to the owner.
It is heart breaking to see the business starting to fall and nothing seems to work in resurrecting it. Getting out of it in grace is even harder than starting another one because of that long successful history it has and the feeling that the family has been let down.
But sometimes it just happens that family businesses lose customers for various reasons and die. However, when sensing the end, there are some steps to take in order to save it and keep it running.
The owner might have to work a bit on updating it, rebranding, doing some changes on the inside and outside (on any aspect) work on the visibility through marketing and all the other things that are normally done with a new business.
It takes dedication, courage, passion and a lot of work to resurrect a company that seems to fall, but it is worth trying. Still, it is better to know where to stop, otherwise the risks of loosing everything is imminent.
In order to rebrand the family business, there are some basic rules to stick to and the most important is to remain true to the initial values of it that customers already got used to. So, the marketing strategy might change, but it is important to keep the values that the business started with and that the clients still seek.
Only change what does not work anymore or is not useful or relevant in today’s market. There should be some reasons for rebranding and those should be important enough to make the change. Modifying something that still works just for the sake of it could be harmful for the company. Finding the exact problems and making a plan based on them is a better option.
The owner of a family business with a long tradition is especially motivated to keep a close eye on the new dynamics inside the company starting with the employees, in order to make sure they adapt in a healthy way and adopt the new values and habits.
The plan should consist of all the problems and solutions found, the desired impact on the customers, but also on the people that work for the company. Entrepreneurs should make some market research and see what works for others what is the demographic change and what are the latest innovations that apply to their business.
The approach may be outdated and that could be the main reason things fail on keeping the business on the waterline. Another important rule is consistency. The usual customers may be a little confused by the new changes in the branding area, but keeping the message clear can be the key to success.
The new brand should be not only about changing the appearance but also about changing the core values if they do not apply anymore. Being fair to the clients and the employees means stating the brand and sticking to the modifications.
First of all, the key to success nowadays is, among other things, the presence and visibility on social media, since people spend more and more time on the internet. There are various methods to promote something online, starting with the eternal traditional publicity spots (on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and so on) to SEO campaigns, influencers, PR agencies and many more.
But marketing is not only about being on the internet although that is the most effective method lately (some small business owners only choose this means of promotion because it is the cheapest one).
Having a strong marketing plan and campaign is about visibility in general, educating customers on the changes that take place inside the business, working on PR with a specialised agency, offline publicity through brochures, pamphlets and flyers, advertisement in crowded public places and let’s not forget about the recommendations of the clients that are or are not satisfied with the products and services.
Research is still important from time to time and this is why customers should have the possibility to offer feedback, either verbally, on paper or online.
Another essential issue is to not confuse the personal values with the ones of the business even though it is hard to overcome the eventual complaints. It is, however, normal to take it personally when customers give a negative review since the business is closely identifying with its owner.
All the changes that a business goes through require a capital that can be a bit overwhelming depending on how much the business owner hast to spend to revive the company. Statistics show that on average only 30% of the family businesses last longer than a generation (source: https://nocredit.se/) and that can have may causes.
First of all, around 80% of the businesses worldwide are owned and run by families and that can be one of the main issues since the market can get overcrowded. On the other hand, these companies generate more than 70% of the jobs, so they are an important player in employability all over the world.
There are some good examples of renowned family owned successful businesses like Samsung or Walmart, but until reaching that kind of recognition, there are other important things to accomplish.
Saving a family business that is not that profitable anymore can be very expensive and so begins a vicious circle. Low profitability means that there is not enough money to self-sustainability, so the need for external finances may occur.
In this case there are some valid sources that can provide the necessary capital for reviving the precious family legacy in terms of business. The easiest solution could be asking for help from other family members or friends, but if the amount of money is bigger than they could afford to lend, it can be a big problem.
Receiving their help could still help, but there should be another source to rely on. Crowdfunding platforms are on the rise and people are willing to donate to help their peers, but it takes a long time to reach the wanted amount of money.
The fastest way is to apply for a business loan, but the most important thing is to be extra cautious on the terms and conditions and gather all the relevant information before making any decision.