I was speaking with a family business owner trying to make ends meet for his business. "Let me take a look", I said.
The problem was obvious in 10 seconds, just not to him.
He had cut everywhere he could, without upsetting Sunday dinner.
Like many family-owned businesses, the company could not support the weight of the family when times got tough.
Family members were throughout the company with the highest pay.
When we started going through the details, he had a difficult time separating family from business.
"If you want the company to survive, you have to have a hard conversation with yourself and then start running it like a business", I said.
We rolled up our sleeves and went to work.
I interviewed all the leaders and family members. We discussed their value and contribution to the company, their relevant compensation, and their plans for growth.
We transformed the family members from takers into givers.
They started viewing the company as a living entity that has to be nurtured and fed.
Some needed to go, some needed training, some needed accountability, and some needed honesty.
Once the transformation was complete, the family was aligned and headed toward success.
It all began with a hard conversation.