I am going to make the assumption that a dad started your family’s business, no matter how old it is. Of course, there was probably a mother involved–after all there’s a reason the phrase “mom and pop operation” is so familiar. But I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the owner and primary businessperson in most family businesses started even just a few years ago was a man–and a father.
He was probably a father who understood his role as a primary breadwinner. He was an entrepreneur who did everything he could to make a sale, or a farmer who got up early and worked all day–and made sure you did, too. He came home tired, and didn’t feel like talking very much. As the business grew, he continued to be “hands-on,” and somewhat reluctant to change. Retirement was not on his mind.
Perhaps that description fits your dad, too.
Women are becoming entrepreneurs, and starting family businesses of their own in record numbers. But the real “founders” of family businesses of long ago were men, and typically, men with children. And just as typically, men who expected their sons to take over the business.
So here we are in 2014. You may be the CEO of your family business, and your dad may be the president. Or, the majority owner. Or, he may have transferred ownership to you and your siblings. And even if he is officially or unofficially “retired,” he may still come to the business, offer some words of advice, and hopefully, feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Father’s Day is a holiday for a reason. Whether you are a “Daddy’s Girl” or your relationship with your dad is more challenging now than it has ever been before, it’s a good day to take the time to appreciate the path he set for you and for your family.
Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. A simple, heart-felt “thank you” goes a long way. Compared to most people, you have an uncommon reason to celebrate your dad (and possibly his dad, and down the line) on Father’s Day–thank him for the legacy, for serving as a strong model…and, of course, for your job!
2. Look for a funny card about the workplace…and add a note with something like, “at least OUR business isn’t like that!”..and then write something more personal.
3. If your dad is no longer living, start a conversation with your family about what he meant to you. That may open the door to some meaningful conversations about your family’s values.
4. Invite your dad to dinner. And let him talk about the business–if he wants to–even if you don’t!