Being A Jerk To Grandpa; How To Run A Family Business

January 19, 2015
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We are sharing this article as we feel it applies to many of those in funeral homes across the USA and the world. The funeral profession has traditionally been a family business that has been run in very traditional ways. Times are changing, the business is changing and more younger people are trying to get grandpa to change with it and it’s a struggle. The below are is by Gary Vaynerchuk, owner of WineLibrary and VaynerMedia. Gary lived the struggle of battling with an old school father but when he finally convinced his father to change, Gary grew the family business from a $3,000,000 company to a $60,000,000 company in 5 years. 

Here is Gary’s advice on getting Grandpa to listen and change:

Article by Gary Vaynerchuk, VaynerMedia

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Watch out you guys, because right now, I’m about to come with some straight venom.

Too much time in family businesses is wasted on trying to make everyone happy.

Don’t get me wrong, I think working with family is a tremendous idea. I did it at Wine Library with my dad, I’m doing it now at VaynerMedia with my brother. But one thing that really gets to me about a lot of second and third generation family businesses is the that the youngest generations spend all their time trying to make their dads and grandpas and great grandpas happy. Tip toeing around them. Trying not to piss them off. How can the business adapt to the new year and the new era, when everyone is just doing what their grandpa or grandma did? For your business to stay relevant, you have to change. You don’t have a choice.

So: how do you keep those old minds happy?

Answer: I don’t know if you can.

I truly believe that the way to get old minds to accept and consume your new ways is to be extremely rogue and aggressive. You need to be massively disrespectful to them. Now, I get it. That’s harsh. But old minds are tough to move. If you’re going to play within the lines that they draw, you’re not going to be able to do what you want.

I have empathy and respect for my dad, and the truth is, he gave me plenty of room when I was at Wine Library to try out new things and test. So I didn’t even really live this. But I’m living it now with VaynerMedia. I’m trying to change clients who are strongly grounded in the old ways of B2B. They aren’t sure, they are hesitant upfront. It’s really hard to change those minds, so you have to kind of be outwardly harsh.

I’m telling you again: I get it. I really do. You don’t want grandpa firing you. You don’t want Thanksgiving to be awkward as hell. I understand all those dynamics. But if you want to move mountains, it’s not going to be with a gentle touch. You can’t get it done like that. To move things in the right direction, you’ve got to come with thunder. That’s just the way it is. You have to be a little disrespectful. You have to tell them “You’re old.” There’s no need to be rude about it. You don’t have to yell or fight. You might debate. You might argue. But you have to be tough in your beliefs and stand your ground.

And this is the big one: if you get your chance to make it all happen, if grandpa backs down, if they give you the keys to run this show…you better execute. Oh man, you better execute.

CDFuneralNews

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