Growing a successful family business — as with a family homeschool — is all about improving interaction among the members involved. It is also about intentional quantity and quality time dedicated to teaching skills and imparting a diligent work ethic every day. A family business is a natural outgrowth of the family homeschool as children mature and step into work roles under the guidance of their parents.
I am passionate about family businesses. In October 2019, I was privileged to visit Australia with my wife, Roxie, to speak about the family business — also known in a larger context as the “family economy”. Most people in attendance were either self-employed or owned one or more businesses. They wanted to know about the biblical foundations for acquiring and shepherding resources within their families, as well as some of the ABCs of building and operating a business. I told them that the first key to a successful family economy is a strong relationship with the Lord and one another.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV).
God tells us in Deuteronomy 6 that relationships with our children are accomplished over time as we walk alongside each other. That simply means teaching them every day while doing life together. In this, we experience the symbiotic relationship of vision and application, integrating both into real life. The relationships grow stronger with an increase in faith, humility, transparency, and trust. This leads to family members being willing to seek and accept wise counsel, work as unto the Lord, and lovingly submit to leadership.
Our lives then become coram Deo , which means in the presence of, under the authority of, and to the glory and honor of God. In the context of a family business, the working team will then tend to treat one another well, do their work more cheerfully, and complete each task and project with diligence and perseverance. Customers or clients will benefit from better service, higher quality work, and an overall experience that will increase the likelihood of them becoming the best customer any type of business can have — a happy, repeat customer.
If you currently own a business, or are considering starting one, I encourage you to involve your spouse and children as it grows. Conflict will undoubtedly arise in both personal and work relationships, but as you submit to God’s leading to resolve problems and grow closer to one another, your family — and ultimately your business — will begin to thrive under His biblical principles and guidance.
About the Author
Mike Cheney is an entrepreneur, investor, and advocate for the family business. He teaches on mentorship and discipleship as foundational elements of the family economy. Together, the Cheney family is involved in a number of entrepreneurial business ventures. Audio recordings from his Australia conference and his two books, One with Everything: Anatomy of a Hotdog Stand and Other Great Family Businesses You Can Start and, Money 101: Earn, Give, Save, Spend are available at AMEProgram.com.