Peace in the Family Business

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by Enrique Soriano

IN a family business, conflicts arise and it is but natural. Like in any other groups of people, the members of the family have their own perceptions, personalities and ways. These differences create divisiveness and lack of peace in the family business. On the positive note, peace can be made possible if the family members will know what factors determine peace and consider them all the time.

Determinants of Peace in the Family Business

Peace in the family business entails a set of core values, philosophy, common vision and mission, respect, commitment to duty, tolerance, open-mindedness and forgiveness.

Core Values and Philosophy

Peace is the result of good values. Values are rooted first in the family. It makes sense to think that in a family business, peace can be attained. Develop a set of core values which the family adheres to in unity. What do you think are the things that are important to your family in terms of character, ethics, service and professionalism? Are these positive qualities that can better shape the relationship within the family and with everybody else working for the company including non-family members? Come-up with a philosophy that suggests the prevention of problems. Prevention is always better than cure. Incorporate the family values into the philosophy so that it will be the guiding principle of the members of the family in all business dealings. The core values and philosophy of the company will have to remain in the hearts and minds of the members of the family, so that peace can begin intrinsically and be evidently seen in the business environment.

Common Vision and Mission

The peace in the family business can be disrupted when the motivations and objectives of the members of the family are not common. Set the vision and mission of the company, before allowing everyone to do their thing. Never assume that everyone in the family already knows the direction of the company. Conduct an orientation about it especially about why it is so. Always remind about the short-term and long-term goals of the family business. As time passes by, people may tend to forget or may tend to change courses, so it is advisable to mention about the company’s vision and mission when possible, because this is why you are all together in the business. There may be times when some members of the family will debate about things that are not in line with the vision and mission of the company. Such instances can become the source of resentment, when in fact it should not be part of the operations to make the family business successful.


Respect is giving high regard towards the name and image of the family business including that of its workers and of the dignity of the family. Family members ought to be mindful of their thoughts, words and actions, because it can affect how the public will view the company and the unity of the members in the family. Advise the members of the family, that when in a difficult situation, ask questions to themselves as to whether they are at the right place and time, have already reflected about the ideas they have in mind, have wisely chosen their words, and have certainly decided about what to do.

Honoring the family council, reporting to the assigned authorities, listening to the advice of non-family managers and mediators, and abiding with the rules that delineate the boundaries between family concerns and business matters are opportunities to exhibit respect. Respect results to peaceful interactions. Its practice can be possible when respect is demonstrated and when the members of the family have respectable conduct.

Commitment to Duty

There is peace when the members of the family are committed to their duties, because it lessens the chances of conflicts if expectations are not met when tasks are not completed. When someone fails to be responsible, it is a chain reaction. Someone else will have to suffer the consequences and sacrifice for that failure to deliver. In order to stress on this, develop a family participation plan wherein the roles will be clearly stated and duties completely described including time-frames. Identify the family’s expectations and success indicators of the business.

Conduct regular meetings, because attendance and contribution to these proves one’s commitment to duty. In family business meetings, topics about the governance of the company, objectives, expectations, rights to stocks, profit distribution, training, policies and product/service development among many others can be discussed.


Peace is having tolerance. Allowing the members of the family to have reasonable options and to do what makes them creative and empowered is practicing tolerance. Gain control over the family business by not imposing, but by inspiring the members of the family to prevent and solve problems in their unique and efficient ways. Provide opportunities to be honest and healthily assert one’s thoughts and express feelings and preferences during family business meetings.

Open-mindedness and Forgiveness

Being open-minded gives way to forgiveness. Emphasize on the importance of admitting one’s mistake/s, apologizing and forgiving to maintain harmonious relationships within the family business.

Why Should Family Businesses Diversify?

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By Enrique Soriano

OVER a long period of time, the literature on corporate diversification has focused almost exclusively on large, publicly held firms. However, within the last few years, there have been some works published , dealing with diversification issues in small and medium sized firms but also in family businesses (Iacobucci & Rosa, 2005). Whereas some authors hold the view that family businesses engage in significantly less diversification than non-family firms, others describe diversification as a prevalent long-term strategy among family businesses.

Following Guillen (2005) and Granovetter (1995), we define a business group as a collection of legally independent firms that are connected by economic links (such as ownership, financial, and commercial) and social ties (such as family, kinship, and friendship) that lead to operational links. This definition distinguishes conglomerates or strategic alliances from buyer groups, in that the latter operate under somewhat unified entrepreneurial guidance, going beyond simple alliances among otherwise independent firms (Yiu, Bruton and Lu. 2005). In our case, the main social tie that links different firms into a business group will be that all those firms are under the control of the same family. The family business group (FBG), is the group of firms under control or managed by a group of people with family ties.

The usual criteria defining family firms, from the management side point of view, is that the institutional values of the firm should be identified with the family. Empirically this implies the involvement of multiple generations in a business group, the ownership of the group and voting control by family members, the effective management of the firm by family members and a large number of family members having board seats.

Examples of big family business groups in the Philippines are the Ayala Group, the Lopez Group, and the Gokongwei Group. Some of the most enduring family businesses started in one industry before growing into diversified companies with many lines of businesses.

Diversification is entering new markets with new products. Sometimes you just need to bust out and try something new like if you’re a tobacco firm, buying a packaged-food company; a cola firm entering the water business; or a chemical company going into the spa supply business.

Many companies appreciate the need to diversify but few use it as a way of relating to their markets. Fundamentally, this strategy is about creating new products with new product life cycles and making the existing ones obsolete. By doing so, firms launch new products that are developed not just for current customers but for new ones, too. To execute this strategy, you usually manage a merger, an acquisition, or a completely new business venture.

Well-known, highly innovative companies which include Intel, Google, DuPont, and all the pharmaceutical companies are into diversification. A company’s diversification strategy can be either related or unrelated to its original business. Related diversification makes more sense than unrelated because the company shares assets, skills, or capabilities. But many successful companies, such as Tyco and GE, continue to buy unrelated businesses.

We may distinguish among related and unrelated diversification, which in turn can be seen as a continuum in between single business units and fully diversified firms. Related diversification means entering in multiple industries that are able to share a common pool of corporate resources and capabilities. These are businesses where sales force, advertising, and distribution activities can be shared, exploiting closely related technologies.

We may safely assume that the family is directly involved in decisions regarding corporate diversification (in contrast with publicly held firms, where managers make these choices). Hence, to concentrate on FBG can be a useful way to analyse if diversification may be a valuable strategy for creating value.

To a family business, diversification is a way to extend their capabilities into new lines of business. The diversification will turn out profitable if the capabilities than were useful into one line of business are indeed also a capability in the new segment.
Diversification, on the other hand, may have two main costs for family business groups:

(i) The need of adding capabilities outside those of the family, be it through the hiring of professional managers, or through partnerships with other shareholders that incorporate the needed new abilities. (ii) An increase in complexity in the family group that may affect negatively its organization. In any case, the incorporation of outsiders to the FBG reduces the firm’s control by the family and may require an increase in monitoring effort.

Why Diversification Matters

Anyone who has invested money has heard about the importance of diversification in a portfolio to hedge against losing too much money when markets retreat. Diversification can be equally important to businesses that may face serious threats during turbulent economic times or when disruptive technologies enter the marketplace and big competitors move in. Although family businesses are known for their nimbleness and ability to react quickly to changing times, diversifying lines of business and expanding products and services can offer additional security when times get tough.

Effects of New Technologies to the Family Business

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[by Enrique Soriano]

BUSINESSES that are handled by families need to be equipped with the proper set of tools. The members of the family are expected to contribute and support the operations of the company. The problem is, at some point, not all of the members in the family possess the necessary technical skills needed for the business. This is where the use of technology could take place. Business tasks could be completed through the use of machines, gadgets and other technology-based mediums.

Running a business requires technology in these times, because customers are now more knowledgeable and selective. They would like to receive value for money, which means a company would have the most satisfying products and services. Customers look for convenience and instant delivery of their orders and requests. These call for strong capabilities which could be achieved a lot easier through technology.

Any company that would not improve on technology would not be able to make it in the industry. If you are thinking that people is the greatest asset of a company, then yes, you are right. However, if you would be looking for uniform quality at the fastest and even the cheapest if not the most reasonable rate, in reality the use of technology could have things done twice as much of the same high quality and as fast as what people could ever deliver at the lowest cost. So, having the latest equipment by your side is an advantage. On a similar note, if you would not have internet access, then you might as well resort to limited sources of information or take longer periods of time just to get the attention of your target clients. Looking at the bigger picture, if that would be the case, it would be like a race between a turtle against a rabbit!

Technology is present in many areas of business. Beginning from human resources, accounting, sales, promotions/advertising, public relations, legal, purchasing and even to the production and all other departments, technology plays a major part. Some of the usual applications of technology that ease the work at the office involve the use of computer programs like Microsoft Office, which includes Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Word. What could be useful in these programs are the templates for presentation, business card making and charting that are already available for those who are always busy and need some organized material. Recruiting highly competitive staff could be laborious work for the old-schooled. Nowadays, there are softwares that sift through the pile of resumes sent by applicants, leaving only the ones that contain the criteria that the company requires and prioritizes. To those who are having difficulties with how to go about their businesses, say the basics of accounting (for the first timers in the business), electronic books are made to give the simplest explanations. Training the staff could be conducted through educational videos that capture all the important lectures that would not only teach step-by-step, but could also entertain the trainees. In the area of making a specific company’s branding known to the public, it is the development of a unique company website that would comprehensively provide the public with the impressionable, accurate and remarkable data on-line which technology proves its worth. Most companies utilize search engine optimization or SEO which uses specific keywords to make the search online fast.

The use of SEO could make websites appear right on the very top of the list. The use of electronic mail and on-line faxing are quick mediums for communication on the internet. All departments of a particular business could benefit from these means of fast communications in the virtual world. Paying bills of the company have never been easy through the use of online payment. Credit cards are widely used and electronic bank transfers are quickly done with just a few clicks. The use of cash registers makes your sales systematic and easily monitored. Using it could lessen the time customers wait on the line. The entry of robotics in the aspect of production made waves by improving quality and increasing output in tremendous quantity. The flaws of each product would be evaluated at an instant and specific features could easily be customized and installed.

The closed-circuit television or CCTV camera is another example of the many positive effects of technology to business. The security of the business establishment is closely observed. After the many unfortunate events that led to the closure of many businesses because of theft and other dangerous attacks, the use of CCTV cameras has become ever more important in the security department. It could uplift the sense of security of the clients, the employees, and the owners, because they would know that whatever unlikely happening occurs, they could be assured that significant evidence could be retrieved from these devices.

Technology has greatly impacted the way different businesses; including family businesses are operated. It has changed the way products are manufactured and services delivered. It has changed how people think and expect from companies. Moreover, through technology, many things have become possible, which would have never been possible in the previous decades.

No Greater Fury Than A Battered Wife

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by Salvador Panelo

RECENTLY, the country’s attention was riveted on a spate of celebrity couples’ published marital conflicts, three of which involve showbiz and sports personalities that culminated in the filing of cases in court – while the third, a former beauty queen married to a politician, most likely will end in a court room drama.

How could fairly tale romances culminating in grand weddings terminate in an emotion-drained court battles over the custody of children – and accusations of physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse?
Why should dashing suitors, becoming romantic lovers and grooms, turn into philandering cheats, psychological and sexual abusers – and financially tightwad monsters? Or expose themselves as closeted gays whose sexual preference is their own gender?

Why would loving, caring and faithful wives seek the comfort and solace of other men, outside of their husbands? But why not? If the husbands, in addition to failing to perform or understanding his marital obligations – would rather enjoy the sexuality of younger women – or in the case of gay husbands, would rather spend his time flirting and cavorting with men, why not?

There must be some explanations, and answers to the questions we pose. But I guess, while the psychologists and psychiatrists have their scientific analysis on the whys and wherefores of marriages on the rocks, the root of these marital problems is traceable to the failure of both the spouses in not knowing and understanding exactly their role in the marriage – and in most cases, the man does not know how to manage his time, the balance between the time he spends at work and the hours he uses at home, and in addition, the time he spends with his friends – as well as one night stands with his girlfriends – or ‘every night stand’ with his other female friends.

This is not to say that the wife can escape blame for the failure of the marital bond. A wife who does not assert her rights as a person in the face of incipient abuse from the husband contributes to the growth and the regularity of the abuse. A wife who ignores the tell-tale signs of a budding philandering husband encourages the man to go full blast with his errant ways. A wife who allows herself to be battered physically emboldens the husband to become a certified wife beater.

In the case of a popular TV host and commercial endorser, who married a sports celebrity, in getting a protection order from the court, she claimed that there was an attempt to sexually assault her in front of their son. On television, the sports celebrity fearfully denied the assault – and explained that he was merely playfully pretending to kiss his wife in the presence of their son. Given the exaggeration of the flamboyant character that his celebrity wife is known for – and considering the humble origins and the mild-mannered demeanor of the basketball star, it is puzzling why the court granted the protection order.

Regarding the movie actress, whose siblings are also in showbiz – and like her, are mired in controversies, in seeking redress in court for the issuance of a protective order from the court, she claims that she was physically beaten by the movie actor husband – who incidentally is not known for being a brute or a brawler. Rather he is known as a soft-spoken and good mannered man.

On the other hand, another beautiful and sexy movie star filed a criminal complaint against her multi-awarded movie actor husband for alleged physical abuse and rape. Yes, a wife can file a criminal complaint for rape against a husband. The actress charged the actor with violation of Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Law before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City.

The actress claims that the actor barged into her house in Quezon City, on May 12, 2013, while she was alone – attacked her, employed physical harm, and raped her! The showbiz celebrity couple have filed an annulment for their marriage. They have been living separately since their publicized split-up some months prior. In her complaint, the actress claims that her husband’s “foregoing and other series of philandering and womanizing ways” have shattered their twelve years of marriage.

The actress said that she and her children were forced to leave their conjugal home last February of this year.
The actress moreover claims that she and her children have been deprived by the actor-husband of support, shelter and means of transportation. She has also accused her husband of harassing her, of threatening her with physical harm, obscene accusations and grave defamations. She charged that her husband “deceitfully” took custody of their children on July 29, 2013, and refused to return them to her – and she has been since then denied rightful custody and access to her children.

Image credit:
Image credit:

The movie actress filed a separate petition for a temporary protection order against the actor-husband.
Meanwhile, a former beauty queen, a Binibining Pilipinas title-holder and candidate to the Miss Universe Contest, an active social worker and business entrepreneur and married to a legislator, went public five weeks ago – and announced that she was seriously contemplating of filing charges of psychological and economic abuse against her husband, apart from instituting a petition to annul her marriage to the lawmaker.

We recall that in October of last year, the former beauty queen stated in a press conference in her hometown that she filed a church annulment of her marriage against the husband. The lawmaker-husband issued a statement in May last year confirming the separation from his wife after 12 years of being together as husband and wife, and that they have been living separately since November 2011.

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Christopher Po : Heir to the King of Tuna

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FOR Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs, running the business is always a family affair.

The same is true with Ricardo Sy Po, Sr., founder of the 34-year old Century Pacific Group (CPG)—makers of Century Tuna and the country’s largest canned food manufacturer–who has bequeathed a huge responsibility of running the corporation to his son Christopher “Chris” Po.

CHRIS PO for web

Chris, President and CEO of CPG Holdings Inc., was the man at the helm when the Century food group teamed up with leading global tuna supplier Thai Union and local fishing giant Frabelle to build a US$20-million tuna processing plant in Papua New Guinea back in 2011.

By casting a wider net via a three-way partnership with global leaders in seafood processing and fishing, the Century Pacific Group (CPG) has built an overseas capacity especially for its private label tuna manufacturing business.

Apart from selling its own canned tuna brands like Century, 555, Blue Bay and Fresca, CPG exports to international buyers that, in turn, market canned fish under their own brands (the company also owns Blue Bay and Fresca Tuna, Birch Tree and Angel milk, Kaffe de Oro and HomePride). #OpinYon #FeatureStory

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How Can A Family Business Prepare for the Hard Times?

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by: Prof Enrique Soriano

MANY would say (and they have a point) that initially, family members are only active in family businesses, because of the obvious reasons like being able to receive extraordinary financial gains (which they could never receive from other companies), better treatment by the administration, and the opportunity to select their preferred line of duty and their freedom to maintain a particular lifestyle. These are all undeniably true in most cases, but nonetheless, family businesses remain standing, because the family members eventually learn the value of teamwork amongst themselves.

(Image source:
(Image source:

In order to prepare the family members to develop solutions in salvaging the family business, it is always helpful to be honest with everybody’s needs and opinions. A dialogue wherein every single family member will have the chance to voice out his/her needs and thoughts about the company’s situation and other specific issues that need to be addressed could be a healthy practice. Stressing the guidelines beforehand and doing consistent reminders are ways to preventing these from happening. #OpinYon #business

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