I love the concept of Do-It-Yourself or "DIY." After all, I come from the midwest. Farm country. The frontier. Pioneers. I know, first-hand, the value of challenging yourself, learning new skills, finding out just exactly what you can do on your own. As a family, we have cut our own DIY path in many ways--homeschooling our children, starting a business, running an acreage (we both grew up "in the city") and home-remodeling. It has been a great journey and I personally continue to "tilt" toward this framework.
There are things I will not do. The accounting and taxes for my business. Legal filings. Retirement planning. Social media marketing. Graphic design. Plumbing. Why? Will get to that in a minute . . .
Family Business owners are, in many ways, the very best of DIYers. If they were not comfortable with their own abilities--they would work for somebody else. Often they tend to like being in charge and are comfortable with looking to themselves to find answers. The successful ones have done this well. They are predisposed to "go it on their own" and take on tasks willingly.
Here’s my fall DIY. Building a second “greenhouse” more properly called a “high tunnel or hoop house.” BTW: This time, I did pay a pro to bring a Bob Cat and Auger to drill the holes.
Too often, however, Family Business owner's tendency to default to a DIY mode can become a "blind spot" that prevents them from seeing the times when an "outsider" would be an efficient and beneficial resource.
Indications that you shouldn't DIY:
if family unity is, or will be, compromised
if figuring out how to deal with the issues will result in a poor outcome
if the outcome you seek is more important than preserving your time and money
if the situation is complex
if you need to be personally involved in the process (rather than focused on managing it)
if there are already signs of risk to the family or the business
So why don't I always go the DIY route? Simply because the outcomes are too important! Take for example, a few years ago I relied on an expert, and it is the reason that I am writing this blog post.
In short, I reached outside of my own DIY box. I purchased a book* on consulting with The Family Business (always trying to continue my own education!) The author, Janna Hoiberg, included information that was new and intriguing to me. It prompted me to ask myself a number of questions. I decided to send Janna an email asking for more information. She graciously replied, and the result was an offer to talk by phone. The phone call was very helpful. It answered a number of questions I had been considering for some time. Janna's experience and expertise provided, in a few minutes, what it might have taken me several months or years to learn on my own.
So, step out of the DIY box . . . and leap forward!
*The Family Business: How to Be in Business with People You Love . . . Without Hating Them