The owner of AdviCoach of Mid-Michigan is focused on helping family-owned businesses overcome internal and external hurdles that might be preventing them from reaching their full potential.
“I am a business coach for all kinds of businesses, but I really focus on family-owned businesses, which have a different dynamic,” said Tom Hamp, who began his franchise in 2011. “Sometimes the family gets bigger than the business or the business gets bigger than the family, and our goal is getting those two things to balance out.”
Clear communication is difficult in any company, but it seems to be magnified when the family aspect plays into the equation. That’s where Tom steps in to assess the situation and help employers and employees – often parents and their children – reach solutions.
“I sit down with families for an initial discussion that is focused on understanding the basic idea of what specific issues exist, because there are no cookie-cutter solutions with family-owned businesses,” Hamp said. “Between the first and second meeting, I typically give them some homework; possible items may include a behavior assessment or an assessment on the factors that make up the overall value of their business. This gives me deeper insight into the company’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Once he evaluates the state of the company, he will then sit down for a second, more in-depth meeting to dig more into the specific challenges and what can be done to move forward. That’s not always an easy task when dad, mom, sisters, brothers and employees outside the family
“A lot of times there are off-limit topics, especially when it comes to things like compensation or what the plan is for the
patriarchs to get out of the business,” Hamp explained. “Sometimes family members are severely underpaid or overpaid depending on their title, so we spend a lot of time talking about what’s going on structure-wise in the business and how to move forward.”
Sometimes the discussions can get personal.
“I had a client that seemed to be very contentious – there was a lot of conflict,” Hamp said. “When I got family members together, I found out there were things that happened 15 or 16 years ago, and they couldn’t get past it. Family members need to get by what I call ‘head trash,’ and we worked to maintain business topics and tasks and try to leave the emotional stuff out of it.”
Hamp said when most people think of AdviCoach, they think of transactional success, such as businesses keeping up with their calls, keeping track of their financials and hitting certain metric targets.
“That’s a big part of what we do, but I think the biggest thing we do that a lot of people miss is the transformational coaching – that owning a business is not easy, there are a lot of trials and tribulations,” Hamp said. “If there are issues with how you’re treating some members of your staff and treating others differently, I can come to you and tell you that without fear of getting fired, because I am a third-party observer. I can really get into the transformational coaching and help you learn how to run your business on an even keel, not having emotions present when certain things are happening.”
Hamp works with all types of businesses including family owned companies across Michigan. He also has clients, because of growth, in other states. Hamp has also served clients internationally. Although face-to-face meetings are ideal, Tom does utilize technology such as Skype and GoToMeeting when it is more efficient. He said he is in AdviCoach for the long haul – and for all the right reasons.
“I have a very soft spot in my heart helping people get better at what they do,” Hamp stated. “It charges me up every day because no family-owned business is the same and they all have different challenges.”
And his goal in life is to help them overcome those barriers to be not only successful in business, but also as a family.