Family business - Milan Krajnc
CategoriesFamily company


Family businesses face similar problems to most other businesses, but their role is all the more challenging as they face additional problems in reconciling work and private life. Namely, that in them good and bad qualities overlap, as two worlds (family and business) meet and influence each other. One could say that these companies are “sensitive”, but at the same time they have a great social
responsibility. They are important job creators, so they work together to fight unemployment and improve people’s quality of life in their place.

There are most family businesses in the world, because their goal is long-term and stable development, not short-term thinking and quick profits. They are also an important part of the Slovenian economy. According to data, up to 80 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises in Slovenia are family businesses.

Their basic characteristic is that they offer long-term development and stable jobs. However, they face many problems, such as conflicts between employees who are also family members and the question of succession or management of the company after the retirement of the director/owner (this is a key problem facing family businesses in Slovenia).

Family business - Milan Krajnc

In our experience, we find that many companies do not have successors or do not have a clear idea of how to ensure the continued existence of the company. In the long term, this can also mean the cessation of the company’s operations after retirement. However, as these companies are of vital importance both for the local market and for the Slovenian market as a whole, we want to create a system that will enable these companies to continue operating even after the director/owner has retired.

Data from abroad also prove to us that family businesses are more successful when the management is taken over by a professionally qualified (“external”) manager. This form combines the best of both worlds.


So the couple set up a company together. And the solution seems to be ideal, because they spend a lot of time together, save money, solve something else for the apartment… until the problems start.

Dissatisfied customers, late payments…

Instead of dealing with problems on a business level, it starts on a private level, so we suddenly realize that we are talking about work 24 hours a day and that we can no longer try work, work, work… As soon as we start to hate our work, which is full of problems, we start to hate our partner. Actually, we hate ourselves for creating this situation. A partnership is a pretty demanding chapter of life. What
begins in the spirit of the myth of romantic love, full of elation, visions and ecstatic feelings, can soon degenerate into endless recriminations, compromises, dissatisfaction, quarrels and arguments or even a separation.

But it does not have to be that way. The relationship between two people holds unimaginable potential, and the partnership can be developed and deepened so that it experiences more fulfillment and joy, more flow and synergy from year to year.

Family business - Milan Krajnc

We are responsible for the problems and solutions ourselves

We simply solve the problem by looking at it from the other side or by standing outside the problem. As always, we see problem solutions for our friends, but we ourselves have the same problems, but we do not solve them. Because we do not see them and do not dare to admit them, we say, “But this cannot be happening to us already!” We can do the same thing for ourselves, for our company, for our
marriage. And we will see the solution for ourselves. We can help ourselves with an advisor who must not give us advice, but must show us our picture. We must find the solution within ourselves, not look elsewhere.

We will tackle the problem by first asking ourselves who I am, why I am doing all this. When we come to the answers, we will know if we want to stay in marriage and in this society at all. We should never look for the culprit in a partner, but only in ourselves. We must acknowledge that we are responsible for our own decisions. Spouses are always a mirror. What bothers us about our partner is actually our weakness. So before you decide to separate or leave, you should ask yourself why such a situation has arisen. The partner was certainly not to blame, so you should not blame him or her, at best you can apologize to him or her.

With such a self-analysis you will come to new insights about yourself, your partner, to different views on life. It can happen that things around you no longer have the same meaning and that you have to start living with someone else and somewhere else. But you are running away from real problems that
you have to deal with on your own. So admit your mistakes. Otherwise your mistakes will happen again and again. If we admit our mistakes, the problems in the law, in business… …will solve themselves!

The basis is effective communication

The core of every relationship, including a partnership, is communication. However, if we want to build a relationship, communication must be based on understanding and not only on agreement, but above all it must be effective. It must not get stuck in an endless cycle around certain issues. Both our ignorance of the principles of good communication and our unconscious patterns prevent us from establishing and maintaining such communication even in critical moments.    

Family business - Milan Krajnc

The relationship between two people is always twofold. On the one hand, it consists of true love, affection and the desire for sincere coexistence; 

on the other hand, the unconscious patterns of both individuals merge and intertwine into interdependent patterns that are usually very difficult to observe,
let alone transcend. As a result, unfinished communications, misunderstandings, tacit agreements, unresolved complications, suppressed emotions, resentments, taboo subjects, and all this soon forms an increasingly slippery and “swampy” ground on which it is very difficult to establish and maintain a fulfilling relationship.

In fact, the problem is that the problem makes us addicted, first to us, then to the partner, then to the company, and finally to marriage and private life. The bigger the problem is, the less chance we have of seeing a solution or staying out of the problem.

It is most difficult when it comes to the family. In such cases there is a separation between the partners and the company is somehow solved in the end. This is also the biggest mistake, because we did not meet together to do business, but to enjoy marriage together. And in the end, all we have left is a job, a job, a job, a job, a job…

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When two people meet, they only want to play one role, and that is to become a couple. They are only interested in how they will be together and how they will enjoy it together. When they marry, they are in the role of husband and wife, and their biggest concern is survival (making a home). If they are ambitious or somehow manage to start a business, they are in the role of capitalists when their main concern is how to protect their capital. Immediately after they start up, they also run the business together, so they are in the role of managers, and their concern is the successful management and protection of the owners’ capital. As there is not enough capital available at the beginning to run the company on their own, they must also be actively involved, i.e. in the role of active employees, in
ensuring that all tasks are completed on time and with quality. Sooner or later, as a couple, they will find themselves in the role of parents and their first concern will be to look after their children. When they are in a new role, their priorities also change, which does not mean that there are no other things or that they have put them off for a while. When they are in the role of active workers, the most
important thing for them is to please the parties as much as possible, but at the same time they are in the role of capitalists, so the most important thing for them is how they can increase their capital as much as possible. At the same time they think about how to offer as much as possible to the customer and how they can earn as much as possible from the customer. These are only two roles, as they are also managers, parents, spouses and individuals.

It is a very difficult psychological phenomenon when a member of a family business is at the moment when he or she starts on this path. This path cannot be interrupted immediately or interrupted for a short time, but we are constantly on this path.

Roles of the company managers

As we are concerned with the reorganization of companies and the solution of problems, we conducted a survey in which we were interested in whether a pattern and mistakes are repeated in Slovenian companies. The survey covered 356 Slovenian companies, which are mainly family businesses and have between 25 and 255 employees from various fields of activity.

Family business - Milan Krajnc

The analysis showed that entrepreneurs can be divided into two types. On the one hand, we have entrepreneurs who treat their company like their own child. On the other hand, we often encounter entrepreneurs with a deep social feeling for their employees when they develop the same attitude towards them as they do towards their children. We can say that they consider employees to be their children.

Parent company of the entrepreneur

Particularly interesting observations were made by entrepreneurs who did not know how to separate private and business life. In fact their whole life was a business. They treat it like their children, but in an inactive sense. The fundamental task of parents is to continue the “human race”. Therefore parents
should be a kind of “coach” for their children. Today, however, it is increasingly common for parents to act as protectors, i.e. as if children were their property.

And when we talk about property, we want to control and insure it as much as possible. So many children are not yet ready for real life when they reach adulthood. Parent entrepreneurs treat their children as if they were their own property. There is a similar relationship between the entrepreneur and his family business. They treat the company as their own property. They put the business first in their lives, they are willing to do absolutely anything to make it happen. The employees in a company are often treated as “enemies”, so they treat them that way because they assume that they want to harm their company. So whatever
they do that is not in line with his idea is for him a “threat” to security, his “child”. The saddest realization was that the company meant much more to the entrepreneur than his “living” children.

Entrepreneurs of this kind are constantly under stress, their state of health fluctuates greatly, and heart problems and diseases are common. Such an approach is neither good for the company nor for the entrepreneur. If an entrepreneur does not take care of himself first, sooner or later he will run out of
energy for the company. If he wants to protect the company, he must be “strong” enough to control it. These entrepreneurs link all the important activities of the company to themselves. In case something happens to him, the company cannot function normally, which means that his actions are completely irresponsible. In conclusion, we can say that entrepreneurs who regard the company as their child are irresponsible first and foremost to themselves and to the company.

Družinsko podjetnFamily business - Milan Krajncištvo - Milan Krajnc


Employees of entrepreneur parents

Another very common result was that the director uses his staff for his children. We are mainly talking about social enterprises where the director is willing to work instead of employing staff. The employees make great use of this. And such companies do not have a long tradition, or. they exist as long as the entrepreneur is still in stable mental and physical health. Even in this case, the entrepreneur’s actions are irresponsible towards himself, towards the company and towards the customers. Such companies also have very few regular customers, as only they realize very quickly that they cannot always rely on them.

The company as project office

A project office is a way of organizing a work process, work organization and way of thinking.

Setting up a project office is actually a process of reorganizing any organization.

The first step is to “clean up” and edit, which includes an analysis of the work process that shows us the time constraints. We first have to start with ourselves, create order and set up an organized approach according to common guidelines.

For small businesses or those that are just starting out, it is advisable to reorganize the project at a certain point in time or to start working on the project as soon as they come onto the market.

For and against the project office

Research has shown that most companies are convinced that they use project management in their process. However, when asked what a project and what a project office is, only half a percent of those surveyed answered correctly. Due to a misunderstanding of the term project, project management is also misunderstood. In our country project work is made too “domestic”: that we all do everything and are responsible for everything. In project work, tasks and responsibilities are precisely defined. There is no more collective responsibility. Project work brings order and organization into the operation of organizations. However, it is important that the entire work process is project based, otherwise there will be confusion.


  • Order and transparency of business life / – Long introduction due to changes in thinking
  • Lower costs / – chaos, if not everyone follows the rules
  • Safe business / – The feeling that we are always under the control of others.
  • Simplification of processes.
  • Relief of employees.


We talked a lot about responsibility. And in the first place we always mentioned that the entrepreneur is irresponsible towards himself. We are aware that anyone can do what he wants with himself, but only if he does not endanger others. And the second part of the sentence indicates that an entrepreneur threatens others by an inappropriate attitude towards the company. It is irresponsible to set up such a work process, which depends entirely on it. Thus, in the event of his prolonged absence, the employees are not able to carry out their work normally and the company suffers an organizational and financial shock. Above all, this way of working is irresponsible towards the customer, who often relies on things being done on time and with quality.


We must be aware that the more precisely we delegate tasks to employees, the worse the result will be. After all, we do not show them confidence in this way, we do not check whether they have understood us, whether they are capable of doing so, and we do not teach them independence.

With this way of working we connect the employees directly with ourselves, it means that they depend on us and do nothing on their own. After all, we have given them the way, and because they are not quite sure whether they are going in the right direction, they constantly ask us or. they are burdened.

When assigning tasks, we first have to check whether the employees even understand what the company’s goal is, so we check in which direction they think. If not everyone understands the goal in the same way, it is first necessary to reconcile all opinions. Then we leave the employees as much freedom as possible in their work.


Where did we actually learn all these roles? We know from school that we learn best through role models. That is how we learned most from our parents, relatives, those closest to us. Let’s ask ourselves whether we have the same profession as our close relatives or maybe a profession where the actions remind us of their work. In this way we will get the answer to who we are most similar to. Once we have this answer, we can get out of this role very quickly because we know all the good and bad things about that person. Because by identifying the “patterns” of what we have taken on in our subconscious mind, we get the answer to the question: Who am I? In this way, we get rid of the “armour” that has surrounded us for so many years. And under this armour lies our true nature!

Why do we actually take on roles (examples)? Parents expect amazing things from us, they think they have born “supermen” who do everything they could not do alone. But we are actually quite helpless, because we first have to learn to walk and live. And instead of learning the basics first, parents teach us
how to run a business. They put us in a role or they set us up. If we just look at these frameworks a little bit, we can already get our hands on them, we “fight”. And so the first fear is born in us. We start to like, we always want to be the first, the most beautiful, the best, we want to be like our parents.

Because we do not have to play the roles of both parents, men find “their mothers” and women find “their fathers” for their wives. Men hide behind women, just as we hid behind the wings of our mothers in our youth. When “deeds” are required, we come first, because responsibility must be taken, and we hide! Women, on the other hand, seek strength and security from men… And then, after a while, they discover that a gentle soul hides behind a rough exterior and takes over the role of the mother.

You employ a child in your company?

Employing children in a company is a common cause of deteriorating family relationships, but if you decide to do so, you need to define the goals and steps to achieve them. The employment of children is very common in domestic and foreign companies and is also the most common cause of the deterioration of family relationships. This is because parents are convinced that at certain moments they can expect more from their children than from other workers, for less money, with the excuse that one day they will own everything anyway. This is another appropriate attitude. If they are too lenient, children very quickly start behaving like bosses towards other employees, but if they are too strict, they
make enemies. This way, domestic problems are transferred to the company, the relationship in the company is seen as a domestic dispute, which becomes known very quickly in business life.

However, if you decide to employ a child in your company, you must know very well what your goal is (or appoint him as your successor, give him a starting point for a career, get him a job…). Because you will have such expectations later. This can also be the cause of problems in the family later on. Namely that we have completely different pictures of our children than they really are. This becomes apparent in individual disputes when you get the answer: “You do not even know me!” – which is also true. Because of the fast pace of life, we forget about our children and focus only on what we would do to make their lives more beautiful, thinking only about material things, not emotions. And by exploring in this way our own and the child’s emotions, desires and expectations, we can improve our relationship in the family and at the same time save the business problems that may arise from it.

During the conversation about the possibility of employment in your company, you need to learn from him what he wants and what his goals are, and you need to compare them with your goals. If you find that his goals do not match yours, you must decide whether to change your expectations or not to hire him. Otherwise you will be in conflict all the time. This means that you have to set goals and steps how to achieve them. However, you should be aware that it will be very difficult to “separate” the emotional component and the father-son relationship. However, it is much easier if you have specific goals. The moment you decide to hire your child, you must also start to trust him and believe in his work. When you come to a decision yourself, have him write an application and let him do a test project (from idea to solution).

Avtor - Milan Krajnc
Author of the article: Milan Krajnc, pedagogue, entrepreneur & crisis manager I teach you to look “at yourself” as a third person. For more information or an introductory meeting, write to me at
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