“When I took over the family business in 2013, my PrimePay specialist was one of my greatest supporters through the transition. She was always available to me and patiently answered any questions I had regarding payroll. I am very grateful for [PrimePay’s] services.”
Laura Boscole
Owner, JaCiva's Bakery

What’s in a name? From the name you were given at birth, to the name you gave your puppy to the name you decided on when starting your business, this label holds huge significance in your life.

JaCiva’s Bakery in Portland, Oregon showcases their values right in their name. Back in 1986, husband and wife duo Jack and Iva perfected chocolate and dessert-making into a staple in the Portland community. By combining both of their names, JaCiva’s was born and they continue to make customers feel right at home.

From pastries to cookies to chocolates and cakes, JaCiva’s attention to quality is as decadent as their ingredients. And it’s been a part of the family tradition for 30 years (and is still owned by Jack and Iva to this day!)

If you are an entrepreneur who has already begun thinking about succession planning or if you recently inherited a business from your folks, keeping a family business thriving is a top priority.

There’s a fine line when it comes to running any type of family business – the tight knit group ensures trust but you also have to be mindful of any drama that might come out of it. That’s not the case for every family run business – JaCiva’s recipe for success rests in their ability to work well together – but it’s something to keep in mind.

The following are ideas that will help any owner of a family run business have their cake and eat it too:

Put employees first & your customers will notice

This idea all comes down to the simple fact that providing excellent customer service is the best possible marketing your small business can implement. If you offer an environment where your employees can and want to thrive, that customer service element will fall into place.

When these two foundations become your focus, your other business operations will become more fluent. Happier employees directly affect the number of happier customers. And I don’t have to explain what happy customers means 🙂

“Because we are a small family business, all employees are considered family upon hire. I give 100% credit to my employees for the success of this company,” explained Laura Boscole, manager at JaCiva’s.

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Open communication

Where would your business be today without a solid communication plan? By running a family enterprise, you have to be extremely open with each other. This all starts by delegating roles – decide who is going to be responsible for what types of decisions and keep that distinction clear.

If your business is one that’s already lasted through multiple generations, communicating changes will be a priority. After all, change is essential to a business’s survival, so you have to keep up with what’s current from a trend standpoint and compliance regulations.

  • Check out this article from Karsten Strauss of Forbes that suggests ways to make this process easier.

Maintain your mission

One quick look at JaCiva’s Bakery’s website and you’ll know their motto is, “a quality bakery with a family atmosphere,” explained Boscole.

There’s going to be ups and downs in any business, no matter if it’s family-owned or not. But as long as you never lose sight of why you’re in business, the rest will work itself out. Be proud of what you do and what you represent and ensure that all family members are on the same page.