Why Last Year Was Our Best Year Ever as a Family

Plus One Way We Failed — and What We Just Did About It

Do you know what you want to accomplish in 2016? What goals do you have for your business and your family? This past year was a great year for the Timm family—our best year ever. We achieved far more than we ever dreamed possible. But it didn’t happen by accident.

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Last year’s success started when my wife Ann and I had a conversation. We knew there was more we could and should be doing in life, work, and family.

Is Your Family Mission Ready for the New Year?

You're Clear on Your Business Goals, but What about Your Family Goals?

By now, most business leaders are wrapping up loose ends and getting ready to shut down for the holidays. It’s a festive time of year, to be sure — a time of reflecting, celebrating, and looking forward to what lies ahead. You probably have a mission in mind for next year for your business endeavors. But what about your family?

Inspirational quote on picture frame over a dirty brick wall. DO SOMETHING TODAY THAT YOUR FUTURE SELF WILL THANK YOU FOR.

For a business to succeed, you can’t just wing it. You have to be intentional about choosing where you are going and developing a strategy to accomplish your mission.

A family works the same way. When we started treating our family as a business, everything changed for my wife, Ann, and me.

What Is the Most Valuable Business You Will Ever Own?

The Best Tool I’ve Found for Building Your Family Legacy

What is your greatest business success? If you’re a business leader or entrepreneur like me, your mind immediately turns to some resume-building accomplishment. But what if we’re missing something? What if the most valuable business you will ever own is your own family?

Timm Legacy

We entrepreneurs tend to focus on what is in front of us – our business. But when we do, we tend to neglect our families because, although we believe them to be important, investing in them doesn’t always seem to be urgent.

So we tend to let them slide, hoping our spouses will pick up the slack so we don’t have to try to figure it all out.

We hope our businesses will grow and make a difference in the world, lasting long after we gone. But if we’re not careful, we’ll miss the obvious truth: Our families are the one thing guaranteed to have an impact for generations to come.

The One Thing Fathers Can’t Delegate

3 Reasons Dads Need to Lead at Home

Over the last several years since I re-engaged as CEO of my family, I’ve shared about our family’s success with many dads who are business owners and leaders. Unfortunately, what I often hear are sad tales of fathers who’ve given up or checked out. “I let my wife take care of family stuff,” is a line I hear often.

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I get it. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to feel helpless and frustrated about the chaos at home. But one thing I have learned the hard way, dads: some things can’t be delegated.

Do You Let Technology Control Your Family Time?

Try This Simple Tactic to Take Control of Technology

Technology. Thanks to smartphones and Wi-Fi, it’s everywhere these days. Sometimes I wonder how in the world our family ever lived without it. And other times I really wish we could find out.

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As an entrepreneur, I often feel the need to be plugged in 24/7. My staff members and sales reps all have my phone number and know the door is always open to talk. I check my email often to make sure everything is going well.

But I recently got a wake-up call from one of my kids. She called me out one day and said: “You know, Dad, when you put me to bed you used to really talk to me, but now I catch you checking your text messages or checking your email. That tells me you’re not really here.”

Ouch.

I realized right then that I had been letting technology take control of what should have been family time.

As I thought about it, I realized I was doing the same thing with my wife when I came home every day. Instead of being all-in and fully present when I walked in the door, I’d be checking technology all night long.

It caused me to realize that family time isn’t family time if we’re not fully present for it.

How to Take Back Your Family Time

I decided to make a change. I led by example. I put my technology on the table.

Now when I walk into the house after a day of work, I put my smartphone on the table.

I know where it is if I need it. I can hear it if it rings. But I’m not tempted to check it every two minutes.

Just by doing what seems a simple thing, I am free to connect with my kids and my wife without being tempted to check emails, social media, or voicemail one more time.

I’ve even coined the phrase in our family, “Put your technology, on the table.” When we all go out to dinner as a family, it’s the first thing we say. Every member of the family then puts their technology in the middle of the table.

Our kids get out their phones and we stack them up in a pyramid on the table. All of our technology stays on the table until the dinner is done.

By putting our technology on the table, we all get a break from the constant tug of technology. It sends a clear signal that we are choosing to focus our attention on one another.

It’s also allowed us to talk more about how we can intentionally use technology to build the brand equity of our family business. By not posting to Instagram or checking email for a few minutes, we can get the greatest return on our investment of time together as a family.

Now whenever we gather as a family, whether for dinner, family meeting, or any family time, we put technology on the table — and it changes the dynamics of the gathering. Our kids will even call for everyone to put technology on the table if they want to get our attention.

The fact is that technology is important; we couldn’t run our businesses without it. And it can make family life simpler in many ways.

But if you really want to build your family’s brand equity, put your technology on the table — and encourage the rest of your family to join you.

Question:What do you think of our solution for putting technology in its place? What other strategies have you discovered for protecting family time from technology? You can share your thoughts by clicking here.

Why Business Leaders Can Be Great Parents

7 Ways Your Family Is Like a Business

There’s nothing like the feeling of leaving the office after a successful day. Unfortunately for many business leaders, that sense of satisfaction ends when they arrive at home and feel as if their families are spiraling out of control. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

A father and son playing electric shot car

If you are a business leader struggling to be a better parent, there is good news for you. You are closer than you realize to the clarity and confidence you need to build a family that you are proud of every day. You already have the skills and knowledge to make it happen; you just need to know how to apply them at home.

How Do Family Meetings Work with Younger Children?

3 Keys to Getting Started When Your Kids are Small

Meetings serve as the hub of family success, just as they do for business success. Family meetings are critical for our family of teen and pre-teen kids. But what if your family has younger children? Will having regular meetings still work for you?

Young Family

To answer that question, it might be helpful to think of a younger family as a start-up business. Like a start-up, younger families are often extremely busy. The executive team (Mom and Dad) wears a lot of different hats. And there’s always a significant learning curve because everything is new.

How a Work Ethic Gives Your Kids an Advantage

Teaching Children the Value of Work Prepares Them to Live a Valuable Life

Every business leader knows that you can prepare and plan all you want, but success often hinges on how willing you are to hustle when everyone else is taking it easy. Sometimes what you need to succeed — and what your children will need to succeed — seems to be in rare supply: a diligent work ethic.

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As a small business owner, I’ve done a lot of hiring over the years. In my experience, more and more young people seem to want a high-paying job right from the start, but they don’t have the work ethic required to achieve it. I hear a lot of talk about raising the minimum-wage level but not the minimum-work level.

How Parents Can Turn Battles of Will into Teachable Moments

Harness the Power of Contracts to Win at Home

Mom, can I get a phone? Can I get a job? Dad, can I be on the soccer team? Drive a car? Play my X-Box? What parent hasn’t occasionally felt overwhelmed by all the questions from their kids? If you’re like me, you want to say yes as much as you can, but know your kids also need to learn responsibility. All too often, you end up in a battle of wills with your children where there are no winners, only survivors.

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We experienced the same conflict in our family. As you can imagine, with six children in the teen and pre-teen years now, we live in that tension between needing to guide our kids and giving them the freedom to grow. Before we began to approach our family as a business, the result was often utter chaos.

The irony is that as a business leader I would never tolerate such chaos in my business. I would never settle for “He said, She said” scenarios, ‘‘You didn’t tell me…” arguments, and all the confusion that ensued.