Why You Should Build A Business “Ohana”

“Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” – Lilo and Stitch

If you’re a fan of animated films, or have kids who are, you may have heard the term “Ohana” referred to in the Disney animated film “Lilo and Stitch.” The popular tale helps teach valuable lessons around family, which aren’t just for kids! Understanding and fostering a spirit of Ohana can also help in your business development.


Ohana is a term that sums up the value of family inherent in Polynesian – indigenous Pacific Island – cultures. Ohana encapsulates immediate and extended family members. In most Polynesian cultures, family refers to three generations living and cooperating, with value for respect and honoring the family prioritized above all else. Further, every person contributes to the family’s overall success.


If you think about your business as part of a larger community, you can start to get an idea of how cooperation benefits your business growth, no matter what stage of development you find yourself. Today, more than ever, customers want to support companies that display values like collaboration, giving back and good citizenship.

  1. Collaboration – You might think to collaborate with others would run counter-intuitive to business success. After all, shouldn’t you protect your ideas at all costs? The truth is collaboration can be a powerful tool for the savvy small business owner who understands the value of teamwork, even with other entrepreneurs. For instance, many companies are using collaborative marketing to help each other reach new audiences together.
  2. Contribution – Small businesses can make or break burgeoning local economies by providing jobs, adding to the local tax base, and bringing innovation and creativity – all of which attract new residents. By seeing yourself as a vital part of the community with a role to contribute, businesses can gain valuable customer loyalty. This is especially true for brick and mortar businesses that are looking for ways to stay relevant as online retail soars. For example, take a look at how businesses are creating gathering spaces in order to contribute to local community building and gain loyal fans. Even if you don’t have a brick and mortar location, service-based or online business owners contribute when they get involved in civic groups and actively work to foster growth in their city.
  3. Sharing – Sharing resources to help others thrive is a winning value to embed into your business. People increasingly seek to buy from socially responsible companies that regularly give back through philanthropy or have social good built into their bottom line. The Millennial generation has driven this trend, and it likely won’t change anytime soon. Small business owners are well positioned to understand the unique needs of their local communities and get involved at a grassroots level, which can help build their name recognition and relationships with local leaders. Plus, giving back feels good!

These are just three reasons why incorporating the values of “Ohana” can help your business thrive. If nothing else, it feels great to create a foundation of support among other owners who share similar goals and aspirations. And, if you need a place to start building your business Ohana, we have a recommendation!