How to Keep It Professional When Running a Business with Family
27th June 2019
Office politics can take on a whole new meaning when you run a business with family. You will be going into every situation with an already established family dynamic that can be difficult to override.
It’s really important for your business and your family life that you keep things professional. Here are some tips for how you can navigate the waters of a family business.
Keep business to work hours
Don’t let business bleed into family time or the lines will become blurred and you will run into problems later. If, after work, you’re having family dinners or get together on weekends, you need to be careful not to discuss anything about the business.
Similarly, don’t bring family issues or disagreements into the office. Personal problems need to be tackled outside of work hours.
Be clear from day one
Right from the offset, it’s important to have agreements and structures in place. These can then serve as a point of reference later on when disagreements happen. It may be helpful to have these drawn up by a lawyer or someone who is outside of the family and, therefore, impartial.
This extends to family employee contracts. It is, in fact, even more vital to have contracts in place when you are working with family. This will help to make sure everyone has the same expectations and, if issues arise, there is a clear decider in the form of a legal document.
You will also need to be very clear about what role each member of the family is expected to fill. Failure to do so can lead to someone stepping on toes or feeling like someone has dropped the ball when a task is overlooked.
If everyone knows exactly what their role is, there is less of a chance that wires will get crossed.
At the same time, there should be transparency when it comes to where each member of the family thinks the business will be going. When it comes time to make difficult decisions, it helps to have a preestablished direction.
There should also be time taken every so often to reassess where everyone stands in relation to these goals and expectations. This way they can either be readjusted or redefined if things have changed.
Address things as they arise
If there is something that crops up that bothers you, bring it up with the concerned party immediately. Leaving problems to fester will cause a lot of family and business problems further down the line.
If you want to keep things running smoothly in a family business, you will need to be able to communicate well with each other. You will also need to be as transparent as possible.
Each family member that you are going into business with will have a different skillset and a different area of expertise. If you manage to utilise this correctly, this can be your greatest asset.
Determine roles in the business according to what each person is good at and where their strengths lie.
Remember the advantages
No matter what business you are running and who you are running it with, there are going to be difficult times. When this happens it’s important to remember the advantages that come with running a business with family.
Working with family means you will have a built-in support system. The people you are working with will also more likely be loyal to the business. This will come with long-term stability.
Having a shared set of values can also be a real advantage when you are setting goals for your business. And, working with family will mean that they are more willing to make sacrifices for the business.
So, if you can be honest, keep things in writing and focus on your communication, running a business with family can be a great path to success.
By Matthew Hernon is an Account Manager at Dynamis looking after Business Transfer Agents and Franchises across BusinessesForSale.com and FranchiseSales.com.