Family businesses have long been considered the backbone of the economy. Many of the most respected businesses are family-owned. Trying to balance family and business can produce added tensions for each family member.
There are benefits and pitfalls of running a family business. Family businesses require a unique management style.
Each member wants to feel secure in the company. They must continue to show loyalty and a commitment to the family business.
Here are a few tips to help you make it work.
Write this down
You must integrate and balance the needs between being an owner, family member and the actual business, itself. According to business expert Alexander Bouri, having procedures in place will help you to manage any incident of conflict.
A written policy for hiring and terminating employees, even though they are family members, will help you to avoid great heartache and financial distress later down the line.
You must avoid putting selfish interests ahead of the family business interests. Increased familial squabbling could result in physical altercations between parents, brothers and sisters.
This could escalate to lawsuits and a possible bankruptcy for the company. Out-of-control disagreements can cause a scene and eventually develop huge issues among the various family members.
Keep calm and…
A strong business relationship based on core family values can only help to build your business. Unfortunately, constantly being involved in inappropriate emotional conflicts can soon cause a huge rift among other family members and eventually show a negative image of your business.
For example, your customers may see a brother is arguing with his sister. Instead of listening to the voice of reason, they try to get you to pick sides. The way you choose to handle this will significantly impact the course of your business.
In general, it is a common reaction to be defensive. Instead, you should look at the issue from a logical perspective. Maintaining basic communication between the families will often mean making some compromises.
Always plan for the future
The family patriarch will often intentionally keep the other members of the family in the dark. They think by doing so they will avoid any sibling rivalries and other tensions such as compensation.
Instead, this means an over-reliance on the one family member who originally founded the company. A wise choice would be to build on the strength of the family unit by adding periodic family meetings. Attending these meetings will require time and commitment on the part of the family members. The meetings can define expectations clearly.
During the course of these meetings, you can ensure that they agree and understand their individual roles and responsibilities. It is also a great venue for rewarding based on their performance.
Many are caught up in day-to-day challenges of the business. They do not focus on a designated person to take over. It is critical to create a business roadmap for the future and choose a successor. In the meantime, remember to nurture your family members the same way you do the business.
About the Author:
Originally from Senoia, GA, Marlena Stoddard lives in Santa Rosa, CA with her husband and two children. When she isn’t spending time with her children or writing, Marlena enjoys hiking and photography. For more on Marlena, you can follow her on Google+.
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