8 Tips on How to Survive Running a Business with Your Family
Ah, family…we love them, and running a business with them could be a blessing. However, when it’s not done right it could become a curse. There are many things that might not cross your mind when running a family business, because well, you might say ‘It’s family I don’t need it.’ Don’t take your family for granted when it comes to your business. Play it safe; here are eight things you should do to keep your business running smoothly when you're in business with your family.
Set clear roles for everyone involved
Just like you would hire someone for a specific position and expect them to be proficient at their work, the same should go for the family members who work with you. If you are partnering with a family member where both of you take a leadership role, make sure that your roles are clearly defined and don’t overlap. You are both leaders and butting heads can occur, so avoid it before it happens. This also goes for everyone else in your company, make it crystal clear about who is responsible for what and make them accountable for it. When it comes to business, maintain a professional environment. Everyone should be on their 'A game.'
When you set clear goals, then the decision-making process becomes easier as well, and won't need to have consensus. Making business decisions sometimes requires for everyone to sit in a room and discuss the situation. And sometimes that’s not needed or possible, so you or someone else has to make decisions. Make sure to map out every situation you may encounter at your business and come up with who will deal with them and how they will be dealt with. This will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run.
Respect each other at-all-times
You love your family, but sometimes tensions can run high, especially when opinions differ. You may disagree, but always remember to remain respectful and professional. When you get angry, remove yourself from the situation. Take a five-minute break and try to calm down. When you're angry your brain gets blocked and doesn’t let you think rationally. After you’ve calmed down and had time to organize your thoughts, then go back to the discussion. You may find that you're able to find a solution faster.
Another important point about respecting each other is to always make sure you show that respect and professionalism in front of other employees. This sets the tone for the culture of your company and can affect morale. Remember that the leadership determines the culture of your company, so be sure to set good examples for your employees.
Conduct performance reviews
In any job, performance reviews are common, and there is no rule that just because you have a family business that you don’t need them. You should always be evaluating the productivity of each person, whether or not the employee is a family member. If you have non-family members working for you don’t treat them any differently and vice-versa. Everyone should have the same goals and everyone should be working together to achieve them.
Keep your work and personal lives separate
Ever hear people say, never bring your personal life to work and don’t bring your work home? Well, it’s true and especially important when you run a family business. How do you keep your work and personal life separate when you live with the people you work with or see them often outside of work? It’s not an easy task, but should be taken seriously because it could cost you your relationship and your business. Don’t talk about or even bring up anything that goes on at work inside your home or even if you’re out having dinner. And if something happened the night before at home or at a family event, try not to bring it up while you’re at work.
Come up with a succession plan
If you're running a family business in hopes of one day retiring and handing it off to a family member, make sure all parties clearly understand your plans. What you might think someone wants may not be the case. The person you plan to give your business to, might not want it, and then what, do you close your business? Or, what if other members want a piece of the business? Do you divide it up or do you create a hierarchy? It's a difficult conversation but if you want to keep your business going strong for the next 100 years, then make sure your plans and everyone involved is crystal clear about it.
Document everything and sign contracts
When it comes to your business, there should never be any handshake agreements, not even for family. Everything from processes, purchase agreements, salaries to schedules, should be documented. It is important to create documents explaining each thing and have everyone sign contracts. Speaking of contracts, you should also have a clear process of who the people are that have authority to sign contracts at any given time. No matter your business type or size, make sure you create a document management system. It will not only avoid confusion, misunderstandings, and conflicts but will also come in handy at times when an employee leaves.
Don’t ruin relationships for the sake of your business
When you started your business, you probably couldn’t have done it without the support of your family. And as your business grows maybe it’s time to take a step back and reassess your working relationship with your family. Maybe it’s time to hire additional staff and go back to being just family, especially if your personal relationships are suffering because of it.
It is also important to understand that when you hire family, it is not easy to fire them and if you do, well, that’s going to cost you your relationship. So, before you hire your relative, make sure there are no doubts, or you’ll be stuck in a sticky situation.
Safeguard your investment
If you're like many business owners, you've used your own money to start and keep your business afloat. Consider safeguarding your personal investment by getting money from an alternative source like a direct lender to help run your business. In today's world, you don't have to go to a bank to get a business loan. There are many direct lenders, like Select Funding that can approve you in minutes and get you the money you need in as little as one business day. Obtaining working capital through a direct lender is great for when you need money fast without having to borrow money from yourself or using a credit card.
You’ve worked hard to build your business and by taking these few tips into consideration we hope they help you with running your business even more proficiently.