Many people who want to open up a small business of their own tend to turn to family first when looking for help. And it’s a fairly natural decision. These are people you know and have an established relationship with, which means that you already have a strong foundation to build on.
Sometimes it’s even a move that comes from necessity. You might not have the funds to hire people right away, and getting family members to help out might be your only option.
But working with family members can have its own set of frustrations and challenges as well. If you’ve decided to keep it in the family, here are some tips to follow that should ensure smoother sailing as your business grows.
Who’s the Boss?
Even though you are working with members of your family, you still need to define the company’s structure. Are you going to be the decision maker who has the last say? Or is there a family member who is involved in the company that has more corporate experience to whom you would like to delegate this role?
Making sure that you set this structure at the very start will help you to avoid a great amount of potential conflicts. This is especially true if the family members involved are all headstrong and very opinionated.
Recognize Everyone’s Talents
One of the biggest advantages of working with family members is that you already know them on a personal level. You know their strengths and weaknesses. This should help you identify roles within the company.
The worst thing you can do is let everyone have a say in every aspect of your business. If you know that one of your family members is a financial wiz, let that person handle the bookkeeping. If you have recognized that another family member has excellent organizational skills, give them a managerial position.
Evaluate the skill sets of each of your family members who are involved in the company and designate responsibilities according to what each person does best.
Invest in Their Skills
Now that you have determined who does what best and you have designated their roles, it’s time to take full advantage of their skills. If you are entering the business world with your family members, then you need to treat them just like you would any other workers.
Get the most out of your employees by continuing to invest in them. Once your business gets off the ground and you have some extra money to spend, start investing in online courses, seminars, and anything else that will help your team members get better at what they do.
They are your family, so you know that they are in it for the long-run and more likely to stay with you than co-workers who are not related to you. This makes investing in them practically risk-free.
Don’t Impose Family-Only Limits
Just because you plan on running a family owned and operated business, does not mean that it should be exclusive to your family. This is especially true when it comes to the executive positions within your business.
Determining who advances should be based entirely on performance and potential. If a worker who is not related to you is showing more promise than one of your family members, he or she should be promoted first.
Running a business with family members can get extremely sensitive at times. That’s why it’s also a good idea to bring in external help, even if only as temporary aids. This will help you to get an unbiased assessment of your company and make the right decisions moving forward.
Don’t Avoid Conflicts
Don’t walk on eggshells just because your co-workers are related to you. If you don’t agree with something that one of your family members is doing within the company and you don’t believe that it benefits your business, then speak up.
Conflicts, disagreements and misunderstandings come with the territory when you are running a small business of your own. The fact that members of your family are involved should not change that. It’s all part of the process.
Just like with anything in life, running a family business has its positive and negative aspects. And just as with anything else, it’s important to try and maximize the positive and minimize the negative.