Arguably, family members have proved to contribute a great deal in building a business idea from the ground up. Today, some of the best businesses around the world are owned and operated by families and this stands as testament that working with relatives can bring enormous success if approached correctly. Get me correctly here, you have to approach this type of business partnership appropriately if you are to operate a stable business. In this article, I attempt to shed light on some factors you can observe to get the best out of a family business partnership.
What You Should Know About A Family Business
There is a sense in which starting a family business may be viewed as the interaction between two separate systems. If not properly handled, either of the systems may stifle the other out of existence. It is thus imperative for a business owner to understand each system unit to keep it as separate as possible. These systems need to be kept separately because each operates on different boundaries and rules. In essence, a family business may be made up of a combination of members with various roles in the life of the owner and the business. This could be husband and wife, parent and children or extended family and friends. While each might have a well-defined job description, conflicts and strains always arise where their roles overlap. Among other things, how brothers communicate at home will obviously be different from that required at the workplace. A demarcating boundary should be established in this factor and other areas of business.
Encourage Effective Communication
I tell you if there is one thing bound to make or break a partnership with a family member or friend is communication. In this regard, you need to know that the moment you decide to involve a friend or family member in your business, your respective will change. Change comes from the fact that in business formality is key across the board while you can be casual on family/friendship affairs. Hence to ensure effective communication, always begin by clearly defining your job titles, duties and responsibilities from the onset. This will play a pivotal role in ensuring that all the aspects of the business are properly managed. Effective communication will curb the risks of confusion and power struggles.
Write Everything Down And Do Not Make Promises You Can`t Fulfil
If ever there is a thing that puts people off it has to be an unfulfilled promise. Remember, a promise is a credit as the saying goes. Hence, before starting your venture, you need to be as direct as possible in laying out your business partnership roadmap and this includes demarcating overall responsibilities and the subsequent payments. Ensure that you and your business partner are on the same page about the business you are pursuing to avoid unnecessary surprises. Where you engage in business discussions, always ensure that you capture everything discussed on paper either as a Memo or contract. It pays to involve the services of a lawyer when you enter such situations that lead to these documents. Partnerships are also prone to breaking up, and in your written documents, clearly label out an exit strategy for partners. You can include the separation and/or buyout clauses that will help in easing potential chaos or the straining of a relationship outside the business.
Set Clear And Effective Ground Rules
Setting ground rules entails determining the company culture and helps shape the general flow of your business. First and foremost important is the need to keep work and personal lives completely separated. There are situations where family matters are carried along in discussions at the workplace between brothers, this has to be stopped. Having family discussions at work tends to make non-family employees who consider themselves important to the business feel left especially when they want to have their opinions considered. It is often difficult for them to know when or where to share their opinions. Hence, it is encouraged that you clearly set out ground rules that family issues should be discussed at home, preferably, after work.
Family Teenagers Should Get Experience First Before Joining
While a family business guarantees a future income for generations to come, there is a tendency for the young ones to a family to feel entitled for positions in the company when they reach maturity. While this is noble as it guarantees continuity you also need to elaborate on the importance of skill for the growth and development of the business. In this regard, you can benefit the family company by making it your policy that every family teenager desiring to join the organisation should get outside experience beforehand.
Do Not Provide Sympathy Jobs
Having managed to start a business in your family or amongst your friends, you should desist from becoming the employer of last resort for those around you. Put simply, employment should be based on the skills and/or knowledge the prospective person can bring to the organisation. You can’t hire a person because he/she is related to you, no. Your company will benefit greatly if you take every opportunity accessible based on merit, not sympathy.
Frequently Incorporate Outside Advice
Family relationships always tend to skew fresh business ideas and/or creative thinking. Further to this, you might have challenges in having a fluid decision-making process due to many family considerations. In this regard, it is advisable for one to always try and incorporate outsider perspectives on whether or not you are making a profit. You also need outsider insights ow to grow the business in any way possible. Hence, for your business to get a reality check to hire an outside advisor who you are sure is not affiliated to your family by any means.
The above are some of the factors you need to be aware of the moment you decide to work with family members to grow your business.