Running A Family Business: Ensuring It Lasts

business people

A family business is something that you can leave for future generations. There are many businesses out there that have been kept in the family successfully. However, there are also a lot of them that have failed. If you want your family business to become a success story, here are some tips on how to run it properly.

Set Boundaries

One of the first things to do is set boundaries. When you work with family members, separate family issues from business issues. For example, sometimes a family member may think that they have the right to treat workers like they are the boss, even though they are part of another department or are in a lower position. That is a definite no-no. It will only create resentment and disruption. Tell family members who work for or with you that they should aren’t getting any special privileges or perks. When they are at work, they have to act like employees. They can’t order people around or go over your head.

Communicate With Your Family

Another problem that comes up with family businesses is communication. Many business owners working with family members assume that their loved ones will know what they want. On the other side of things, family members also assume what you may want them to do. The problem is that sometimes these ideas don’t mesh together. It is better if you ensure that everyone is on the same page by communicating with them properly. Have regular meetings and be clear about your instructions so that people can do their jobs properly.

Formalize Everything

A big problem that some family businesses have is that they depend on many verbal agreements when it comes to family members. For example, you might trust your cousin to do their job or pay you in full for any services rendered. But they might easily lean on their family connection with you to get bonuses or something similar. Don’t fall into that trap. Everything in the business should be formal and legal. Contracts need to be signed, and laws have to be followed. This ensures that the business operates without any surprise losses because of your relatives.


Be Fair

There is also the question of fairness. A lot of your normal employees will think that you will automatically side with your family members. That is very bad for your company’s morale and can hurt your reputation among potential employees. While you can have family members working for you, you can’t staff your entire business with family. So it is a smart move to treat everyone fairly. For example, if an employee deserves a promotion and your cousin doesn’t, then give them the promotion. It ensures that your business has a good infrastructure.

Open Up To Outside Help And Advice

Another problem when you have family only in your inner circle in a business tends to think alike. Family usually influences how you think and what you believe. It can also be pretty conservative. While that works sometimes, it is much better to be open to change. To bring in outside perspective and solutions, think of hiring an outsider and listening to their advice. They can provide you with more ideas and fresh eyes in any situation. Successful family companies welcome outsiders and listen to their voices so that they can succeed.

Prepare For The Future

A successful family business is going to last for decades. It can even outlive you. You need to be ready for this. Start training successors and talking with family members about who can take up the reins. For example, talk with your children if they want to inherit running the business. Those who want to can start training early. It would be good to start them from the bottom so that they know what is going on.

Another part of the preparation is consulting some estate and trust litigation lawyers. A family business can be considered an asset, and your heir might face some high fees. Writing up a proper will to divide the company shares and assets properly might also be necessary.

Family businesses have a lot of advantages. But there are also a lot of weaknesses that you have to look out for. With the right approach, you can ensure that your business can last as long as your family does. The tips above should help with that and help ensure that it is profitable. It can also prevent a lot of the family drama that comes with working with your family. Take action now so your family business can prosper.

Like & Share

About The Author

Scroll to Top