Running a family business definitely could be a bit of a challenge but taking these few tips into consideration will make it easy to bear.
This is for members of a family legacy; not everyone will want to be involved or go in the line of the family business. That you are a family does not mean you all will share the same dreams and aspirations. As the head of the family or decision maker, you have to be considerate and respect the wish of anyone that is not interested in the family business. If such person is forced to do so, there will be no commitment on the person’s part. All you need do is to wish such person well in their endeavours.
You are bound by the rules of business
In the same vein a business that isn’t owned collectively (i.e. family) as roles, so does a family business. Every member of the family has to abide by these roles. To ensure the growth of any business, certain things have to be in place, such as business plans, legal provisions amongst others, the same applies to a family business. The bottom line is that money has to be made and the company has to move forward. Decisions have to be made critically, as it would be in any other business.
This is to ensure that the family business doesn’t crumble in the second year of inception, not to talk of passing it on to the next generation.
Assign roles and responsibilities
Roles and responsibilities should be assigned based on merit, that is individual’s abilities and strengths. In a case where the youngest in the family is qualified to be the COO, he/she shouldn’t be deprived of it as a result of the age bracket. Business has nothing to do with age, but potentials. What he/she needs is the family’s support. Defining responsibilities will make it easier for everyone to have something to focus and goals to meet in their respective departments. This enables more productivity.
Embrace the change
Transitioning from the existing relationship into a formal-business relationship could be a bit difficult to accept, it is bound to happen. Either for good or bad, things cannot stay the same in the relationship; always have that at the back of your mind. It is important that good boundaries be set, be formal at work, be cordial at home, this is to ensure that passion and emotions do not get in the way of your business. The consolation part is that you can always make things up at home.
Communication and respect
For whatever relationship that exists in the world today, communication is key and it is very vital in ensuring the family business success. Family feuds are almost inevitable, but with good communication, it can be settled amicably in no time. Matters should be resolved calmly and respectfully as they arise, they shouldn’t be left piling up and unresolved.
In the case stated above that the youngest in the family may be the potential COO, it is via communication that the rest of the family will be made to understand that he/she has attained the post based on merit and not foul play, which doesn’t make others any less. It is then wrong the COO to be rude to his/her older siblings. Communication and respect work hand in hand. No matter how tough it is to get along at work, remember, family is all you have.
Don't be sentimental
Personal feelings should not get in the way of better judgement. If there is any issue between a family member and a non-family member, and the former is the one at fault, they stand to be corrected. This will make your employees respect you and trust you to make crucial decisions when the need arises.
Offences committed by family members shouldn’t be overlooked. The code of conducts of the organisation, if there is any should have no exemption. The penalty accorded for any offence should be given to any family member. There is no family in business; just employer-employee relationship, so family members have to be treated and disciplined the same way as non-family. This promotes transparency and fairness.
Take some time off
After all has been said and done, make time for your family. Come together as a family that you are and ease yourselves of the business stress and tension. Make time to nurture your family relationships; doing business together shouldn’t make you drift apart but wax stronger and grow closer. As you are working hard for the success of your business, do not forget to spice up your family relationship, you could have a dinner in some fancy restaurant after work on a weekday, have a weekend getaway or go on a family vacation. And no matter how tempting it is, do not discuss business.