Starting a family run business can be alluring for a multitude of reasons. The comfort and closeness people feel with their family members can mean success, or family dynamics can spell failure. The key is to know the secrets of properly running a family business. Here are a few tools that any family business needs to thrive in today’s marketplace.
Set Work and Home Boundaries
When people work together it is not uncommon for them to talk shop even when they are outside of their work environment. When co-workers are family members, it can be very easy for them to talk shop all day and night. This can cause a destructive blurring of the lines between business and personal lives, according to Entrepreneur. The best strategy is to place a limit on work discussion which occurs outside of the office. This can protect family members from letting workplace stress from causing issues in personal situations which could result in family discord. Limiting workplace talk can also keep other personal feelings regarding non-business related issues from entering into crucial business decisions which could be destructive.
Hire Employees Based on Talent and Skill
Avoid the pitfall of providing positions within a business for people based solely on the fact they are related to the family. As mentioned in INC, doing this can result in a business sacrificing quality work for emotional reasons. But don’t avoid giving a job to a family member if they actually can do the work well.
Keeping it Simple
With all of the technological advances which keep emerging for new businesses to utilize, it can be easy to become overwhelmed with options. The best idea for any business comprised of family members which span several generations is to keep as many daily operations as simplified as possible. Using simple advanced and easy to use systems for websites and daily retail operations such as those offered by a premium company like Shopify can help achieve this goal. The easy to use, yet technologically advanced systems they offer can make it possible for any member of the business to set up and maintain a website to a POS terminal with ease. This can help to eliminate certain people from being underutilized simply because they understand certain aspects of technology more than others.
Clearly Define Roles and Responsibilities
The most successful family businesses have benefited from having clearly defined roles for each member of their organization. There could be several people who are qualified, or at least feel as if they are qualified for particular tasks. Specifically delegating certain individuals for these tasks helps to avoid confusion, duplicate work and possible disputes. It also help to ensure tasks do not get overlooked and everyone’s talents are used in way that provides the most benefit for the business.
Put it in Writing
All business relationships need to be put into writing. Failure to do this in the beginning could result in people becoming misguided and confused about their relationship to the company. Defining issues such as ownership, compensation, tasks and other business related matters help to avoid disputes in the future.
Schedule Meeting Times
People who work with their family members can often fall into a trap of feeling as if they can abandon certain protocols they would have engaged in with regular co-workers. One of these formalities is set meeting times. Members of a family business are wise to set daily and weekly meetings where strategy and other business issues can be openly discussed. This allows for people to keep their focus on the business instead of other family related issues. Scheduled meetings also allow people to have a time and place set aside for them to voice their differences of opinion and resolve disputes in an orderly and timely fashion.
A business can be a great success when dedicated family members and other co-workers strive for the common good of the company. To keep each member’s energy and focus on the business when in the workplace, efforts need to be made to avoid favoritism. Everything from pay and work schedules, to critiques and praise need to be handled fairly amongst employees who are both family and non-family members.
Use Outside Sources for Advice
It can become easy to get caught in a vacuum of thought when working with family members. It is important to remember the value of outside thoughts, insight and opinions for a growing business. Getting a fresh perspective from sources outside of a family can help a business remain grounded and in touch with innovative ideas, as the Wall Street Journal suggests.
Starting a business is difficult for anyone. When a family decides to enter into the business world together they can be derailed by the dynamics of their interpersonal relationships. Using these strategies can eliminate this negative and turn those relationships into powerful assets, which can be the key to long term success.
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