Starting a business with your family has the benefit of starting with a team who are loyal to each other and are committed to the business. However, starting a business with your family can also be risky, as the stressful nature of running a business can do irreversible damage to family relationships if you don’t work well together or the business fails. As such, Business Foundations has compiled a list of tips to set your family business up for success.


1. Plan your business thoroughly before you start.

Before starting a business, make sure to have lots of discussion with your family members to ensure that you agree on the same vision and values for your business. To make your business work you will need a strong foundation and the knowledge that you can work well together to solve any challenges that arise. It is also important to note how you solve problems during this time. If your family members get defensive or refuse to cooperate, this will only get worse in the future when the stakes are higher.


2. Communicate

Your family needs to be able to communicate with each other freely and with respect to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Resentment will build quickly if you start withholding information or people feel that they can’t speak up. In addition, everyone must feel that they are respected. It is easy in a family relationship to drop the professionalism, but you need to ensure you are always being kind.


3. Ensure that you are working as a team.

Every person going into the business must ensure that they are contributing an equal and fair amount of effort and responsibility. The whole family needs to work as a team to make the business a success, which means sharing the wins and failures and ensuring that no one feels that they are going at it alone.


4. Be on the same page with your goals.

For the sake of your family relationship, it is important that everyone is on the same page with the business’ future. Are you starting your business to earn a bit of extra cash? Are you wanting to make enough to replace full-time work? Or do you intend to build a family legacy and expect your children to take over in the future? These are all vastly different goals to work towards and you need to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal. If everyone wants different things out of the business, this can lead to awkwardness and resentment in the future.


5. Draw the line between your business and your familial relationship.

Whilst you are going into business with your family, you want to ensure that your business doesn’t consume your family relationships. It is important to set boundaries and spend time with your family when you don’t talk about business. You might also want to log out of your emails and turn your phone off after 6pm so you can spend uninterrupted time with your family. This will have a minimal impact on your business, but it will certainly support the relationship with your family.

Starting a business with your family can be highly rewarding, but it can also damage your relationships beyond repair if things go wrong. As such, it is important that you run a family business with your personal relationships front of mind.

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