Being part of a successful family business can be extremely satisfying as well as lucrative, but as any family business owners will tell you, it takes an awful lot of hard work. As with any organisation, starting a family business can easily go wrong, especially when key areas are overlooked. Here we explore the dos and, more importantly, the don’ts of running a successful family business.
How to Get it Right
One key essential is to learn how to communicate. In any business communication is of the utmost important, but with a family business it is even more so. It can be surprisingly easy to encounter issues when working with other family members and if you can’t find a way to talk it through both your work and family life will be affected. A regular opportunity for all staff members to have their say means any disputes can be met head on and ensures all staff, whether family or not, continue to have the same goals and objectives.
Do have a clear chain of command, as ambiguous job roles mean everyone is involved in everything and toes will no doubt be stepped on. Each employee should know what area they are in charge of and will know who to go to when issues arise.
Make sure you have a plan for the future, as the unexpected just might happen. You may believe that a family member will be involved indefinitely, but the reality is that things change. Getting through those changes will be simpler with a succession plan.
What to Avoid
Don’t allow the chance for the team to create alliances. Pitting one member of the family against another is the best way to watch things fall apart. If any issues arise, keep communication channels open and, if you need to, find someone unbiased to mediate.
When you work with family it is easy to slip into the habit of favouring particular members of the team. As with any business, all staff should be treated fairly and according to their skills and expertise. Showing favouritism of any kind can impact on your staff, who may feel family members are given greater rewards or special consideration. Not only is this demotivating for your workers, it could also lead to legal implications further down the line.
Finally, don’t make the mistake of hiring someone just because they are family. Though it is tempting to find a position for a family member that asks for one, it is more beneficial to your business to choose someone that is skilled in that area. And if you have an essential area of the business that lacks the right candidate, consider outsourcing or employing the help of professionals such as contract accountants or legal advisors.
Keeping these simple tips in mind as you start up your family business can prevent you from making the wrong decisions. Hopefully, with these precautions already taken your business will be a great success, one that you can share with those nearest to you.