Business Mentor: Avoiding problems while running a family business

Armando Bartolome

Posted at Oct 12 2019 08:02 AM

Building a business is one of the best ways to ensure you will have enjoyable retirement years. But sustaining a business is hard work, which is why an entrepreneur should carefully choose the partners who will join and help manage his business.

Hiring the right people can be a challenge, which is why some startups let family members help out until the right people come along.

Having family help out has its advantages. Because you already know who you're dealing with, you know their competence and may count on their loyalty to the family business. You may also find it easier to talk to them compared to others.

But misunderstandings may also arise. A family member may have a different opinion, which may create some friction between members.

It can be difficult to separate business matters from personal matters since personal issues may just be brought up. And when this happens, relationships do get affected.

Favoritism may also affect relationships. There may be instances wherein a family member may favor an employee not be based on actual performance.

Having said all these, this should not hinder you from letting your siblings help you with the business that you have in mind.

Sustaining a family business is a huge challenge, but not impossible. Here are a few tips on how to make a successful family business.

1. Never rely on verbal agreements. Over time, some members may just forget what you agreed upon. Not remembering exactly what you talked about may start a serious disagreement. Therefore, consider making a written by-law or board resolution that will indicate the role of each member.

2. Avoid resorting to personal attacks during disagreements. Set limitations or boundaries so that discussions remain focused on the business.

3. Treat everyone equally. Don't reserve all the top positions for family members. There should also be a basis for appointing a family member in a department or position. Making a family member work fairly in an impartial environment allows them room for growth.

4. Adopt work-life balance. Don't forget to spend quality time with one another. Have lunch breaks together, or go out on weekends.

Letting a family member join your business carries some risk. But if you are just starting and you think that a member of your family can help you, then go for it.

You will never know until you try.

For more information, you may contact Armando "Butz" Bartolome
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