A Must Read If You Are Thinking Of Working With Family Members

August 17, 2011 by laura.cohen

Working with family at a small business is hardly unusual.  Often enough complications arise that relatives don’t always foresee.  Most common is the fact that people simply underestimate the pressures of running a startup might put on family relationships.  If you’re not careful it can severely damage both your business and the family.

Having a successful professional relationship with a family member is not always easy.  There are a few things that can help keep the personal relationship intact while the focus is kept on growing a successful business venture.

1. Trust Is Everything – All successful business partnerships must be built on trust.  Period.  Regardless of whether it’s with a family member or not.  You need to get to a place of common understanding that puts the business before the personal.

2. Recognize Each Other’s Strengths and Weaknesses – It’s not easy to admit your weaknesses, but if your business is going to thrive in these times, it’s crucial to clearly outline at the onset the strengths each family member brings to the company and the subsequent roles played by all.  Defined roles and responsibilities help to avoid overlaps and disagreements down the road.

3. Listen And Compromise – Enough said.  (And if things do go wrong, never say “I told you so.”)

4. Passion Is A Must – Separating work and home life is not so easy for most entrepreneurs.  The business is your passion.  That’s why you’re in it.

Key takeaway: Before deciding whether to go into business with a family member, ask this: Can we work together?  In theory, you may think so.  In reality, you need to have a relationship built on trust, patience, communication, and like-mindedness.  Launching a company is a high-stress, high-pressure endeavor.  You need the right people on your side.  If you’ve found that in the past, your relationships with your family members become strained under pressure, rethink your business plans.


This blog is written and managed by the team at Experian Business Information Services. Here you will find articles on business advice and credit education in addition to the latest news and trends in small business.

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