The Struggles Of Growing A Family Business And How You Can Overcome Them

You can trace the history of most successful businesses back to one or two founding individuals that are from the same family. As those businesses grew, more family members were taken aboard to help make it a successful and well-functioning venture.

But running a business isn’t easy, especially when you’re starting out and have to face innumerous challenges. Doing it with those who are related to you may seem like it should be easier it first, but there are plenty of unique obstacles one needs to face when growing a family business.

To successfully navigate these storms, you’ll need to understand and uphold the following principles.

Communication is Key

Any family therapist will tell you that communication is very important in harboring a healthy relationship, and this is especially true when running a business. Often times, involving money brings on a completely new set of rules and expectations, so you need to be sensitive about that.

Make sure everyone involved practices transparency and is equally involved in the business. Make sure everyone is working towards a shared goal and that everyone that is working at the business is kept up-to-date about everything. An imbalance of power, especially in a family business, can break it apart. Clear communication of who is the head of the business and all other practices will ensure a healthy workplace a successful outcome.

Listening is Also Important

A very important part of proper communication is listening – it’s not a one-way street. Each individual must be given the space to safely express their ideas and opinions without fear of being shut out or ignored. This empowers every employee and makes them feel like the business is truly their own – helping bring out every person’s true potential and best self.

Create and Follow Boundaries

Although everyone involved is family, when they are at the workplace, they are also business partners. They cannot expect to behave in the same way at work as they would at home. To that effect, the owners of the business need to create a clear separation of work and home – i.e. don’t make your living room your office and expect your kids to not play while you work.

Boundaries are important in the workplace, more so when there is family involved. You may have informal relationships at home – as is natural – but in the workplace, you need to respect the designated CEO as the boss. At the same time, you should be respected as an individual and your professional opinions listened to.

Be a Family First

While working as a family presents unique challenges when it comes to running a business, it also provides certain unique advantages. It’s more likely that all business partners share the same values and morals, making it easier to set goals and practices. Each person knows the other so well, ensuring them to harbor a familial and intuitive business partnership.

The love and respect shared outside the workplace will help a close-knit bond that keeps the unit from breaking apart – which can be easy to do as running a business comes with its fair share of obstacles and challenges. Be a family first; listen, communicate, understand, educate, learn, and forgive when necessary. This will help you grow individually and together.