Five Top Tips for Running a Drama-Free Family Business

  • How to make it work
  • Keeping it separate
  • Setting up your future

Michael Godsmark,

September 6, 2018

Sharing an office with your colleagues can be tough enough at times, but when you also share DNA with them, things can get decidedly tricky.

According to the Institute for Family Business (yes, there’s an institute for that!), a massive 88% of UK businesses are family-owned, and account for almost half of all private sector employment.

While the idea of being able to leave a legacy by passing on a business to future generations is an attractive one, care must be taken to ensure you can even get to that point without falling out along the way.

Here are our tips on how to ensure quibble-free (well, almost) family business success.

 

  1. Set clear boundaries

Finding a work/life balance for anyone can be difficult, and it’s compounded when you live with those you also work with. Even if you don’t live with the family members who are part of your business, it’s important to keep work and home life separate. That means no phone calls or impromptu meetings outside of work hours, and conversely, no sibling rivalries or personal bickering in the office.

 

  1. Don’t create unnecessary jobs for family members

When your business grows, it can be tempting to reach out to members of your extended family. But bear in mind that first and foremost you need to hire the best people for the job. If you’re looking for someone to take over your marketing and your cousin’s just finished a marketing degree, then great. But creating a post for someone vastly unqualified is asking for trouble. If you want to draft in your children as they come of age, ensure you can mentor them or that they have experience in a related field.

 

  1. Keep things business-like

While one of the best things about running a business is that you get to do it how you like, never forget that you are a business! You might want to keep things casual, but some things should be treated formally. Make sure all staff members have proper employment contracts and that good records are kept at all times. At times, difficult decisions may have to be made, and what’s best for the business may not be the best for keeping everyone happy.

 

  1. Treat everyone equally

Problems can arise where there is a mix of family and non-family employees in the workplace. If you’re not careful, those who aren’t part of your clan can feel like they’re not being treated particularly favourably. Every member of staff should feel valued and be treated equally in terms of pay rises, promotions and perks.

 

  1. Don’t be afraid to seek outside advice

It can be really easy to get caught up in your own little family bubble, especially if you’re all getting on well and the business is going swimmingly. Sometimes an outsider can spot things that you can’t, or have an exciting new take on a problem you’ve been trying to deal with. Outsourcing, whether it’s a consultant, your social media output, or an accountant, can help you see things in a brand new light and push your business even further.

 

We love working with family businesses, small or large! Give us a call if you want to chat numbers.

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About The Author

Michael is an enthusiastic and cheerful individual who, when not hard at work, enjoys mountain biking, cooking curry and travelling to new places.

   @MichaelWDVLL

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