In case you did not know, we are a family business. Our family members are involved in a variety of positions throughout the company. Some people are hesitant to work with their relatives because we all have heard the horror stories of Thanksgiving or Christmas being ruined by fights. So, we asked our family. “What do you think is the biggest pitfall, or mistake, that family businesses make?”
The most important issue that comes to mind is navigating different personalities. There is always danger when two people share too much or too little in common; this can lead to butting heads and explosive arguments that have the potential to break you apart. Anytime you work with family there is an intense learning curve on how to work together and prevent any personal drama from affecting the business. The solution: setting boundaries.
Our number one rule is there has to be a switch to turn off the shop talk when we meet outside of the office. This can be a hard rule to follow because we, admittedly, are workaholics, but there has to be a time to be CEO and attorney and a time for being parent and child. So, leave work for the work week! Family time should be your opportunity to get away from the stress of the job and just enjoy being together.
We have discovered another great technique to avoid a blowout is by creating designated areas of influence. It is not a walk in the park, especially for the micromanagers out there, but the boundary allows you to have separate spheres of work so you can do your job without worrying that your Dad is looking over your shoulder. Another perk is that you can work on your own, but also have someone you trust to listen to your ideas or give you advice.
The last ingredient is to have a good sense of humor; it can be particularly handy when you have overlap in customers, projects, or any other aspect of the business. You are family after all and no one understands you like your parents, siblings, children, etc.
Do not let fear get in the way of bringing family into your business! You may be missing out on a wonderful experience and opportunity to use each other’s skills. Need some advice? Want to see our family tree? Email Samantha Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quote 1: Anytime you work with family there is an intense learning curve on how to work together and prevent any personal drama from affecting the business.
Quote 2: Our number one rule is there has to be a switch to turn off the shop talk when we meet outside of the office.