Startup Lessons for Strong Family Business

Happiness, trouble, excitement or sorrow, it is your family with whom you share all your feelings.

Family is significant to every individual on this earth. Ignoring family for business is insensitivity but making family part of your business can be a sensible idea. You can contentedly carry out business with people whom you trust the most, after all, trustworthy partners are vital for running a business. As family remains intact forever, even your business would remain united for a long time. But as we know, every coin has two sides, working with family members can be a tricky business too. When it comes to conflicts or disagreements, the situation can be worse and resolving issues can become more difficult. Clash in business relationship may affect your personal relationship. Therefore plan wisely before commencing a family business. Just because you are working with familiar people, you cannot bungle by following informal management.

Here are some basic startup lessons to follow before commencing any family business:

Plan before you kick start:

Planning – every business does that, right? But family businesses often ignore the planning part. Possibly due to excitement or unawareness, family startups blunders, by not planning and unfortunately may face the downfall. There is a multitude of considerations you need to take into account while planning for a family business.

Don’t wait for any serious malfunction, plan ahead for smooth running of business. Planning according to the situation demands can be a tricky process. Succession planning will be necessary as the business grows and generation multiplies.

Clear communication:

Although, some of your family members are not active partners of your business, it is still essential that they should know what is going on in the business. Like any other business, communication is important in family business too, in fact it is more significant since this kind of business is mostly affected by emotions.

Not sharing the current and future scenario of the company with all the members may harm the family harmony. You are unnecessarily inviting trouble by not communicating the short and long term goals with the family. Never hide any business matter with your family cum business members. Clear communication is the bottom line for your business development.

Don’t discriminate between family and non-family employees:

It is not necessary that your family startup would only comprise of your relatives, even non-family people can be part of your organization. But when you decide to employ, non-family members, make sure that you treat all the employees equally. No special privileges should be provided for the family members or else your business will get affected. Just because the employees don’t come in your blood relationship, don’t make them feel that promotion is unattainable. Do not overlook or cover-up, if your family member commits any error, take action as you would take on any other employee.

Set boundary between work and home:

Don’t jumble between your home and office; this will have a negative impact on both the environments. Let’s face the fact, loss is a part of business thus in case of failure, don’t reciprocate it in your home. Don’t mix your office and family issues together. Discussing just few minutes about your business at home is fine but don’t spend all your time on business talks, just have family time.

Whenever any family member invests in your business, ensure if it is a gift or loan. In case of loans, describe the terms of payment clearly. Celebrating success of business at home is okay but keep the loss at office itself as it can disturb the family harmony.

Think for future:

If you respect and give importance to the present generation then do the same to the younger generation too since they are the future of your business. After you, it will be your children or the next generation who will be looking after the company, so plan for them.

If you intend to expand your business and be part of the competition, it is vital to look at the big picture. Death, retirement or your exit of family member from business should not affect the growth of business; hence creating a succession plan is quite imperative.

With immense hard work and dedication, most of small family startups have now evolved as established businesses. Family business has its own advantages and disadvantages, thus you should be watchful and drive the business in such a way that both your personal and business bond becomes strong.

Divya Mudliar
Divya Mudliar
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