One very popular and long-standing way of running your own business is by taking over the reins of a well established family concern. Family businesses tend to be controlled by various members of the same family, and in many cases have been handed down from one generation to the next over a period of many years.
There are a lot of advantages to owning a family run business, as well as a number of issues that need to be considered so as to avoid conflict at home and at work. One of the advantages of being a part of a family run business is the fact that you and your family are more likely to share common values and a similar ethos on how to go about running the enterprise. It also means that everyone involved will feel a much stronger sense of commitment and responsibility to the business than an employee would normally feel toward a business where he or she is just another cog in the machine.
Family members are more likely to be willing to put in extra hours, and to appreciate the necessity when you are obliged to do the same. This can also be a help during tougher times – family members being much more likely to accept lower or deferred wages from a family business than would any other employee. Loyalty can be a strong factor in business, and given that there are few bonds stronger than family loyalty, this can usually result in a very strong business.
Of course, it is not all sunshine and roses. Conflict will inevitably occur in the business at some point, and you need to know how to deal with it so that it does not end up causing serious damage to family relationships; likewise you need to be sure that family tensions do not impinge on work. One of the advantages of a family run business – that sense of stability, and of knowing that you are providing for future generations of your family as well as your immediate one – can be a double edged sword, as it can result in a feeling of complacency and reluctance to adapt to change.
When setting up a family business, shares need to be allocated, and the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved need to be clearly delineated from the very beginning. Good communication is often said to be a key factor in a successful business; it is even more vital to a family run organisation.
Open discussion is the best way to avoid some of the potential pitfalls when your family members are also your colleagues, employees and maybe even your boss. Emotional issues must be kept separate from business issues, and family members must all be aware of this from the beginning.
A family constitution is often a good idea to establish boundaries between home and work. A constitution is a general declaration of principles, to establish the goals of the business, and the way family members are expected to act in relation to the business.
If handled correctly, a family run business could be a highly successful venture that could last for generations to come.
By Hans from Pixabay