How to start a family business

Running a business with your family definitely has its pros and cons. If you're contemplating starting up with a relative, this guide will help you make it a profitable and happy one.

Why run a family business?

Running a family business can be rewarding, you just need to get your ingredients right. Starting a family-run business means you'll already know who you're employing, and how to get along with them. It will also inspire younger members of the family to get involved and play a part if they can see you're building a future for them.

  • Make sure you get your ingredients right
  • You'll know who you're working with
  • Create good prospects for younger members of the family

Good family businesses

While most businesses can easily be run by families, certain types are better suited. Restaurants, newsagents, shops and B&Bs all lend themselves well to being family run. The one you choose may depend entirely on skills and experience.

  • Some businesses are well suited to a family-based structure
  • Consider your experience and skills

Making it work

While you may get on well with your brother at a family get together, running a business and working together every day could be a different kettle of fish. It's essential you choose the right family members; think about who has a similar outlook on life, and who will be easy to work with. Make sure you also consider which skills everyone can bring to the team. Be clear about the role everyone plays; this will ensure everyone knows what they're supposed to be doing.

  • Make sure you're happy to see your relatives every day
  • Think about different skillsets
  • Be clear on roles

Dealing with conflict

Running a business can make for heated discussions, especially in times of stress. This is even more heightened in a family business. Try to avoid having heated discussions and to prevent emotions running high, make sure you have rules in place which everyone adheres to.

  • Avoid emotions boiling over by keeping a cool head.
  • Discuss controversial issues calmly
  • Have a set of rules for dealing with arguments

Succession

Deciding who will be your successor in a family business can be a tricky one. It's a decision you're unlikely to make in any other type of business, so it's essential you go through your options. It's natural to want to pass your business on to your children or close relatives, but they may not be the best ones to succeed you and you could risk upsetting non-family staff by overlooking them. A family member will be a much more worthy successor if they have already worked for the business and shown potential.

  • Think carefully about whether family members are right to take over the business.
  • If you decide to let a non-family member of staff take over to explain why to avoid upset
  • Make sure staff are aware of the genuine reason for handing the reins to a family member

 

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