The ups and downs of a family run business

Finding a business partner can be a challenge as it’s hard to know if you’ll benefit each other without trying it. But for family-run businesses, surely it’s a win-win situation? You don’t have to have any ice-breaker meetings or spend hours trying to get to know someone.

Just go to your brother or sisters bedroom, or even mum and dads, and tell them your great business idea. It may even be an inherited business that you’re expected to take charge of. But is it as great as it sounds? 

Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, headed up by brother and sister duo Jimmy and Susie Cregan, have built their business around funky branding and fun marketing. After Jimmy travelled Australia and realised the potential for iced coffee in the UK, he decided enough was enough and he became a business owner. 

His product, which has three choices - original, skinny and decaf - is stocked in Waitrose, Tesco and Ocado to name a few. Jimmy is an advocate for family run start-ups but says it’s important to put things to the back of your mind as business success is the priority. 

Jimmy’s Pros

"Working in a family run business, there is an existing level of trust, loyalty, understanding and a shared belief in the dream which never falters and never slips. Having this installed from day one makes the goal far more achievable."

Jimmy’s Cons

"You can let personal things get in the way of business sometimes which is bound to happen when you work in a family business, but through practice and experience, you can learn to keep these outside of business and focus on the goal. It takes time to learn how to work with a sibling, but once you crack it, my word it's good."

When running a business, it’s important to have trust in those that you work with and it always helps when you know each other well. When its a case of working with your family, it’s likely that you know what makes you both tick and you’ll have the same vision for success. 

Another Smarta 100 winner, The Underfloor Heating Store, were more light-hearted with their advice. Brothers Michael and Steven Lewis overcame the difficult financial difficulties to grow their business to a multi-million-pound business. 

Michael’s Pros 

"You get to work with your family"

Michael’s Cons 

"You have to work with your family"

But it has it downfalls and both business owners agree that it's important to prevent conflict by leaving personal issues out of working hours. 

The morale of the story? Running a business with your family can have its ups and downs - as with any profession - but it could save plenty of scouting around and success would taste even sweeter.

So if you're struggling to find someone good enough to start your business venture with, maybe you're looking in the wrong place. They could be sitting next to you at the dinner table...


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