The idea of starting a business with family members is exciting. You already love each other, you have similar goals, and now it’s time to put them into practice, right? Before jumping head-first into your business plan, take the following things into consideration:
- It will affect your relationship in some way. This doesn’t necessarily mean in a bad way, but business and family dynamics are polar opposites, so when jumping from one to the other, expect changes in the way you interact with your family members. We highly recommend setting good, clear boundaries and maintaining a separate relationship outside the business to set yourself up for long-term success.
- There are great benefits. For all the uncomfortable changes starting a family business can cause, the intrinsic benefits are undeniable. Chances are, you’re already close with your family members and that closeness can aid in building a successful business. Plus, a family business allows the family to spend time together in ways they otherwise wouldn’t, creating a common purpose for everyone to share.
- Someone needs to be in charge. While communal decision-making might seem like a good idea, final decisions need to rest on one person’s shoulders. In any business, there’s going to be disagreements, and it’s important to have the decider appointed before they surface.
- Clear communication is crucial. This is true for all businesses, but in a family business, you’re literally taking your work home with you. You need clear, open lines of communication in order to nip problems in the bud and avoid building resentment toward one another. Clear communication helps maintain a welcoming, professional atmosphere that’s good for business.
- Don’t be afraid to bring in outside help. Chances are your family doesn’t have an expert in every area of business. Fill those holes—whether they’re financial, legal, economical, or otherwise—with outside help to avoid overextending family members or having them make decisions they aren’t comfortable with. A family business doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be 100% family.
It will be fun! There’s nothing more rewarding than building and operating a successful business with your family. Enjoy it!