5 Steps To Master Working Relationships in a Family Business

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If you are trying to successfully build a family business in today’s competitive business environment you cannot play it safe and hope your working relationships with your family members will just simply work out in practice! You may trust your family members wholeheartedly, however along the way there will undoubtedly be challenges that you need to overcome. Who is the decision maker? How to allocate responsibility? Is everyone pulling their weight? are just a few questions you will need to answer in a family business. In this article, Brookman Solicitors reveal the most annoying habits families’ experience in family businesses, based on a recent relationship survey*, alongside five steps on how to guarantee your business thrives by mastering family working relationships.
 

So, what are the most annoying habits in family businesses?

With 74% of survey respondents admitting they have experienced a troubled point during the relationship, imagine how much of an increased strain working in a family business or with your partner can have on relationships. Mixing business with pleasure should be embarked on with caution! If you are considering starting a family business or run one already then take note of the top most annoying habits that were revealed in the survey.  The top bad habits ranged from a failure to communicate effectively, a failure to manage money, selfishness, poor hygiene and an obsession with technology. If you want your family business to thrive you need professionalism to be prioritised in order to prevent these annoying habits influencing the chances of your business succeeding.
 

Here are 5 steps to master working relationships in a family business:

 

Schedule regular meetings & always communicate!

Brookman Solicitors’ recent relationship survey* revealed that in fact a failure in communication was one of the most annoying habits in relationships! Therefore in a family business it is very important you master the art of communication. Scheduling regular meetings will help solve any miscommunication and ensure everyone is heading for the same goal. This will also prevent any duplication of work which could cost your business valuable time and money. Keeping such business conversations within the workplace in allocated meeting times will prevent business talk infiltrating into your free time at home, which indeed can put an unbearable pressure on your family relationships as you are unable to take a break from work and switch off.

 

Establish strengths & allocate roles

As managing money is a top issue in relationships, establishing family member’s strengths and allocating roles appropriately will help keep your business’s finances and accounts in check. The person in your family who is more financially savvy should be managing the accounts and the person more people-orientated should manage the customer-facing side. The main benefit of a family business is how well you know each other, you know instantly which member involved has which strengths and can play on this to your advantage.

 

 

Compromise

In every business people have different agendas or ideas and this can certainly come into the forefront in family businesses, many individuals have less of a filter with family members and emotions can easily become heightened. It is important to put things into perspective when making decisions, not be selfish and compromise if your family business will work out  long term. Importantly, if you have one family member that is more influential than the others it is crucial they do not dictate every decision, everyone should agree that the decision is right for the business. Otherwise, tensions may start to bubble under the surface which can build up to an eruption which could have devastating consequences for your business, especially if tensions surface in front of a customer.

 

Don’t make allowances just because they are “family”

If a member is not pulling their weight or are pushing their luck in the business you cannot turn a blind eye just because they are “family.” As once that individual is aware that they can take advantage with no repercussions for their behaviour due to the family connection, their dedication to the business and their role will decrease substantially, impacting on the business. This will put added pressure on others in the business who have to pick up the slack as well as demotivate other employees not related to the family who see a case of preferential treatment, further decreasing the business’s productivity. As aforementioned a bad habit in relationships is an obsession with technology, therefore it is important ground rules are set in your business as to when anyone is allowed to use their mobile phone or social media whilst at work.

 

Be patient and respect each other

Your family are too important to fall out with over a business decision which is why being patient and having respect for each other is key in a family business. Respect the roles your family members have and do not step on someone else’s toes. Be patient and do not expect instant results and reactions from family members as this is unrealistic in practice.