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Going Into Business… With Family?

Would you ever consider going into business with a family member? It is being reported that since the beginning of the pandemic, more and more people are considering it.

For the owners, having a family business could lead to generational wealth and for the job seeker, it is considered an opportunity to work for a company that is usually more flexible with family-like values.

One of the most difficult aspects of a work life-balance, is drawing the line where one ends, and the other starts and we know that going into business with family members makes this a trickier subject to tackle.

Before taking the plunge, consider the following tips:

  • Know who you are dealing with

Your cousin Shawn might be your go-to when it comes to financial advice, but that does not necessarily mean they should be your business partner. Different settings bring out different sides of people.

Consider having an open and honest conversation to discuss important topics like stress management, teamwork or decision making.

Not being comfortable enough to have this conversation could be an indicator that you might not be ready to go into business together.

  • Clearly define roles, expectations and boundaries

Are they a silent investor? Will they be your direct report? Will you be managing partners? Working with family members can lead one to overstep their boundaries or even bend the rules. Defining everyone's role within the company is crucial to creating a positive work environment and essential to the company's success.

These roles should detail responsibilities and what is or isn't within one's jurisdiction.

  • Identify the added value

Whether you are looking to take advantage of the similar values or work ethic you were brought up with or have faith that your undeniable bond with your sister can easily translate into an efficient work relationship, the reasons for going into business with a family member are many.

Ask yourself how this collaboration will benefit you. In other words, what will make this partnership more successful than another one?

  • What have you got to lose?

If you are putting all your savings into this business venture and they are simply taking on a part-time role, it is safe to say that one does not have as much to lose as the other.

That does not mean that they will not behave in the utmost professional manner, but it is worth looking into.

Ultimately, one of the most important aspects to consider is the possibility of hurting or even ending a relationship due to poor communication or business-related frustrations.

If after looking into all these points you still wish to embark on a business venture with a family member, know that you can always test the waters by teaming up on a smaller project like planning a relative's wedding anniversary, doing renovations (post-covid or by following your local health and safety guidelines) or even by working together on the business plan.

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Liv Schwenzner
Liv Schwenzner
Feb 08, 2021

Very important key points, another important point I find is don't do it just to do it, let your passion guide you, you're always more successful in business when you're passionate about your product, your service, etc...

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