By Evan Vitale
There have been many examples of successful family businesses over the years. Father starts a business and the rest of the family joins in. Even the children, as they grow up, learn the ins and outs of the business and may eventually carry on the family name and ownership of the company.
However, a working in a family business has its up and downs as it becomes very difficult to separate the business from the family. Some time to keep family-oriented things at home and keep business-oriented things at the office, store or factory.
It’s extremely difficult to separate the “family” from a family-owned business. Something happens at home and the emotions are taken to the business. Someone at the business receives a reprimand and takes it home with them. And, definitely, family members take advantage of the family business in shaving work hours, coming in late, leaving early and taking extra or extended vacation time.
A business – family or not – has been be run like a business and, when family is working at the “family” business, they should act and be treated as employees and not family members.
Still, it’s extremely difficult to separate the two.
Some of the issues that come up from time-to-time with a family-owned business include:
- Family members act one way at home and treat each other differently at work causing a conflict between family values and business values.
- Some might try to take advantage of a family business with a better salary, benefits, etc., with no regard to business growth, investment back into the company and retirement options. Some may want the money now instead of for retirement.
- Leadership situations. Who’s the boss? What happens when a family member retires? Who is taking over? What kinds of conflicts will/does that create?
- Family relationship issues, including rivalry between children and family members.
Running and working in a family-owned business can be difficult, but once everyone agrees on drawing the line between the family and the business, your company can be on its way to better success.