Running a family business still has a negative stigma but it doesn’t really deserve the bad press it receives as they are some of the most successful around the globe.

With people pictured arguing with their siblings or parents, getting the balance right when running a family business can be difficult but it can also be rewarding.

As family businesses have proven all over the world, running a company with relatives can be one of the most productive ways of working thanks to an underlying trust and mutual respect.

The strong sense of community in a family business is one that just can’t be beaten as everyone is in it altogether.

Getting this dynamic working relationship just right is a fine art so here are some key rules to help you on the way:

Set Some Boundaries.

Setting boundaries are essential to success when relatives are involved. Without them, the lines between business and family can become blurred.

This can lead to a number of counterproductive scenarios, which can seriously affect the working atmosphere.

May seem obvious, but having a clear stance on how related colleagues behave, with one another, can be the difference between a cohesive team and an unruly rabble.

Define And Divide The Roles And Responsibilities

Another effective way to avoid conflict when running a family business is to give each a definitive set of roles and responsibilities.

Stepping on people’s toes at work never ends well, and tensions can get particularly high when relatives are involved.

But if everyone knows exactly what they should be doing, and who to turn to should they need a hand, things run a lot more smoothly.

Treat Your Family Members / Colleagues Fairly

Considering the close relationship with them, there may be a temptation to treat family members more favourably when it comes to things like progression.

On the flip side, it can also be easier to be unfair with relatives who rub you up the wrong way.

Avoid letting your relationship with a family member taint your behaviour towards them in any way.

Unfair treatment in the office can cause resentment between colleagues, driving morale and productivity down in the process.

Keep Family And Work Life Separate

Switching off from work can be difficult. Even more so when you’re surrounded by your colleagues at home as well as the office.

But it’s incredibly important to keep family and work life as separate as possible, for the sake of everyone’s wellbeing.

Seek Outside Advice

If your entire team are family members, it can be like living in a bubble at times.

Turning to outside sources for advice on a regular basis can give you some real perspective and keep you on the road to success.

Depending on your situation, you could hire an advisor or bring in people from outside of the family to work in key senior positions.

Consulting with professionals from other like-minded businesses is one of the best ways to learn new ways of thinking, and will encourage you to step back and look at your operations from a more objective point of view.

Post By: Alison Dearden, Director, Alison Handling