For many Americans, running a family business is the ultimate dream. What’s not to like about spending extra time with loved ones, working toward collective personal and financial goals, and getting to be your true self – all while watching your family’s dream flourish?
But family businesses aren’t always sunshine and rainbows. Rivalries, hurt feelings, and differing opinions on how the business should be run can cause family-led companies to crumble and relationships to become strained. So how can families avoid these hurdles and achieve business success? All it takes is sticking to some basic principles:
- Communicate. When you’re involved in a family business, it’s all too easy to fall into a vicious cycle of assuming that your family members know you better than anyone and should therefore understand exactly what you want. This often leads to frustration and disappointment when delivery comes up short – which it will. Bolster communication within your family business by holding regular meetings where active discussion is encouraged. If there isn’t an ongoing conversation about what needs to be done and all of the what/where/when/why/who/how behind it, then your business simply won’t be able to be at its absolute best. Tip: when you speak to a family member, pretend you’re speaking to a non-family business partner. This will ensure open and clear communication among all parties.
- Use Constructive Criticism. Harsh criticisms can lead to bruised egos and low morale. Instead of putting family members down when their performance isn’t up to snuff, try offering constructive, helpful advice.
- Treat Employees Equally. Many family-led companies have several non-family employees involved in the business. In order to avoid discord among the masses, treat all employees equally. It will only breed jealousy and resentment if you make concessions for your family members but not for your other employees (or vice versa!).
- Leave it at the Office. Although it can sometimes feel impossible not to talk shop around the dinner table, try your best to leave everyday stresses at the office. Set aside time with your family members for fun activities like sporting events, meals out, and holiday get togethers. This will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance, all while strengthening your family’s bond both inside and outside of the workplace.
- Prioritize. Keep in mind that family relationships are always more important than business disputes. Don’t allow a difference in opinions to spark a bitter rivalry between members of your family. Sometimes it helps to take a “just let it go” approach and realize that in that particular battle, there can’t be – or won’t be – a winner. Dragging disagreements on and on will only cause injury to your personal relationships with the people you love most.
Want more insight from one of Weed Man’s own?
Chase Hillenmeyer recently spoke with Franchise Business Review about running a five-generation family landscaping business and multiple Weed Man franchises with his father and brother. Find out how they make it work by clicking HERE.