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Should Relatives Go into Business Together?

Aug 25, 2007
There are many asking if relatives should go into business together and the answer is elusive for many reasons. Depending on how closely related they are and how close they are personally can have a direct effect on their ability to work together as equal partners in a business. Different people have different personalities and the person with the most dominant personality will end up being in charge, whether planned or not, which can cause friction when running a business together.

If the relatives have known each other a long time and are well acquainted, they should already know who the stronger of two is, but in a business managing by intimidation is never a good performance standard. Before entering the business climate, they have to talk through the good and bad of being in business together, knowing that if they end up unable to work things out it will now only wreck a friendship, but can cause discord within the entire families with people taking sides in any dispute. However, they will still be related when it is over.

Being in a business as a "family" may have worked for the so-called mob, but in that scenario there was a firmly entrenched order and violations of that order had very swift and severe consequences. Not the management flow chart that operate a successful business. If persons hoping to go into business together cannot agree on the basics of who will be in charge of what, then the answer is no, relatives should not go into business together,

Family members with similar personalities often find themselves unemployed and view going into business together as a viable means to support their families. Understanding the strengths and weakness of both, they can use that to establish a management chart to determine who will be in charge of what aspect of running the business. They may also find there are portions of running the business with which they have no experience and may need another person to help fulfill those needs.

By sitting down and outlining the needs of starting a business and what each person can bring to the business table, they will be better prepared to deal with any issues that arise with being related in operating the same business. There will be conflicts as there are in any business relationship, but the fact they are related should never enter any business-related discussion. Additionally, there must be the attitude of what happens at work stays at work. Complaining to the spouse or other family members can lead to inner-family arguments that probably are not worth fighting over in the first place.

One of the biggest problems faced when relatives are in business together may be in scheduling. When there is a family function, both people will most likely want to attend and as owners of the business should not be a problem, but there may be times when the needs of the business require one to be available, the need to work out who will go and who will work may rock the relationship boat.
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