Family Business: How to succeed!

Going into business with your family can be daunting, but not if you do it right! First, because this is your real brand, make it clear that you are the ultimate decision-maker in the group. Then, make sure each family member is qualified for the job, and define clear roles and responsibilities. If they’re not yet qualified, they can get some valuable work experience elsewhere before they join your team. Both my husband and I worked at other companies before starting work at Real Living. This is so important because family members are always being judged based on their relationship with the business owner—you! They’ll need that built-in credibility before they become a member of your team.

Once you’ve determined that they’re qualified, don’t allow them any special favors that would cause bad feelings among other team members. At the same time, don’t fall into the trap of holding them to a higher standard. That’s not fair either. But by far one of the hardest things you’ll have to master is to keep your personal lives out of the business. Equally hard is the challenge of keeping the business out of your personal lives. But you can do it, so, have fun!

To learn more about working with family members, listen to this podcast with Harley and I.

Business partner or best friend? Why not both?

Are you thinking about going into business with a friend? If so, begin by recognizing the fact that there could be a strain on the relationship. Then, take the necessary steps to prevent any upsets, like defining, up front, individual responsibilities. Be clear that someone needs to be in charge. Remember, this business is your dream.

Having said all that, a friend and partner can be a tremendous asset, especially if that person has talents and skills that contribute to your vision for the company. And that’s the key. Without that in place, both your friendship and your business could be headed for disaster.

So, bottom line, establish the rules before you get started. Then, together, reach for your goals!

If your significant other is your partner, the stakes are higher all around.

But when it works, there’s a unique reward in being part of a power couple.

Before you jump into a partnership with your husband or other family member, create some clear expectations for each person’s role within the company. Write them down. But even before you do, be realistic about your own strengths and weaknesses. Can your partner enhance or complement your skills? Who’s the strategist? Who’s the deal maker? Outline each person’s roles and responsibilities up front—before you get started.

Lucille Ball, determined to be a successful actress, struggled for years to achieve stardom. After marrying Cuban band leader Desi Arnaz in 1940, the couple’s private life had its ups and downs. But in 1950, Ball was offered her own televisions series, an offer she refused to accept—that is, unless her husband was hired to co-star. From 1951 to 1957, I Love Lucy evolved as the most popular show on television, and it enjoyed unprecedented success. While Ball shined in her role as the zany Lucy Ricardo, Arnaz uncovered his own talents as a television executive, and he called the shots throughout the duration of the show. This power couple learned firsthand the unique rewards associated with working as a husband-and-wife team.

The truth is, between 80 and 90 percent of all businesses are family owned. If you’re considering a business partnership, first read Life Lesson 5 in Real You Incorporated: Don’t go it alone.

Do you have insight about making business partnerships work? Leave a comment!