Tips for Entrepreneurs & Family Businesses

Nurturing Family Entrepreneurs

Formulating a great work environment that nurtures family entrepreneurs is a complex recipe. Some ingredients just don’t mix well together, too much of one thing can throw the whole thing off. There are a million things that can go wrong and ruin a recipe. In this case we’re referring to a business. We won’t reveal Grandma’s Oatmeal Cookie recipe, but we will offer you some of what has helped us.

Businesses in this or any other industry have to start somewhere right? Most businesses start in someone’s kitchen or office with all efforts coming from an up and coming entrepreneur who at some point will need some help, and in most cases who do we first turn to for help? Family, naturally, of course.

From Entrepreneur to Family Business

For example, say you start small with one or two orders a day (you can handle that, no problem!), but then after a breakthrough you land in a bittersweet position of having thirty five orders that need to go out the next morning. You have a moment of celebration but then you think “How am I going to do this myself? How long into the night is this going to go? Should I start a gallon of coffee!?”. Then an idea pops into your head, “my sister lives just across town. I can ring her up and ask her to help bail me out of this!”. It might cost you a favor in return (that will be cashed years later). So you ring her up, you mix, she fills, you both label and box, then presto! It only took half the time and while doing this she gives you tons of ideas for future products. By the end of the night your orders are filled and you find yourself with a business partner. Not all situations are like this example, however the aspect of family entering a business is possible in so many ways.

As a family run business we experience first hand how it is a very delicate balance to keep harmoniously. Most big cat corporations stand strong on not hiring relatives, spouses, or family in general. In some cases if not handled correctly it is a wise choice to abide by. But if you have the right people and the right boundaries, you can have a team you know, trust, and can accomplish great things with.

Here are some key tips to working harmoniously with family:

  1. Keep family matters at home. Business is business, you can’t take any negativity to the work place or it creates a very uncomfortable and inefficient work environment.
  2. Eliminate any nepotism. Anyone who has had an experience with the “My aunt the state senator” from The Green Mile knows it is toxic to have any presence of nepotism.
  3. If you focus on on the same goals you can work together to reach them without the fear of offending a regular coworker. Having all eyes on the same prize can build stronger bonds and teamwork skills.
  4. Make expectations clear. Just because they are family, don’t assume that they will know what you are thinking. Keep good communication without being pestering.
  5. Carpooling if possible is a great way to save gas and cash.

It’s always important to have a strong work force. Working with family can be challenging, but if handled in the right way you can have a strong if not strongest work force out there.

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