24 Nov 5 Tips for Families That Work Together
As a family business, we understand that there are a lot of pitfalls to working with people close to you. It can be difficult to separate work life from home life, arguments can affect family dynamics, and tensions can run high when money is on the line.
But there's also the other side of running a family business. You get to work every day with the people you love most, and the business can enrich all of your lives collectively. It's something you can pass down to future generations and it's a great way to teach your children how to become successful and independent.
We've learned a thing or two over the years about running a family business. Whether you're thinking about going into business with your family or you're currently running a family business, these tips will help you get—and stay—on the right track.
Tip #1: Not Every Family Can Work Together
We don't want to suggest that every family can successfully run a business together. That's simply not true.
Some families are made for this while some are not—and that's okay! We know plenty of people who tell us they could never work with their siblings or parents. This is by no means a reflection of the quality of your upbringing or your family's character. Some families get along well and can work together—others don't. This is something you'll need to be extremely honest and transparent about if you want to go into business with your family members.
And even if your family does work well together, it doesn't necessarily mean every single family member should be involved in the business. There are many members of our family who are not involved in the business at all, and that's fine. We always suggest starting out with a few core family members and then bringing in more as you grow and as you become accustomed to working with each other.
So if you do want to go into business with your family, just think about how you'll work together. If someone doesn't want to participate, don't force them—it'll never work out well if you do.
Tip #2: Establish Boundaries
When you work with the people you live and hang out with, business often bleeds into personal life. Before you know it, it's impossible to separate work from home, and you're talking business at every family gathering.
It's important to set boundaries when you're in a family business. These will be different for every family because everyone has different ideas of what they feel is acceptable. Some families may want to keep all business talk relegated to the office, while others may be fine talking business at the dinner table.
Talk with your family members and figure out what everyone is comfortable with. Then, set clear boundaries—write them out, if you have to—and hold everyone accountable for staying within them.
Tip #3: Be Brutally Honest and Listen Closely
When you're working in business and dealing with money, things can get contentious. In a worst-case scenario, money can breed resentment and jealousy among those around you. No one wants that, especially when you're talking about close family members.
Therefore, you must be brutally honest with your family members when you're involved in a family business. When your close family members start to bottle up their thoughts and feelings, bad things happen.
If you know the Smart Real Estate Coach team, you know we're blunt, direct, and to the point. There's a reason for that. If one of us feels like something is wrong or doesn't like what's happening with the business, we bring it up right away—and the rest of us listen. We do the same thing with our Associates.
This is probably the number one reason why our family works so well together—we have no qualms about having difficult conversations or bringing up topics that might cause a stir. If you can't be honest with your family members and, perhaps even more important if you can't listen to them when they bring up issues that are affecting them… You may want to avoid a family business.
Tip #4: Find Creative Solutions
Sometimes, you may run into roadblocks while working with your family. As an example, one of our Associates was running their real estate business with a family member and got to a certain point where they needed help scaling the operational side of their business. The family member they were working with wasn't interested in helping on that aspect of the business. They weren't a good fit and they wanted no part in it.
This was frustrating for our Associate, of course, but there's no reason it needs to be a dealbreaker or cause a larger issue. We helped them create some structure in their business and hire a virtual assistant to take care of certain duties that neither of them wanted to deal with. This allowed both family members to focus on the parts of their business that they enjoyed and were best at.
Just like any business, you will come across obstacles and issues while running a family business. The important thing to remember is that there is a solution to nearly every issue you could face, and there are people—like us—who can help. The key is understanding when to reach out for help and how to creatively solve these problems in order to keep everyone happy and the business running smoothly.
Tip #5: Remember Why You're Doing This
So far, we've talked about many of the issues that might crop up when you're running a family business. But there are also so many great aspects of running a family business, and you need to always remember that. As far as we're concerned, the pros vastly outweigh the few cons.
You get to work with the people you love most, and you get to build an ideal life together. You're setting up your family's future generations for success, and you're keeping all that wealth in the family.
We love working with our family members every day, and we think you will too. If you can get past some of the pitfalls listed above, you'll be well on your way to creating a fruitful family business that will become a core part of your family for generations to come. If you and your family are thinking about starting a family real estate business, we’re your community! Not only are we a family business ourselves, but many of our Associates work with their spouses, and are always willing to offer insight when challenges arise. To learn more about our Community and if we’re the right fit for you and your family, visit our website!