Starting a business with my wife and sister-in-law has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Contrary to popular belief, working alongside your loved ones can in fact be a very beneficial experience that nurtures both your personal and professional relationships, while also providing the opportunity to grow your business.
Aside from the obvious benefits of working with people that you trust and share personal values with, running a business alongside your family allows for a more welcoming environment for collaboration, idea generation and creativity.
Of course working with your loved ones isn’t for everyone, but for those wanting to move their personal relationship to a professional one, consider the lessons that I have learnt along the way.
Communication is key
Working with your family allows for clear communication channels from the get go, with there being a greater understanding of each partner’s personal expectations and the way in which they best work. Use this to your advantage for more efficient decision making, and as a way to stay on top of and manage individual stress levels.
If you are going into business with your family, you need to be professional and treat it exactly the same as working with strangers. Enlist the help of an outside party to help establish structure in the business, touching on areas including ownership, roles, expectations, inputs and individual goals. By having sessions with a business coach early on, we were able to have difficult conversations at the start of our journey and avoid confrontation later down the road.
Learn to switch off
It was initially hard to find the balance between personal and work life, and this is a common issue that many family businesses have to overcome. Make sure to put boundaries in place in your business, which includes set times for work and set times for play.