Pro­tect­ing fam­ily bonds

NZ Business - - CONTENTS - Glenn H Baker ed­i­tor@nzbusi­

Go­ing into busi­ness with a sib­ling or an­other fam­ily mem­ber may be re­garded as an easy thing to do. After all, you know each other bet­ter than you know any­one else. You’ve prob­a­bly lived un­der the same roof for many years.

How­ever, form­ing a busi­ness part­ner­ship with a sib­ling or fam­ily mem­ber in many ways is no dif­fer­ent than go­ing into busi­ness with a stranger. Things can still quickly go pear-shaped – and I’m speak­ing from painful per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence here.

The truth is, you still need those checks and bal­ances that are typ­i­cally put in place with busi­ness part­ner­ships. Roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties need to be de­ter­mined, so each mem­ber knows ex­actly what’s ex­pected of them. Busi­ness draw­ings need to be fairly al­lo­cated, with pay­ment re­flec­tive of re­spon­si­bil­ity. There must be a sense that ev­ery­one is evenly ‘yoked’ to the busi­ness.

Get ad­vice on this be­cause, let’s face it, if there are ever go­ing to be dis­agree­ments, nine times out of ten, money is the in­sti­ga­tor. Things can so quickly turn nasty – even when it’s just fam­ily mem­bers in­volved.

I’m not at­tempt­ing to pour cold wa­ter on the idea of sib­lings and fam­ily mem­bers go­ing into busi­ness to­gether. I’m merely urg­ing you to pro­ceed with cau­tion. Go into the ar­range­ment with your eyes wide open. As I said, there are fac­tors that can cause all sort of prob­lems for the busi­ness – but on the other hand, there is ev­ery chance that the part­ner­ship will be a great suc­cess. In fact, be­ing in busi­ness with a fam­ily mem­ber can even en­hance the ex­ist­ing bonds.

The three case stud­ies for our ‘Sib­lings in Busi­ness’ cover story are thank­fully in the lat­ter cat­e­gory. All three sib­ling pairs have found that their bonds have re­mained strong through the whole process of set­ting up and grow­ing a busi­ness.

Sure, there have been ro­bust dis­cus­sions at times – that’s to be ex­pected – but through it all, they’ve re­mained close; they’ve shared the same pas­sion for the busi­ness, and they’ve been de­ter­mined to make it work.

I hope you’re in­spired by these ex­am­ples, and, as al­ways, that you’ll find the mag­a­zine use­ful for mak­ing your own busi­ness stand out.


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