Protecting family bonds
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.