The Key to Running a Successful Family Business

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The family business is a greatly cherished concept, and one which has kept communities alive for generations. From market traders to inspired sibling collaborations in the private sector, family businesses represent potential – but running a successful one isn’t as easy as it looks.

Whether you are a landscaping business in Liverpool or a rare books dealership in Ramsgate, the keys to running a successful family business are much alike; what are some of the more important considerations for keeping your family business successful?

1. Dividing Roles And Responsibilities

First, everyone in your business needs to understand their role perfectly. You will all have different strengths, and you should play to them where possible; this is what makes good family businesses all the stronger. In dividing up your business’ roles and responsibilities, make sure to do so in an equitable way!

2. Financial Management

Your business’ financial dealings are the difficult part, as with any business. Managing debt obligations, tax obligations, payroll, cashflow, invoices, credit agreements, overheads… Each one is another ball to juggle, and dropping any one of these balls could be catastrophic.

If you have an arithmetician in the family, all the better – but some things are best outsourced, especially if no one member of your family wants to risk the business on their own experience. With this in mind, retaining accountants to manage your business’ numbers on your behalf can be a relieving path of least resistance.

3. Instilling Family Values

Naturally, family values should be at the centre of everything you hope to achieve in your business. Whatever the industry, you should never lose sight of the family code that guides your early decision-making. The same values that worked for you at home could work for you at work, and help guide you towards successful opportunities that genuinely benefit everyone.

4. Nurturing A Healthy Work-Life Balance

You more than anyone should understand the importance of respecting your family’s time, so make sure that everyone is pulling their weight such that no one is pulling too much. A no-questions-asked approach to time off, and a no-work-conversations-at-the-dinner-table rule, can make working together much more harmonious and special.

5. Establishing Clear Lines Of Communication

In order to properly enforce communication boundaries, it is important that you all settle on ideal lines of communication for business-related conversations. One of the better ways to manage this is by establishing a work-only messaging platform, whether on an app like Slack or via a cloud-collaboration project management document.

Regular in-person meetings are also a great idea, even if only to clear the air over potential disagreements. In the end, the most important part of the family business is the ‘family’ part, so make sure not to forget your priorities as you move to grow your business together.

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