You could be working in a family business right now… and not even know it.
Sounds like a silly statement, doesn’t it? But the reality is, many people are working with relatives in some capacity and are unaware there is support out there for them.
A ‘family business’ is defined as a business where at least two or more family members are employed in the business, and are dependent on its success.
Does your partner help with the bookkeeping? Are your kids involved in some way in your work? Are you working alongside your parents?
Then you, my friend, are in a family business!
Whether it’s just one person or the whole extended family, working with relatives can be challenging
Being a family business ourselves, we know that working with our loved ones certainly has its upsides. We can also testify to the unique challenges that can accompany those upsides!
We wrote a blog about the 4 biggest challenges being faced by family businesses. This blog focuses mainly on a family business you’ve joined or inherited.
But since we’ve already established that working with just one other family member can be defined as a ‘family business’, your business may have actually started with you. In which case, you could also be experiencing some of the following unique issues:
- You worry you’re spending too much time on admin and bookkeeping, and not enough on family life
We see this play out often in businesses where a spouse or partner is responsible for these tasks. One parent juggling business and home life can be challenging enough. As two parents working together, it can be tempting to spend all your spare time on the business. Just a little more time here… one more short task there. This can cause home life to be stressful, and lead to some serious overworking.
- You’re thinking about passing your business on to your children in the future
Whether your children are in the business already or not, you might find yourself thinking about what happens to your business in the future, and how your children might benefit. Can you make your children shareholders in the business now? Who will practically take on the business when you’re no longer able to?
- You’re struggling to juggle the personal and professional
In many situations, clients have found themselves taking on family because it appears to be more financially beneficial than employing or outsourcing. Whilst this might be the case, running a family business without rules can lead to conflicts that can cost your business far more than a salary. Balancing work and personal feelings is hard, and success depends on putting structures in place to avoid clashes or deal with them professionally.
We understand the struggle – here’s how we can help
We work with many family-run businesses in different industries, facing challenges that are unique to them, but similar to others. Here are some examples:
A Haulage and property management business move into a structure that benefits three generations (as well as those to come!)
We’ve worked with a local family haulage company for over 40 years and in that time they’ve grown a substantial property portfolio and transitioned from a father and sons company, to another father and three daughters company. We have been able to work with them over a series of meetings (and years) to navigate the change in structure for one brother to exit, and then eventually to the cessation of the trading business and move to a family trust structure that will benefit all three current generations as well as future ones.
Building confidence for a new generation of management in a family Motor Repair business
Taking over a mother-in-law’s bookkeeping is a daunting task! Especially if you’ve never done bookkeeping before. We’ve helped this company move forward through a period of education, helping the next generation get to grips with running the business (with parents looking over the shoulder and giving guidance of course). As technology starts to change the way the bookkeeping is done, both generations are learning – for the older generation, a new way of doing the books. For the new, a confidence in their ability to manage the business the way they think best.
A manufacturing company learns that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing when siblings each have their own vision
Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that siblings are often very different. That can lead to clashes in business over how to run things and which direction to go in. These kinds of clashes aren’t uncommon, and sometimes just need strategic thought. We assisted one very old family company who were planning to move one brother into a different role, allowing him to pursue a different line of business. Whilst we enabled one brother to ultimately move away from the running of the family business and the pressures it comes with, we allowed the other brother to plough ahead with his own vision of where he wanted to go.
We love getting to work with family businesses just like ours – and we’re here to help with any similar challenges you might be facing. Looking for specialist advice for your own business? Check out our family business page here to keep up to date with our most recent blogs.