From a Mom and Pop shop to an inherited seat on the board of a large organisation, working in the family business is often not as simple as it seems. While there are many perks to working with your nearest and dearest, there are some serious challenges as well.
If you trying to decide whether to join a family business or allow family members into yours, consider these pros and cons:
- You are building a legacy. A family business can hold deep meaning and pride for the people involved. It can bond family members and strengthen their relationships as they work to build something to leave their children.
- You can move up quickly. If you’ve worked for a while in a family business, you will be able to engage in tasks and responsibilities that others might have to wait for in larger organisations. As a family member, you have instant respect, your opinion counts, and you will probably be exposed to many hands-on experiences – these facts will allow you to move up the ranks much more quickly than in a traditional corporate.
- Loyalty and stability. Family members tend to be more loyal to a company and its goals than other employees. In a successful family business, these members are in it for the long haul and will make sacrifices to ensure that each family member enjoys security and stability.
- You might feel trapped. Working in a family business can be a lifelong commitment and you might soon feel that, even if the actual business isn’t for you, you can’t leave as you have too many ties and obligations.
- Familiarity can breed contempt. Working day in and day out with members of your family can put strain on these relationships, especially if you don’t see eye to eye on certain issues. There is so much more to lose in a stressful situation if your adversaries are your blood relations, rather employees.
- You might not rise up the ranks after all. If you are competing with other family members, you might find yourself stuck in the same position (even if it doesn’t suits your personality or skills) because the company can’t accommodate more heads or your older siblings or parents don’t want to move on from their positons of power.
If you are considering a family business, it’s important to think carefully about what it will mean to do business with your relatives every day for the foreseeable future. Will you be a stronger-than-ever entity or will things fall apart?
A parting tip? Communication and respect are the keys to a strong family business. Concerns need to be explored before they become issues, and all members should remember that the office is a work place, not a childhood playground.