Coping with family business challenges

There's no doubting the challenges associated with a family business. Working with the same people you see outside of work can often become a demanding and frustrating experience, especially while the business is starting out and may be going through some trying times.

In order to avoid damaging personal relationships and help give your business the best chance of success it's important that you carefully manage your family business in conjunction with your personal relationships. Here are four tips, as suggested by Entrepreneur that can help.

Work to each family members strengths

Maintaining a professional standard is vital in any business so it's important to establish boundaries and clearly define the roles, responsibilities and authorities of each family member. Lack of structure can sometimes be the key provoker of conflict so try and establish a hierarchy early on to avoid potential disagreements further down the track.

Stay professional

One of the biggest issues in family businesses is keeping personal issues separate from business issues. Family businesses are unique in this way because in most other working environments employees won't have an in depth understanding of what goes on outside of working hours.

As a result of your personal relationships it's easier to become involved in petty arguments, especially in husband and wife business teams.

Consider the generational divide differences

Family businesses often have a range of generations involved and growing up in a different era can often lead to different opinions on how the business should be run. For example, social media marketing might seem irrational to the older generation but younger generations will push for it knowing the benefits it can reap.

The main thing is that everyone in the business is sensitive to this generational gap and willing to learn about different ways of conducting business.

Separate personal and professional time

This is similar to the concept of staying professional. However, it's equally important to maintain your personal relationships outside of work. Most family run SMEs operate their business the same way they run their family which can blur the lines between their personal lives and working life.

Try to set limits on when you will discuss business decisions and even try allocating time for family only discussions - such as dinner time - that will give family members a break from thinking about their jobs.

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