Running a Family Business Successfully

How to Run a Family Business –  Smarter and Happier

The majority of new companies started in America are by families.  Brothers, sisters, husbands and wives, fathers and sons are the most common type of business partnerships in the United States.  Family-run businesses are amongst the most successful and also the most stressful types of businesses.

They are unique challenges and benefits of starting a family business.

To run a family-owned business profitably and to maintain loving relationships require preparation, patience, and understanding.

If you want your business to be passed on to your next generation of children and your grandchildren, you need to build it correctly from the start.

The 1st phase of startup, for all businesses, especially for family partnership businesses is the most critical. Many family members will want to get involved in the fun part of starting a business but often they do not understand all the hard work involved long-term.

Be very clear up front about salaries, exit plans, business loans, and other details about your entrepreneurial venture to all involved family members. Many family-run business problems could be avoided by clarifying expectations and having honest discussions often.

Many family-run business problems could be avoided by clarifying expectations, of all owners and having honest discussions often.

These tips for running a family business are based on based on interviews with successful entrepreneurs.
Kabbage puts cash in your PayPal account in less than 10 minutes

Better Ways to Run a Family Business

Business Focus

It is a mistake to put too much emphasis on the family and not enough focus on business matters. Some correct business decisions may not meet with all of the family member’s approval. Be aware that these situations will arise and be prepared.

Communication is Key

Don’t assume that because you are closely related, all the employees of the business don’t need to communicate formally. In fact, it may be more important to set up weekly business meetings to discuss goals, conflicts, and your plans.

Team Roles

Clearly, define roles of each owner and employee by having a written job description. Assigned specific individuals their responsibilities and don’t overlap with other family members jobs.

Boundaries for Separation

It is important for families to segment time for business aspects and time for being a family. Make a point to curtail discussing business outside of the office or factory. This is not easy, instead, add those items to an agenda for a formal business meeting.

Fair Treatment for All

It is inevitable that you will hire family and non-family workers in your firm. The cost-saving labor of family and the high level of trust built many of the great family businesses of today. However, be sure not to give favor to your family members be sure that salaries, promotions, scheduling and job appraisals are the same for both family and non-family employees. This means that you will not set higher or lower standards for your family.

Written Agreements

Misunderstandings between partners, whether family members or not is one of the top reasons for conflict and business failure. Avoid this problem by clearly delineating, in writing, the compensation, ownership portions and job roles for each family member.

No Sympathy Jobs

Never hire your kids, or other family members, out of pity for their situation of joblessness. All jobs should be filled based on the skills and experience needed for your company.

Hire Experts

Since a close-knit family works together, it can sometimes be hard to make tough choices.  Hire outside professionals who have greater knowledge and new ideas that can help clarify important decisions. Additionally, outside consultants can communicate well, those difficult subjects with your family because of their lack of emotional involvement.

Next Generation Plan

All family businesses must have a formal, written succession plan at the ready. Everyone will die. Your family firm needs to be prepared and ready to act during this time of grief.  All proper plans detail the exact way the business will be passed to the next generation. Considerations for both the financial health of the business and the retiring owners will be given. Professional legal advice for plan development is highly recommended.Get knowledgeable legal help at great prices –

Train the Next Owners

if your children will be the next manager-owners. Be sure to get them trained properly in business by having experience working outside of the family business for at least 3 years.


It is difficult to start a business, and even more so with the emotional involvement of family relationships. However, businesses run by families have many pluses over other types of businesses – a group of people deeply committed to the success of your firm.

Family business startups need to take extra precautions to steer clear of owner burnout and maintain good relationships with the family.


Get great new business ideas for 2017: Try the Startup Idea Generator

Quickbooks Online: Accounting Software Small Business

Dashboards: Take the Pulse of Your Business


Best Business Accounting: Quickbooks – 51 Reasons Why


Small Business Blog by 

Hi - I am a serial entrepreneur, after doing "time" in corporate America, who has learned about what products and services work well for entrepreneurs who want to start a business. You can learn from my experience and my associates as we shop from the internet for tools, supplies, and information to build our businesses and improve the lives of our family and ourselves. Read more ...

Start a Business

See All >>