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Is Working With Family Members Right for You?
  • 27 November 2017
  • Eric Michaels

Is Working With Family Members Right for You?

While you can’t choose your family, you can certainly choose whether or not you want to be in business with them. In some cases, combining these two worlds can spell trouble. But other times, introducing relatives into your business can be a great way to help bolster your enterprise.

Having trouble making a final decision? Here are some signs that working with family members could be the right path for you.


1. You already have a great relationship

The relationship you have with your business partner plays a vital role in your overall success. If you go into business with someone you already know and trust, you are at an advantage. After all, earning someone's respect and confidence normally takes time in a business setting.

Inevitably, there will be times you disagree and may even get into arguments, but as long as you have a foundation of understanding, you’re more likely to get through it without damaging the relationship. In fact, your business partnership may even strengthen your personal relationship, as you weather storms and celebrate triumphs together.

2. You want flexibility

If you need some degree of flexibility in your professional life, working with a family member can be ideal.

Oftentimes, a family member will be willing to work with you to divide up your schedules in a way that allows you each to meet your personal obligations.

When deciding whether to go into business with a family member, keep your financial needs in mind. Do you anticipate that you’ll need to take out a loan in the near future? If so, would you feel more comfortable borrowing money from a relative? In many cases, a family member may be more flexible when it comes to your repayment terms than someone with whom the foundation of your partnership is strictly financial. Just make sure you keep track of expenses and do not take advantage of the situation.

3. You understand their commitment level

Entering a new business partnership always involves some concerns. Common questions that come up include:

  • Will my partner have the same level of commitment?
  • Can I trust this person to give 100% in pursuit of our goals?

When you go into business with a close family member, you will likely know the answers to these questions. For the most part, you have a good understanding of your relatives' work ethic. Before making any moves, make sure you are confident that a particular family member offers the type of drive and commitment you need to succeed.

4. Your family is in it for the long haul

Even when you trust and respect a business partner, you can never know for sure how long that person will stay in the business. Unless you have restrictions in writing about selling a company share, anyone can exit when it is convenient to them. In fact, many entrepreneurs find this agile aspect of business ownership liberating. However, if you want to go into a business for the long haul, you might see your dream die when a partner wants to sell out.

Partnering with family members you trust can help calm your anxiety on this front and allow you to look to the long-term future of your business, together. It’s more unlikely that a relative would drop out of sight or ditch the business and expect to maintain a good relationship with you (and the rest of your family).

5. You have the ability to build a strong culture

Nowadays, businesses that don’t take their company culture seriously usually lose out against the competition. If you enter into a venture with a relative, you can make the business an extension of your family, especially if you already have a positive, established culture of your own.

Working with family members is not always a good idea, but the positive aspects make this option worth exploring. Don’t rush into anything: Before making a final decision, make sure you consider all the factors above.

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