Is Your Business a Family Affair?

DavidJacksonDavidJackson subscriber Posts: 143 Silver Level Member
edited April 2009 in Marketing
Many small business owners have members of their immediate family or relatives helping them with their business.
 
What about you, and if so, what are their individual roles?
 
David Jackson
DavidJackson4/5/2009 8:51 AM

Comments

  • MattTurpinMattTurpin subscriber Posts: 22
    I`m looking to keep family separate from business. I`m afraid issues of pay could complicate things. I also shudder at the prospect of possibly having to terminate the employment of a relative. So much potential for disaster. I`d rather my family just come as patrons for covert discounts.
  • DavidJacksonDavidJackson subscriber Posts: 143 Silver Level Member
    I`m looking to keep family separate from business.  So much potential for disaster.
     
     
     
    I`m with you on that one. Although, I do help my sister with her marketing from time to time, that`s pretty much the extent of any family involvement.
     
    David Jackson
  • DavidJacksonDavidJackson subscriber Posts: 143 Silver Level Member
    David, Great post.
     
    Thank you, Ultraluster! It should be interesting to hear about other members experiences.
     
    David Jackson
  • DavidJacksonDavidJackson subscriber Posts: 143 Silver Level Member
    Communication is the key, IMHO.
     
     
     
    Heather, sometimes it goes far beyond lack of communication. Sometimes, family/business relationships are just like oil and water. For whatever reason, they just don`t mix!
     
    I`m not saying they never work. I`m just saying, they often don`t.
     
    David Jackson
  • DavidJacksonDavidJackson subscriber Posts: 143 Silver Level Member
    Many people are like oil and water, yet, like a good emulsion, family binds them together. Of course, this is all in *MY* personal experience. I know many don`t do as well, and possibly for different reasons. *smiles*
     
     
     
    Like you said, that`s your personal experience and I`m happy that your situation went well.  Unfortunately, I`ve witnessed the other side of the coin, where things didn`t work out and relationships were permanently damaged.
     
    Again, I want to emphasize, I`m not saying that mixing family and business never works. I`m just saying it often doesn`t.
     
    David Jackson
  • mia310mia310 subscriber Posts: 2
    In my parents` business, the tasks are assigned like this:
     
    Dad - day-to-day operations
    Mom - accounting
    brother-deals with distributors/clients
    me - where ever I`m needed. 
     
    From what I`ve observed in my parents` business, the family business has worked quite well.  I have found that each person`s set of skills complement one another`s.  My mom is good with numbers, while my dad is calm and relaxed which makes it easy for him deal with the daily operations and whatever problem that comes up.  My mom, on the other hand, is just the opposite.  She becomes irritable and annoyed when things don`t go according to plan. 
     
    My parents are Chinese-Filipino immigrants. Like most Chinese immigrants the world over, they set up the business with the goal of  providing their children food, clothing, shelter and a good education.  And they always reminded us of this when we were children, that they were doing all of it for us kids.   As a result, it becomes a team effort to achieve those goals and more.  My brothers and I would help out during our spring and summer breaks because it was just hard  watching your parents work 7 days, 15-18 hours/day.  The family business has always been one of the keys to the economic success of the Chinese diaspora in whatever country they settle in.  Frugality and hard work are the other keys.
     
    My brothers and I grew up in the nice part of L.A. and we were able to go to good colleges.  My parents now want to retire and sell the business since they`ve now achieved their goals.  As soon as this economy gets better,  we plan to go on a family vacation.  This will be our first one. Like many Chinese-American families, family vacations were simply out of the question because there was always work to be done.
     
    As for myself, my family will not be included in my business plans.  I`m far too emotionally  dependent on them.  I want to see how I`ll fare on my own on my own terms.   And, it can be quite suffocating to see your family both at work and at home.    They`ve been supportive of me.  My parents asked me to move back in so that my rent money can go into my starup fund. In exchange, I help out at  their shop.
     
    Mia
     
     
    mia3104/10/2009 12:18 AM
  • DavidJacksonDavidJackson subscriber Posts: 143 Silver Level Member
    Mia, thank you for sharing your story with the forum!
    That`s what I call a "real" family business!
     
    David Jackson
  • DavidJacksonDavidJackson subscriber Posts: 143 Silver Level Member
    My brother and I have been in business together for 10 years now.  Before he retired we also worked with my dad.  It has not always been the same business - we have been through a career change together.  I couldn`t be happier. 

     
     
     
    I love these kinds of stories!
     
    David Jackson
  • sunshinegirlsunshinegirl subscriber Posts: 3
    My whole family is involved in my business. Although I am the primary owner (idea person, business planner, etc), everyone plays a part. My husband works a different job full-time but does most of my IT work. My mom works for me full-time remotely from another state. She works with merchants to secure coupons and special promotions. My daughters are young but even get into the mix by helping stuff envelopes and making video reviews of products we sell. And my best friend works for me as well.
     
    I`m not saying that it is easy. There are conflicts sometimes. But my mom and I are closer now than we have ever been. We meet up in fun cities like Vegas and New York for conferences. We talk on the phone every day. She`s been working with me for over two years now and it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made.
  • DavidJacksonDavidJackson subscriber Posts: 143 Silver Level Member
    My whole family is involved in my business.  I`m not saying that it is easy. There are conflicts sometimes. But my mom and I are closer now than we have ever been. We meet up in fun cities like Vegas and New York for conferences. We talk on the phone every day. She`s been working with me for over two years now and it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made.
     
     
     
     
    That`s fantastic, Sunshinegirl! Thanks for sharing!
     
    David Jackson
  • sunshinegirlsunshinegirl subscriber Posts: 3
    How does this explain family owned businesses that have been around for decades? Sons who join their fathers` businesses? Husbands and wives that own stores and restaurants together? A number of the businesses in my town that have been around the longest are the ones that are "family owned and operated."
     
    I think working with friends is more of a challenge than family because you can end a friendship easier than you are willing to give up a family relationship. So I agree that a lot of times friends will jump into a business venture with ideas. But I think parents and adult children, husbands and wives, etc. can build the strongest foundations for companies.
  • DavidJacksonDavidJackson subscriber Posts: 143 Silver Level Member
    But I think parents and adult children, husbands and wives, etc. can build the strongest foundations for companies.
     
     
     
    Sometimes. But I`ve also seen those kinds of relationships turn into the most toxic of all. When it works, it works well. But when it goes bad...
     
    David Jackson
  • DavidJacksonDavidJackson subscriber Posts: 143 Silver Level Member
    I think some of the successful business ventures mentioned are the exception and not the rule.
     
     
     
     
    txwebman, it`s not always that cut and dried. While I personally don`t think it`s a good idea to mix business and family, I`m open-minded enough to realize it can and does work for some families.
     
    David Jackson
    DavidJackson4/25/2009 2:31 PM
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