Family businesses are a great legacy to leave to your children, grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. But things could get complicated if you let family ties run the business. We have often heard of families getting ruined over misunderstanding brought on by how to run the business.

If you are only starting a family business, itís best to have a set of rules laid down so everyone will know where the boundaries lie. To avoid having anyone feel left out, you should discuss these rules with the entire family, whether they want to be involved right now or in the future. Discuss each one and unanimously agree on the standards that will be set in motion once the business kicks off.

Family or Not, Business is Business

Just like running a regular business sans family members, a family business should be run in the same manner.

First discuss the key positions that each family member will hold. Base your decision on each oneís abilities and expertise. Treat it as if you were hiring a regular employee and not someone who shares your family name.

If youíre pooling all your resources, you should also set guidelines as to the shares that each member will hold based on their contributions, or use any basis that will be agreeable to each one directly involved.

Hiring guidelines that you have set for regular applicants should also apply to family members who wish to apply for any position in the future. Be clear about this since there could be resentments afterwards if you didnít get a cousin, an in-law or a friend of your brotherís, who really couldnít contribute anything to the company.

Salary increases should also be based on the same rules that you have set for your other employees. Again, be clear about this.

There is a common misconception that just because youíre family, you should be treated with more regard than other employees.

Business as Usual

Once you have set all your guidelines and everything is in motion, you can look forward to a happy workplace where you will be running the business side-by-side with people you love.

Family businesses can strengthen ties, create new bonds and improve relationships as you spend more time with them as compared to going to work regularly in a different office. These family businesses are also great opportunities for the family to work together towards the same goals.

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