You have your business idea and plan ready and now it is time to start putting together your action plan. You have friends and family who are very interested and want to join on your adventure in the small business world. This brings you to a cross-roads. Can I run a business with family/friends safely and not ruin what we have? How can we make this an appropriate working relationship? What kind of dynamic needs to be in place to keep everyone on the same page.
We have all heard the horror stories and so often can be told to never mix business with family and friends. It can ruin relationships and cause tension outside of the workplace. But there are also stories of the family operated businesses that are a success and have strong healthy relationships in the workplace and outside of the workplace. Here are some great ways to do business with family and friends if you are undecided.
- Personal relationships are built on a trusting foundation as are working relationships. Ensure you have that trust with that person.
- Do not enter into a working relationship on the sole factor that you will feel bad if you say no. Saying no will cause a lot less damage in the long run then having a failed working relationship.
- Everyone is treated equally. From day one ensure everyone is made aware that the workplace has no room for favouritism. It is a good idea to include these guidelines in your job outline/code of ethics.
- Personal and work lives need to be kept seperate. As soon as you walk through the door your personal relationships/lives are left at the door. Vice versa when leaving work. Work stays at work and not brought home into your personal life.
- It is good practice if you have a few employees to invest in conflict resolution training to help everyone develop appropriate skills in managing conflict. This will create a healthy dynamic in the workplace.
It is important to take into consideration that following some of these guidelines, will not create the perfect working relationship. There are cases where business and personal dont work out and can have a very negative effect. For example a married couple in business together and their personal life takes a turn leading to divorce. In many cases that can negatively affect the business aspect. In some instances personal and business are mixed and these are things we need to take into account when going into business with those that we know.