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It's A Family Affair!

We're all more likely happy than not when our businesses are supported by those nearest and dearest to us, specifically, our family members. I'll go out on a limb here and further suggest that when they are physically and emotionally present in this space, we are very heartened and deeply appreciative of that support. That is of course, unless we aren't.

And sometimes, the source of our dissatisfaction comes from the fact that our family members are directly involved in the development of our enterprise--not as mere supporters, but as employees, managers or supervisors. It therefore begs the question: Can family and business ever mix? It depends.

Granted, there is no hard-and-fast rule about direct family immersion and involvement in the daily operations of our business. Sometimes, this arrangement is amazing and mutually-rewarding; while other times, it isn't. How then do we treat with such an awkward state of affairs when family involvement leads to frustration and resentment?

Addressing this issue can be admittedly, very complicated. Unlike say a situation where we're dealing with someone who we're 'not related to', and therefore, the long-term complications might not be that significant.

Chances are with that non-relative, though it might feel uncomfortable encountering them in certain social spaces, we probably don't have to be in the same physical space we call home with that individual. By contrast, when it comes to family, it can be extremely difficult to dispense with that narrative, or even move past it. We can't realistically dismiss family. Likewise, it would not be unreasonable to suggest that feelings will be hurt, and resentment can linger for protracted periods, which might inevitably spill into other areas of family life, resulting in some members becoming estranged from others for life.

So, should we dismiss the mere thought of getting our family members involved in our enterprise? Again, there is no easy way to answer this question. Anecdotal evidence abounds about successful startups, small, medium and big businesses jointly run or operated by husbands and wives, and other family members.

Yet, the reverse is also true, as stories are also quite prevalent about how 'wonderful' a relationship with a spouse or other loved one was, until the day that they were allowed to play a significant role in the growth and development of an enterprise. Nevertheless, I still say don't be reticent and dissuaded.

In order for any business to progress, there must be a shared mission, vision and agreement on the objectives among all (internal) stakeholders. If everyone is not on the same page with your plans for your organization, it might be prudent to immediately nip that weed in the bud, and gently explain to the individual/s concerned that being part of the enterprise in that capacity might not be the best fit for them at this time. Likewise, if the reverse is true, you should do some sober, deliberate introspection and realize that things are not 'meshing' or 'gelling' with your loved ones, and courageously forfeit any further roles in the organization at this time.

Otherwise, you might want to offer or be offered a temporary, part-time volunteer role to gauge whether either of you can work together in a professional setting. If you can, great! Take that relationship to the next level. If not, also great! As now, either you or they would have acquired some skills and experience, or conversely, know what you or they cannot do.

It's always better to end on a civil note than on a bitter, frustrated note. Family or not.


LinkedIn Local Caribbean, family, business, synergy, conflict

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