It isn’t always easy to work with the people you love. It can be pull-out-your-hair frustrating, in fact. It takes serious focus to be successful together as a unit. Communication is critical, and planning ahead of time can save you from a lot of pointless misery.
When planning as familypreneurs, there are a few crucial things that should be considered.
1. Who will do what?
This needs to be handled right from the beginning of building a business, product, or service. Try not to get too detailed, and don’t plan too far into the future, as things change rapidly as you are first starting. Write it down so everyone involved has their responsibilities outlined for everyone to see. This will prevent many future misunderstandings.
2. If a disagreement arises about one’s duties, what is the process of solving the problem?
This is important because it’s is easy for one of all parties to become frustrated. They may feel like they are doing more of the work. Or, perhaps they feel that they would be better suited taking care of another part of the business. A communication system must be developed, so that emotions can be kept out of the equation as much as possible. Just because you are working with someone you have a close relationship with, doesn’t mean you can behave irrationally concerning your new venture. Yes, things happen, and we aren’t perfect, but with a predetermined system, things will go much more smoothly.
3. Can you give up your own agenda in exchange for the agenda of the whole team?
This means you don’t always get to be right. You don’t always get to call the shots. You have to be okay with giving up some control when working with your family, or anyone for that matter. Each person must be able to share their opinions openly and honestly. And there will be times when a solution cannot be agreed upon. Will you freak out if you don’t get your way? Or will you be able to gracefully submit sometimes, just as your partner(s) must do for you?
4. Will you be flexible?
There are innumerable ways to run a business, and with multiple people involved especially, there will be lots of choices to make. Sometimes a clear path doesn’t exist. It is important that all team members be willing to try different things. If one person’s idea doesn’t work, then the group can pivot toward a new direction.
5. Can you step back and look at the big picture?
Business goals will arise and evolve over time, and it’s important that everyone remains on the same page. This requires constant reevaluation of where the company is going, and why. If this is done often, the team/family bond will become stronger, because everyone is working toward the same thing.
As familypreneurs, honesty and consideration are what truly matters. Each family member must be an honest communicator, while also considering the perspective of their partner(s). It’s no easy feat, but with time and dedication, it can certainly be learned.