Running a Successful, Drama-Free, Family Business

Imagine a world where there is no drama on TV networks, multiplex movies, or performing arts centers. While that world would be monotonous, your family business should be drama-free!

Even when there are no family members involved, running your own business is difficult. When family members are involved, though, the difficulties can rise enormously.

It's not all sunshine and rainbows when you're working with relatives or friends. However, if you can get past the drama and personal feuds, operating a family business can be rather gratifying.

90% of family companies fail to pass down to the third generation. Family businesses have challenges for a variety of reasons, including personal and professional conflicts, poor recruiting practices, and a general lack of interest from one generation to the next.

Then there's the emotional turmoil. Many families already struggle to get along without having their livelihood and assets tied to community decisions. Typical issues in strategy and operations management in "regular" organizations are dwarfed by problems with family relations.

But if you put personal drama and strife aside, running a family business can be immensely rewarding.

If you run a family business, you'll need to take extra precautions to avoid burnout, maintain workplace harmony, and seek counsel from professionals outside the family.

What steps can a family business practitioner take for peace while running a family business? The full answer will be discussed in the article below

Read: Kintsugi - Japanese art of repairing broken pottery for your Family Business

Family drama and businesses

Some family business owners cope with power battles among family members, while others fight to stay on the same page and treat everyone equitably in the family firm.

There's also the issue of staff who aren't completing their tasks properly. “The biggest drama would be that jobs and roles can sometimes be forgotten, and anybody believes they're the new boss,” one small business owner said.

Many family business owners have a hard time distinguishing between business and personal problems. “We try to set a rule that there is no business discourse at home,” one small business owner says. If we do, there will be a certain day and time made aside for it. It's difficult.”

“The biggest issue I've encountered with family businesses is the inability to transfer roles,” said another respondent. Your role at work is very different from your role at home, and this needs to be made clear in many cases.”

It's also difficult to clock out for the day when you run a family business. “I have a hard time leaving work for the day,” one small business owner admitted. I'm still trying to strike a decent balance.”

Do you agree with some of these points? Take a look at these suggestions for running a family business while avoiding the controversy.

1. Assign specific roles

In your company, both family and non-family people play a significant role. Designate and convey roles to ensure that everyone's responsibilities are crystal clear.

Verify that all members of your family and staff are aware of their roles and expectations. Create an organizational chart with your pen and paper, outlining the responsibilities of each family member. There will be no misunderstanding about each member's job in the company this manner.

Based on their skills and abilities, place the best people in the greatest positions. Aunt Kelly's belief that her son should take over as customer service manager does not imply that he has the necessary expertise or skill set.

To avoid short-term conflict and disappointment, it's simple to place family members in desired jobs. However, not every family member is capable of performing particular tasks.

Keep your options open when filling roles in a family-run firm. There could be superior talent out there who can contribute more.

Read: Improving Family Business Communication

2. Create a succession strategy

Your family business has been built on a lot of blood, sweat, and tears by you and your kin. But what happens when it's time to hand over the reigns to someone else? Create a succession plan to help your company plan for the future.

Succession is a problem for 40% of businesses in the United States. Unfortunately, if you don't have a plan in place, your company may not be able to survive.

According to another report, 70% of family-owned enterprises fail when they pass down to the next generation. Don't allow your mom-and-pop shop become a statistic.

Ask yourself questions such, "Who has the potential to head my company?" as you create your succession plan. What kind of owner and leader does my company require?

In most cases, succession planning is not a do-it-yourself project. Many businesses use a small business lawyer or a CPA to assist them create a strong plan. Consider enlisting the assistance of a business specialist.

Regularly revisit your strategy to maintain information current, especially when succession occurs.

3. Make Time For Your Family

Running a business may be difficult, especially when you're doing it with your family. It's possible that your patience will run out. You may also notice that you spend more time bickering than agreeing.

During difficult times, engage in enjoyable family activities.

Despite the fact that you manage a business together, work should not be your family's major priority 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Make time outside of work for your family. Participate in activities that can help you bond and de-stress. Take in a film. After work, go out to eat. Have a picnic with your family. Do whatever it is that you and your family enjoy.

While expanding your small business, form a team and have fun doing it. And keep in mind that you're all on the same team.

4. Deal With Workplace Drama

You've probably heard the expression, "Save the drama for your mommy." In this instance, you should keep the drama at home.

Allowing resentment to flow over into the workplace is not a good idea. Keep office drama to a minimum for the sake of everyone's well-being. Personal and family matters should not be discussed at work. Have a plan in place to defuse the situation if it becomes heated.

Now, I'm not claiming that you'll have no workplace drama. Whether your company is family-owned or not, you'll have to put out certain fires from time to time.

I experienced with workplace drama when I established Patriot Software, which specializes in accounting and payroll software. One of my employees threatened to beat up another, and another set fire to a laundromat.

And do you want to know what I've learned from these kinds of encounters?

Yes, you must deal with disputes. But don't dwell on them after you've dealt with them. Now is the time to move on.

5. Delegate Power to Non-Family Members

In order to strike a balance between family unity and economic success, enlist the support of non-family members to keep everyone in line.

As previously stated, family drama is a certain method to ruin your company. Give someone else authority to avoid turmoil and keep things neutral.

Assign a mediator if you have a non-family employee you trust. Have a non-family employee step in whenever the family dynamic interferes with business activities.

Read: Sibling Rivalry in Family Business


Family-owned enterprises should keep one thing in mind: it's not worth risking connections and your company's success in the long run.

You can only have so much family, after all. If you want to avoid workplace trouble with family members, talk it out before things get out of hand. Also, avoid bringing personal matters into the job.

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