Do identify the strengths each family member can bring to the teamWhilst it is important to go into business with people who share the same mind-set as you, it can obviously only benefit the business if each of you has your own strengths. Both of my daughters offer completely different skill sets so it made good business sense to take them on as they could handle two very different, but important aspects of the business. I know they are both great at what they do, so it meant that from the outset I could just trust them to do an excellent job.
Do clarify roles and responsibilitiesIt’s important to be clear who does what. In the early days it was just the three of us, so it’s easy to interfere if something needs to be done not realising that someone else thought it was their responsibility. When Anna became managing director, which had been my role, we spent time with a development coach to clarify our new respective responsibilities.
Don?t be afraid of disagreementsThere will inevitably be points of friction from time to time. If you know each other very well it does not need to pose a problem. It’s perfectly possible to separate your work and personal relationship. When there are disagreements we talk about our different viewpoints and find a way forward. It’s important that you listen to each other and don’t think you either know everything or are always right.
Do things officiallyAs the team grows it’s important that you do things officially and draw up contracts for everyone. Policy and procedures that relate to holiday entitlement, pay and appraisals etc need to be applied in a fair way. Preferential treatment should not be given to family members over non-family members.
Don?t always talk shopWhen we are at work we are usually very busy getting on with our own responsibilities. Informal conversations can happen on journeys to meetings and also if we see each other socially. We have to be careful not to talk about the business all the time which can be tempting if there is a lot going on, but we try to be respectful of other family members.
Shared passion will always communicate itself to others when it comes to business with familyWhen its your family business, and you are all passionate about success, this enthusiasm tends to communicate itself to everyone,including your customers, suppliers and investors. They all understand that we are totally committed to building the business and ensuring that it is a huge success. Tricia Cusden is the founder of pro-age beauty brand Look Fabulous Forever.
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