Building a Family Business Read about common struggles and how to overcome them.

Have you ever been in a family business? It’s tough, right? Well think of it this way, you’re the owner and creator of this business. You have a mix of family members and non-family employees. You are going to have some struggles along the way. Here are some of the most common struggles and how to overcome them.

Family Fracas

Your family is very dear to you, but it’s not always going to be so perfect. Usually when you work with family, you may find it hard to keep your business life and your at home life separate. When working with family, problems from home may travel with you to the workplace and make a good day turn into a bad one. Family conflicts also may cause some non-family employees to quit. These employees may quit because they may feel like they are in the middle of the family problem, which would cause them to feel overwhelmed and quit their job. Also, it’s very hard to grow your business if you are distracted by problems in your family. You may want to find a way to keep all of your problems in the family at home, or even better, don’t have them at all! Working with family can cause many problems, so you should stay clear of family conflict.

Non-family Nine-to-fivers

Non-family employees make the whole family business balance out and work. It has been said that non-family employees add some balance to the environmental necessities, but if you steer them away, you will lose that much needed balance. One of the most common reasons that cause non-family employees to quit is when they feel that they may never have a chance at getting a higher position in the business. This may happen because the spot is already filled by other family members. Sometimes that family member filling in that space isn’t even qualified for that job position, but they still get it because they are part of the family. This may keep your family safe from problems, but it will steer away those highly qualified non-family employees. Having family members as employees is great, but you need to balance it out.


Everyone wants to help their family member rise to the top by helping them get their start by giving them a job, this is called Nepotism (when people with higher power favor their relative or friends by giving them jobs). Sometimes, this doesn’t work out so well. When this happens in most family businesses, the boss may want to give all of the promotions and higher positions to their friends or family members in the business without even looking at their strengths, weaknesses and qualities for that job. Since they don’t check those things, they don’t see that there are some non-family employees that have the better qualities for that job than the family member employees. Giving a job to someone just because they are a family member isn’t fair to the non-family employees that may have better qualities than the family member employees.

This picture shows that just because this person has a family member in the business, they get to have a job.

Final Advice

Overall, if you decide when your older to start a family business, you should probably follow these guidelines:

Don’t give someone a job just because they are related to you. You should give them the job based on their qualities and ability for the job.

Try and stay clear of conflicts with other family members in the business so that you don’t make the non-family employees feel uncomfortable.

Try and keep your personal life and your work life separate.

Give opportunities for a promotion to everyone, not just your family member employees.

Don’t bring emotions into business.

As my dad, Joseph Karten (a family business owner himself) may say, “for the family to survive, the business must survive. Make choices based on good business sense, not family easy.” This means that you shouldn’t let a family member stop you from hiring the best person to do a particular job. Never let family come in the way of important business decisions.


Created with images by maxlkt - "hands teamwork team-spirit"

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