How to Manage a Business with your Family

There are many benefits to running a business with family, but there can also be some challenges. As with any regular business, there may be conflict relating to differing personalities, management styles, and work ethics. Small business franchises usually benefit from mutually-interested familial involvement. Although the intention behind a family-run business will usually be for the greater benefit of all involved, there can be various challenges that require careful navigation to ensure a well-run company with satisfied staff all around.

1.      Have a plan - If you’re wondering how to open a franchise, chances are you are going through a process of business planning. This involves developing a business strategy, stipulating relevant employees you will need on your payroll, and determining various roles and responsibilities. If you are going to hire family members to fulfill certain duties within the company, it is important that you know what it is they are going to do. It’s essential that you start with what you need and work from there, rather than creating roles to suit your family members’ talents.

2.      Document everything - This is a crucial aspect to running a business with your family. Members of staff who are related to you should also have the necessary employee documentation that all other staff will receive. This means that each member of staff, be they family, management or otherwise, needs a letter of appointment detailing roles and responsibilities. If leave is taken, it must be documented. In addition to this, annual or bi-annual performance reviews should be conducted to ensure that everyone is performing optimally. After all, you cannot complain if a certain staff member is lagging on his work if you are not documenting targets and performance reviews for a family member in a similar role.

3.      Bridging the gap - Ensure that you do not create a divide between family and non-family staff members. This is highly likely to cause a discord between staff when they feel that family members get special treatment, inside information, and benefits that aren’t available to other staff. Your goal should be to keep staff morale up without them feeling like they won’t be liable for promotions because they aren’t a part of the family.

4.      Be honest - Even if you are running a small business franchise with minimal staff, it is important that you are always honest with everyone. Do not try and fool non-family employees by not telling them that you are related to certain members of staff. Open and honest communication is critical to the successful running of a business of any size!

5.      Don’t mix the two - Do not mix family issues with work issues. If you have a problem with a family member that is related to your personal lives, try not to let this overflow into the working environment. Keep things professional to ensure that the lines between business and family do not become blurred. This also means that when you are attending a family function, you need to be mindful not to spend hours talking about work. Create a segregation of what kind of conversation belongs where, and when.

6.      Be fair - Just because your great-aunt told your second-cousin that you are running a small business, it does not equate to bevvies of jobs being thrown around to anyone willing. Be clear and concise about what kind of skills are required for each position, and although you can be accommodating and reasonable, it is best to assertively interview people for various posts within your business, even if they are a family member.

Above all else, keep in mind that it is incredibly rewarding to work with family. If you come across a small business franchise opportunity and are able to recruit family members that you trust, then go for it! By keeping things professional, respectful, honest, and well-communicated, you can ensure that your entire staff is happy and of high morale.



Determined to improve on the lack of resources for seniors in his community, Michael Newman founded Franchise with Always Best Care in 1996 in Sacramento, California. Since then, Franchise with Always Best Care has been one of the nation’s leading providers for assisted living placement services, non-medical in-home care and skilled home health care in selected markets for seniors. In 2007 they began franchising, and now provide senior care services through a network of more than 180 franchised units throughout the USA with recent expansion into Canada.