Launching a family business is a noble goal, and it comes with great benefits. You set your own hours, you get to be your own boss, you can work at home, and you spend more time with the people who are most important to you. However, a family business can also have many pitfalls. You've merged your work life with your home life: family and business. If the family suffers, the business suffers, and vice versa. Finding the right work and life balance can contribute to having a successful family business.
Define Your Roles
All too often, couples can make assumptions that they're on the same page with business tasks. This can quickly lead to conflict if something important doesn't get done on time. Have a strategy meeting and write down all of the daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that are required for the family business. Who's writing copy for the website? Who's making sales calls? Who purchases the supplies? Who writes the checks? Figure these things out and write them down, so everyone knows the expectations.
Have a Wall Planner
Post a whiteboard on the wall in your home office. Keep it updated, and write out the tasks that each person is responsible for on a daily basis. It might be the same tasks for every day, but it keeps you focused on who's doing what. It also helps you remember what days of the week that your spouse has an extra-heavy work load (so you can take on extra tasks to help them out).
Keep Your Children Involved
Running a family business can be very trying on your children, especially in the early days when you're getting everything up and running. They may start to miss mom and dad during this period. If you involve them in the business, it's an easy way to spend more time with them (and it helps them appreciate what you're doing).
Also, hire them to work for the business. Even small children can stuff envelopes or perform other simple tasks. When they're older, they can learn bookkeeping and other jobs. Remember to pay them for the work they do. If it's all work and no reward for them, they can grow up to resent the idea of a family business.
Set Reward Points
"All work and no play," as the saying goes. Make sure to set some rewards for accomplishing goals each week. And make sure those rewards involve getting yourselves and the kids out of the house together. Do something fun for a couple of hours, and set a rule that you won't talk about business at the activity.
Eventually, you're going to have a fight, and you need to work it out with your spouse. Get out of the house and have a meeting in a neutral space, such as a coffee shop (public places will help you keep your voices down). Don't try to assign blame, but try to figure out what happened and how to prevent it from happening again. Forgive each other, lay out the expectations, and move on. Remember, family comes first.
These are a few strategies that you can incorporate into the family business to help you succeed. Balancing work and family life can be a juggling act at times, but if you're on the same page, you can make it work!
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.