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MAIN Arrow to BusinessBusiness Arrow to Small Business ResourcesSmall Business Arrow to Family BusinessFamily Business

Family businesses face all the challenges that other start-ups do... with the addition of bringing emotional baggage into the mix!

This can be either a wonderful experience, or create a whole new set of family dynamics you definitely were not expecting.

Usually, the head of the household has built up a business by the seat of their pants, intuitively step-by-step, chasing opportunities where they could find them. Early deals are often made on a handshake, and customer relationships built on the basis of personal trust.

By the time a bona-fide company is established, friction arises over where the company should be going, or how fast the family-owned business should be growing. The original founder, meanwhile, has already proven their worth, have become a bit more conservative, and have a strong desire to preserve the status-quo.

Finally, by the time they are ready to retire family business succession rears its ugly head.

Who hasn't read about skirmishes among siblings of a family-run company? If the company founder hasn't already groomed managers within the family to take over the business, fierce in-fighting is a common result. It's the stuff of both news headlines, epic novels and soap operas.

Family owned business case studies show best how to head off the drama. And, it is the wise company founder who will have already developed the concept of teamwork among family employees, grooming them for succession as co-managers, and instilling in them the values of the company that made it great.

Even within otherwise closely knit families, frequent friction may harm not only the business but long-held loving relationships. Is it worth it? It depends. The key is mutual trust, respect, and frank communication — which of course applies to any good family or business relationship.

Just up ahead, check out more resources which may help sort out the possible tangles, with experienced advice on how to avoid the typical clashes when partnering with family ....

More about starting a family business around the Web:

Family Business Magazine - Here's the premier publication for information and guides to running a successful family business with access to daily blogs, library articles and more with paid subscription.

Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley - The family business center is a combination support/research resource. The information they offer covers the gamut with emotional, financial and technical information.

Family firms: avoiding pitfalls - BBC guide to recognizing typical problems and how to avoid them.

The Family Owned Business - A detailed discussion on how to avoid the three major pitfalls when operating a family-run business.


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