How to handle working with family members

Employees who are family members have become a reality for today's small businesses. They can be a great help to any company, but there is always the possibility that tensions can rise when family becomes more involved.

It is necessary to manage each person in addition to the day's usual duties. Having family within the business can work, but they need to be treated in a unique way, or else the company's entire fabric can unravel. If that does happen, it can be tricky to let a family member go without creating havoc and damaging the business's finances.

Each company must decide whether or not it is better to keep family and work separate, even if it involves financial investment advice.

When it works
A family-run small business can work, if only for the fact there's proof nationwide. The keys to success, though, revolve around the family themselves. If tensions flare surrounding every-day home issues, there is a good chance they will at work too.

LaCrista Natural Skincare was created by Linda Collinson from her home, and she turned her product into a skincare line carried across America, and even globally, according to the Huffington Post. Her company was staffed exclusively by family members. LaCrista did so well that Linda was able to sell her company, but she didn't take any time off.

Up first was helping her husband manage his company, and then she became a financial backer for her son's business, Infusion Sciences. Her position among another family-run company made her son the new boss. The role reversal didn't damage the Collinson family, though, as Infusion Sciences now earns close to $1 million in revenue, the source reports. Linda's situation is certainly a success story, and she employed many tips and tricks to help balance family and work.

Working with family
The relationship within a family can either boost a business or cripple it. It is an important distinction to remember who controls the home and who controls the work. When these two power structures differ from one another, like Linda working under her son, it can create problems that might not have been foreseeable.

Family members sometimes don't get along so well. If this is the case, it might not be the best decision to go into business together. Try to create business-like situations at home to test relationships. Doing this can prevent any unwanted surprises when a small business gets involved.

Don't give a position to a family member that they are unqualified for. Not only can this create animosity within a company from the person who should have gotten the job, but having a person in a critical role that doesn't understand how to do the job properly can ruin a small business. If a family relationship works well under certain situations, it is beneficial to try to replicate that while at work. Quality communication is important for determining the proper role for family members in a company.

Show respect to each other, and think of any family member as a successful professional, not as a son, daughter, or spouse. This can help keep family problems at home, and make sure that everyone is thinking about work. Create a good financial plan for the business, before involving family.

Firing a family member
When having family as employees fails, firing them can be tricky. Before employment, have clear guidelines in regards to the position and what is expected. Think about transferring family into a different role, or provide a severance package. Give a clear explanation as to why someone is getting terminated, so there is no confusion.

"The family has to make a decision about which comes first – the business or the family. In some cases, the business has to come first because if the family doesn't take care of the business, the business won't be there to take care of the family," said Paul Karofsky, of the Transition Consulting Group.

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