Avoid a family feud


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If you are going into business with a family member, remember this: you should run a family business like a business – not like a family where there’s a place for all those family emotions that knit people together.

I read something recently that was so spot on – family businesses often take the family to work and bring the business home.

Too often, too much emotion comes into play in a family business and this can ruin the business and put stress on family relationships. It’s important to have business meetings, but they should be run according to the rules of any meeting.

Here are some tips:

  1. It is important to start a meeting on time.
  2. Issue an agenda in order to make sure that everyone is prepared for the meeting.
  3. Send the agenda to all family and non-family members before the meeting and ask if they want any items added to it for discussion.
  4. If anyone can’t attend the meeting, ask them to send an apology
  5. Conduct the meeting in an orderly fashion. Have one person chair the meeting so that this person keeps control of the flow.
  6. Focus on the objectives of the meeting. If any issue can’t be resolved make sure a person is appointed to follow up and seek a solution.
  7. End the meeting on a positive note. Seek to have any business issues between family members worked out as quickly as possible after the meeting. If you find that squabbling occurs every meeting it might be wise to bring in a facilitator – an independent person who can assist in cutting out the conflict.
  8. Send out minutes of the meeting to all who attended.
  9. If there’s continuous tension, seriously consider employing a third party to help resolve any ‘burning’ issues.

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