Going into business with family members and friends can be tricky. This is usually because of the relationship you have with each other, a relationship that would make boundaries seem blurry. Doing business with family and friends, if not properly handled, can lead to quick dissolution and failure of the business. To avoid this, there is a need to do and also put in a few things. Herein are discussed tips and requirements for successfully doing business with friends and family.
Talk about it
Before monies are spent and goods bought, the first thing to be done is to extensively talk about it. This talk must involve a clear statement of duties, decision-making process and on whose table the buck stops. You should make a list of contingencies and how they would be handled.
Have a written and signed agreement
Make sure all things talked about and agreed on are written down and signed to. Giving the business a legal document makes it more business than personal and also helps all parties involved to delineate the office environment from the non-official. It, like any agreement with outsiders, should state criteria for dissolution, who owns what, profit-sharing ratio etc.
Have scheduled feedback sessions
This is for no-holds-barred and constructive feedback. The key word being constructive. The feedback sessions should be to discuss drawbacks, successes and ways to move the business in the right direction. It can be employed to highlight shortcomings or anyone not carrying his/her weight.
This scheduled meetings can act as destressors and can be used to avoid a build-up of resentment or tension.
Establish a clear chain of command
This is related to having an agreement as the chain of command must be listed in it. Let it be clearly stated who the boss is and the powers of each member. Much as discussions are had, someone has to be the decision maker and this should be clearly stated. Never should it be left to inference.
Create and enforce work | life boundaries
Being friends or family mean there is a high risk of an overlap between your personal relationship and your business relationship. It, in a few situations, is inevitable. What you can do is make deliberate efforts to curb its occurrence. You can decide not to talk shop when you are home or in particular situations. You can decide not to take work home. Boundaries would help reduce conflict.