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The Alternative Board Blog

5 Questions to Answer Before Joining the Family Business

May. 12, 2014 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
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TAB Facilitator/Coach, Phil Spensieri, shares business tips for deciding whether or not you should join the family business. His experience with a number of family businesses has led him to believe that it takes a very special parent-child relationship to achieve success. If you’re thinking of joining your parent’s business, there are some important questions to ask yourself before making a decision.

Family Business Tip #1:   Do you have the right skill set/education?

It is important to add value to the business, not just for obvious reasons, but also to feel like you truly have earned and deserve your spot. If your skill set does not align with the business, the experience may be challenging – either because you’re not engaged (due to a lack of interest) or because you can’t grasp the work.

Family Business Tip #2:   What relationship do you have with your parents?

Critically analyze the relationship you have with your parents. Will the level of respect that is necessary in a professional setting be met? If your relationship is tumultuous outside of work, chances are that will translate in to the workplace.

Family Business Tip #3:   What type of work environment are you looking for?

If you’re looking for camaraderie amongst coworkers and equal treatment, working in the family business may not be for you. As the child of the owner, the company employees automatically see you differently, and work can even become a lonely place.

Want additional insight? Download Hiring a Business Coach for Your Small Business now 

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Family Business Tip #4:   What are your long-term goals?

Do you plan on staying with your family business forever? If so, do your parents plan on having you there forever? Your career planning and goals must be aligned with those of your family. If you plan on taking over the business, how long are you willing to wait? Your parent may not be ready to relinquish the business to you as soon as you think.

Family Business Tip #5:   Will you have the autonomy you want?

Are you trusted enough to make decisions and have your voice heard in a family business? It is often easier for parents to undermine the opinions and ideas of a child rather than someone they have a professional relationship with. If you’re looking to have creative ownership and freedom, you must decide whether it exists for you in your family business.

Ultimately, it can be difficult to successfully integrate yourself into the family business. Whether you’re starting from the bottom and working your way up through the organization, or moving right into the corner office, you must understand the risks that come with mixing your professional and family lives. What business tips and advice can you share for successfully involving the next generation in the family business?

Looking for more information on family-owned businesses? Check out TAB's PULSE Survey on Family Business and see what other owners are saying about the succession planning, talent, and profitability.  

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

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Written by The Alternative Board Worldwide

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