Let’s be realistic, whether or not you should work with a friend or family member (or framily) is an extremely hard question to answer. But the truth is this a question many of us will tackle during our working life. In fact, 70% of all businesses in Australia are made up by family businesses. That’s a potential for a lot of family quarrels!
So, should you do it? Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all solution; it all comes down to individual characteristics, family dynamics, and business goals. Consequently, the risky mix of business and your loved ones is a matter requiring some harsh consideration. To assist you in reaching the right choice, we have listed some points to evaluate before making any final decisions.
The first question you should ask yourself is where do you and your friend/family member see yourselves in 5 to 10 years? If you both have a similar idea of where you would like your business to be and how you’re going to get there, then working together could bring you great success. It’s important to discuss with any potential business partner the future of your company to ensure everyone is on the same professional path.
It would be illogical to ask if working with family members ‘will’ affect your relationship because of course working with a friend or family member is going to affect your rapport in some way. You need to be asking yourself if this is a person you can have a professional relationship with as well as keeping your bond outside of work. If you think this may negatively alter your personal relationship, chances are it’s not going to work in the business either. Some ‘framily’ relationships thrive in the business world, you just have to make sure you’ve picked the right one.
Known for bringing the office home with you at the end of each day? If your work/life balance isn’t as equalized as it should be, working with a family and friend has the potential to increase its imbalance. It is important that you and your business partner are able to switch off from ‘business partner’ mode back into your normal relationship, so avoid discussing work over the dinner table. You probably won’t get much work done if you or your partner can’t take business seriously.
No one wants to talk about the end before the beginning, but being realistic at the start of your business will save a lot of hurts later – both emotionally and financially. You should review with your potential business partner what may happen if your individual circumstances change i.e. one of you moves away, wants to take extended maternity leave or take a complete change in career. You should also clarify your roles in the business before you start working together so you don’t step on each other’s toes.
There’s no doubt that sharing your experiences and successes with those closest to you can make business more rewarding. By ensuring your relationship has strong and open communication. Also by being realistic about the changes that may happen in your relationship will avoid you getting blind-sighted when business ownership gets tough.