How do you manage your business and the family members that work in it or otherwise interact with your business?  Whether you like it or not, you need to manage the relationships that family members have with your business.  And similar to the way you handle business issues and challenges, it is usually better to be proactive and anticipate situations rather than wait until the problem becomes big and difficult to handle.  And typically, problems involving family members tend to be big and difficult to handle. 

Why?  Because problems with family members tend to involve having to do something unpleasant with or to a family member.  Such as informing them that they are not doing their job.  Or that they will not be promoted to fill a vacancy.  Or that you can't give a son or daughter a job because you don't have a job opening.  What can you do?

You can proactively manage the involvement of family members by establishing guidelines and policies ahead of time.  The best time to do that is when there aren't any big problems or challenges facing you.  Here are some of the policies and guidelines that every family business should consider:

  • Mission and Vision Statements that build alignment and set expectations.
  • Business Core Values that guide how decisions are made and how people perform.
  • Roles and Responsibilities of family members.
  • Code of Conduct for family members.
  • Employment policy for family members.
  • Performance and Accountability policy for family members in the business.
  • Retirement policy for family members in the business
  • Buy/Sell Agreements