In the world of franchising, it’s not uncommon for a franchise business to have husband and wife partners, as well as other family members involved in running the business:
- Co-owning brothers, sisters, or cousins
- In-laws (and an occasional outlaw)
- Teens and young adults
For most, the idea of working with family is a comforting thought, a way of building something together, a legacy to pass on. For others, this would be an immediate recipe for disaster. Be sure you really know the person/s and feel secure in trusting them before you invite them in.
Budget Blinds® was started over 25 years ago by five friends, two of them brothers, and together they built what has become Home Franchise Concepts (HFC), the parent company to four award-winning franchise brands, Budget Blinds, Tailored Living®, Concrete Craft® and AdvantaClean®. Within the HFC franchise family are many successful family-run businesses, so if you’re considering going into business with family members, HFC has four valuable tips, based on years of experience, for making it work.
One: Talk through expectations
Don’t just assume you’re of one mind, talk about goals for the business and your personal lives. If one views a work week as six days and the other as three days, there could be trouble ahead. Clarify workday expectations, including who will be responsible for what part of the business, have roles clearly defined and understood, and establish a company hierarchy. “You’re Not the boss of me!” should never come up in a business conversation, even with family. Think about how you already interact and how that may impact a business relationship:
- Are decision-making processes compatible?
- Can you respect each other’s opinions even in disagreement, and live with compromise without resentment?
- Do work styles and ethics match up?
- Can you be transparent with this person in any communication without argument or hurt feelings? If you walk on eggshells around them, a business relationship will probably not be any different.
- Can you honestly evaluate work performance without extreme criticism or excuses? Don’t fall into the trap of having unrealistic expectations for family members.
Two: Allow for and understand differences
Oftentimes we expect family to be just like us, but everyone is different. While it’s true that in successful relationships “opposites attract,” it’s also true that “opposites” can result in conflict, especially in business when working toward crucial goals. For instance, a results-oriented, fast-paced person and a laid-back person will undoubtedly have times of disagreement because they come at life and work from two different perspectives. Each person needs to learn how the other operates so they can interact and communicate effectively to avoid hurtful misunderstandings.
Three: Keep personal life and business separate
This may sound a little contradictory if you’re running a home-based franchise business, but basically it means take a real break from work during personal time and keep personal issues out of business. Don’t talk business during designated “family time” such as nights and weekends or you may feel as though you never have any time off from the business and this can cause stress. Keep relationships “family-first/colleague-second,” and don’t let work problems disrupt the family relationship. Additionally, personal issues should not carry over into work and disrupt dedicated business hours. Spending time apart pursuing individual interests, hobbies, and friends can break up the everyday routines since around-the-clock togetherness can sometimes become too much of a good thing, even with those you love.
Four: Establish healthy boundaries
A work environment with family may be more relaxed and flexible, but business interactions and communications should be business-like and professional, just as with anyone else in a business situation. This is especially important if you have other non-family employees; you don’t want an overly lax attitude to permeate your business. Clarify the business responsibilities of each person and don’t micro-manage each other. Responsibility and authority go hand in hand, so be respectful and businesslike if conflict arises around decisions. Don’t use a personal relationship as license for bad behavior and end up sacrificing relationship harmony for the sake of business.
Rewards of a family-run business
Building any business is a challenge and building a business with family members can add an extra layer of complexity, but it can also come down to having the best job in the world! Shared goals, joint decision making, and “all-in” commitment help to ensure harmony in the work place and at home as you build a future together. There are many rewards to working side by side with family members as shared by our franchise owners who have family-run franchises:
- “It’s encouraging to go to work every day and know that the people you love and trust are there, and they always have your back.”
- “We actually have three generations that are working in the Budget Blinds franchise. It gives you a certain amount of pride to know that your legacy’s going on through your children, your children’s children.”
- “The most rewarding part is the flexibility I get to have with my family. I am primarily out in the field all day and she works off-hours so she can stay home with our children.”
- “It’s given us a chance to spend more time as a family. Both of our boys are involved.”
- “What we envisioned for ourselves was the ability to work together. We have been married for 30 years and we get along wonderfully. This has only enriched our relationship and brought us even closer together.”
HFC has four exceptional franchise brands if you’re looking for a franchise business opportunity that will let you build a successful, family-run legacy business. Go online to Home Franchise Concepts today and begin investigating your future as a franchise owner, or call 1-800-420-5374 to speak with a Franchise Licensing Advisor. They can help you decide if franchise ownership is right for you, and which of our brands is a good fit for you and your family. Ask about the substantial discounts to assist qualified Veterans with becoming independent franchise business owners.