Should You Work With Family?
There's an ongoing stigma about working with family members. That, for the most part, it's frowned upon. There are even thousands of horror stories of why it shouldn't be done, what can go wrong, and why, essentially, it can threaten your business and your family relationships. However, there are also plenty who do it – and who have continued to do it – for decades. They own businesses with family members and work alongside one another every single day. Whether it's a multiple location business (and where you might not see each other in-person every day), or a single brick and mortar store and might leave a family member as your main contact throughout your working days.
Two opposite sides, with complete opposite outcomes. With both ends of the spectrum being covered, which reality is correct? And which path might be best for you?
When deciding whether or not you should work with a family member, start by looking at your needs. What type of business are you in (or looking to get into)? Do you need part-time workers? Or someone to help fund your venture? Maybe you need a manager to hit the ground running. Then look at need vs. relationships. Do you have a niece who needs a part time job? Hiring her can help both of you, while offering very little risk. In contrast, if you're looking to partner with a brother, you can both be out money and ill feelings if the business doesn't pan out. Sometimes, "failure" is simply from having different views, not because the business itself wasn't working – which offers a whole new area for consideration.
Another area to look into is what could potentially go wrong. While it's best not to plan for the worst, it is important to look at what might happen – on the positive and negative ends. What would happen if the relationship went south? Would you be on ok terms if you fired the family member? Would it cause repercussions with additional family members?
And perhaps most importantly, are you willing to put your name behind those you hire?
If the answer is no, will you be better off helping them get a job (that comes with accountability) vs. handing over a position they don't have the skills to perform. Your business is important, and creating a bad customer experience is something that can't always be reversed. With so much at risk, it might be better to help your family member out vs. trying to overcompensate … and gambling your business's reputation in the process.
On the other end of the spectrum, you might have family members who you'd be proud to have on your professional team. They might compliment your servers, or add a set of abilities that you don't have. When the above is true, and you're on good terms with family, you might find that working together is an ideal setup.
Safe vs. Sorry
Different personalities are willing to put themselves into risk when helping others. Though this is a good personal trait, it may not always be a smart business move. Which is also why, rather than setting themselves up for failure, many franchisees choose to not deal with family at all. A scenario that's hard-lined, but saves hurt feelings. Others realize the risk, take precautions to protect themselves, and come out on the better side of the situation.
In either case, remember to look at all possible outcomes, and to strongly consider hiring or avoiding family members in a professional setting. Only by thoroughly weighing each side can you best create an informed decision.