Starting a Business with your son/daughter - what you need to know
Posted on: 26 April 2016 by Geoff Griffiths
It's best not to discuss politics or religion with your son or daughter, but what about starting a business with one of them?
A family business can be a great legacy to leave behind, ensuring future generations are financially secure and have something to fall back on if other career paths don’t work out.
The chances are it won’t be easy – running a business can be a mentally, physically and emotionally challenging experience at the best of times, throw in working with family members and this may be magnified even further.
So, here are some things to consider to when starting up a business with your son or daughter…
Get the business plan right
As with any business, when starting up a venture with other family members, it’s vital you get the business plan right before any time and money is put in. Free business plan templates can be found here.
It’s tough starting up any business so you should look at something that compliments the skill sets of the family members involved and consider whether it’s something everyone feels comfortable with.
Try to get any younger family members involved as soon as possible, maybe have them doing part-time work while still at school. This way, when they leave school, it will be a fluent transition into working full time for the family business.
Remember, that if you start employing people, as of 2016, you'll have to get to grips with pension auto-enrolment - which you may have to be factored in as a cost if you require a constultant or accountant to set up a system for you.
Make sure the workspace is right
Everyone wants the family home to be a place where everyone feels comfortable and there is a happy atmosphere, and the family business premises should be no different.
It may be tempting to work from the family home – to cut out the commute and trim overheads – but be mindful that this could quickly become quite claustrophobic if you’re spending every waking hour there. You could also find the boundaries between work-life and home-life are quickly blurred.
Set some ground rules
One of the toughest hurdles to overcome when starting a business with your offspring is that the natural order of things is turned on its head – as a parent you are no longer in charge and your child has as much right to call the shots as you do.
A firm set of rules need to be put in place to make sure neither the business, nor family boundaries, are blurred. Not only will this minimise the risk of conflict, but it will make sure the business culture is fair to all employees.
If you’ve other members of staff who aren’t family, you’ll need to create a culture where everyone is treated equally and there is no room for nepotism – no staff members will appreciate seeing family members getting jobs ahead of them unless it’s on merit.
It will also help, when the time comes, if you can promote non-family members to more senior positions.
Make your business feel like a family
When families set up business together, it’s often to build a legacy rather than just starting up with the sole intention of selling it on one day – and this can give your business a real competitive edge, particularly if you can make your customers feel like part of the family.
Whether you run a retail business, a sales team or provide a service, you’ll often give customers that extra bit of care – not only do you have a vested interest in making it work, you might also be competing for business with larger companies who can outprice you.
Customers always appreciate the extra attention and this creates loyalty, which in turn increases sales.
You could also ingrain yourself firmly in the fabric of the community by running fundraisers and partnering with local charitable organisations.
As the owner of the family business you should also remain as hands-on as possible to help maintain the company culture and ensure the business’s family-run values are maintained.
Keep up to date with Marketing & Tech
Being of a certain age, is not an excuse for not being up-to-date with business trends and important technical fundamentals.
Whether your business resides within the tech industry or not, it is generally very important to keep up to date with marketing, digital marketing, and the latest apps and tech that can literally revolutionise your business. Delegate responsibilities for doing this - and ensure that one of you follows marketing & business blogs, podcasts and even youtube channels to keep up to date with how to set up websites, use Google Analytics, optimise your website for Google etc.
It's also a good idea to do this kind of research before you start. If you can build your own website on Wordpress for example, and you know how to register with Google Business (it's simple), you could literally save thousands from your start-up costs.
Visit this tutorial for setting up a site on Wordpress
Visit this webpage and click 'start now' to register with Google
Visit this webpage to download a free book on SEO / Ranking on Google