How to run a family business without straining relationships
How to run a family business without straining relationships Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

Families can achieve great things together. However, you must realize no family is perfect, and you may expect some friction. When such strain spills over into a family business, it brings a new and challenging dynamic. Some family disputes tragically become the downfall of a family business. While running a family business may work out for some families, it may not work with others. Let's look at how you can run a family business without straining your relationships.

Steps on running a family business

The following are some of the steps you can take to run a family business without straining essential family relationships.

Select a leader


By not having a clear structure and representation, there may be confusion about who should be the company's face. This may create power struggles. To avoid having such a mess, select a leader who may act as the spokesperson and representative of the family on the business front. This will minimize family members' chances of fighting to be the family leader at home and the business.

Set clear roles

Appreciate that everyone has a different set of skills and experience to bring to the business. Create and assign clear roles to the family members who will be involved in the business operations. To ensure that they will be satisfied with the roles, match them with positions that promote peak performance.

Also, listen to and address any issues they may have. Provide the necessary support to help them bring their best to work. It would be best for each family member to earn their position in the company through their hard work and dedication to the business.

Written communication

Ensuring that information in the company is not reliant upon hearsay, distribute all communication in a clear and accessible manner. Always choose written communication to pass on essential details.

Do not conduct business via handshakes. Draft and sign contracts to provide communication as to what an individual should be delivering at their job. Should they breach the agreement, there will be no hard feelings because they originally signed the contract.

Embrace constructive criticism

In the eyes of family members, an individual may be doing right by them. Call out any traits that may be detrimental to the individual's growth and the company. Unexplained time away from work is an example of something that should not be tolerated, even in a family business.

An individual may also be giving their bare minimum; such behavior needs to be addressed. However, the approach to this should be gentle but firm. Criticism and correction should help the individual to improve themselves and their performance at work.

Hire non-family members

It would be best to bring in team members that are not also family. This may reduce the instances in which deep-seated or arising family issues may spill into the business. Such team members will create a better environment because you will have a fresh perspective of the company. Non-family members may also possess the skills and experience needed for the business to thrive.



Issues in family businesses arise when someone feels they are not included in the process and the business' profits. Keep the books open and let the interested parties know the financial position of the company. Since it is a family business owned by family members, it would be good to keep them content. Contentment comes about when the family members are not in the dark and have access to all the business affairs.

Schedule personal time away

Familiarity breeds contempt. This is a reality that we face when in constant interaction with people, even those we love. However, to have healthy relationships, it is good for family members to set boundaries. Plan time away from the family and the business. You may unwind over the weekends and also balance the familial and business interactions.


Create a good environment at home and also in the workplace. Do not lose sight of your family and business vision. Stick together and create solutions to the issues that may separate you. Stay united and do not play favorites at the workplace. Create and maintain relationships that last and build businesses that stand the test of time.