How to Deal with Family Members in Business

2.0.1Family and business. What a huge topic. We have all heard these statements:

  • Family Business
  • Family and business just don’t mix
  • It is business not personal.

Well all of the above have a place, but the facts are, a lot of us run businesses, have families, and want to help our families, and this may mean giving them a start in our own business. Or you may in fact be running a family business. So what I want to go over here are some rules to surviving this process.

Rule No 1. Don’t Get Personal.

We have heard the rule it is business, not personal. But the statement really should be – if criticizing, don’t get personal. This should apply to everyone and in fact everything. The moment we get personal, we lose credibility and objectivity. Being family this is not easy. One needs to turn off personal issues, the morning breakfast, an argument etc. and purely focus on the function you are attempting to resolve at business.

Rule No 2. Leave your personal issues at home.

Now we state this rule to staff, however when it is our own family at work, it seems this rule is not so easy to follow. However, it is even more important for us to follow this, as we set the example to all our staff.

Rule No 3. Say Thank you.

As bosses, we often forget to say thank you. To our staff and especially to our family staff. Thank you mean a lot, to all of us. Including staff saying thank you to the boss. So often this little bit of polite culture has been missed. Let us bring this back as new fashionable standard. A good thank you can really brighten your day.

Family-BusinessRule No 4. Your office should appear as a business reflection.

Why do family businesses leave the old settee at work, or the broken printer, and take the good one home. Why not let your customers see that you are doing well, so that they want to invest in you. Why make your office a 2nd grade home. Make it a first grade place that your clients would feel great about. Remember “WYSIWYG” What you see is what you get – most clients use this standard and reflect the business appearance in this manner.

Rule No 5. Keep your business out of certain private space areas.

Initially when my husband Henry and I met, we met as associates, then became business partners, and finally we married. However we found that we brought into our marital private space business, and soon we were swamped. To the point, that our personal relationship strained, our business relationship hit the GFC, and we had no space. So we brought about the rule of Business talk only in the front room. This meant that we did not bring business on to the other party without asking, and we showed Respect.

Final Rule RESPECT.

This is imperative. Always show respect to your own family members. WE generally do this with non-family members, and then forget – because they are family. If anything, this should be the other way around. Realize how great it is to work together, cherish the fact you can, and respect each other.

So with that all said – you should now be able to work, live and play as a family.


Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.