21 January 2016

How to work with family

Many franchisees enter the world of franchising by buying a business in partnership with family members. Working with family can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it also has the potential to present some challenges. Here are the six questions you need to ask yourself to not only survive, but flourish in a family franchise:

Can your family with stand the pressures of a business?
As with any new business venture, you need to carefully consider whether your family member is the right person with whom to run a successful franchise. Before making the decision to partner with a family member, take a close look at your family dynamics. Is your relationship honest and open? Do you have mutual respect and skills that complement each other? These are the elements to set yourself up for success from the outset.

Have you established a clear plan?
With your franchisor’s support, invest time in creating a detailed, well-structured business plan to give you clear direction and help your business be successful. This will help you ensure your and your partner’s visions align, and that everyone’s expectations are clear from the start.  Take time to discuss systems, financial agreements and long-term planning, but avoid the temptation to do so around the dinner table. Instead, set up formal meetings and draft official documents. This will help you assess the prospects for the business and identify potential weaknesses.

Have you defined the individual roles of family members?
It would be all too easy as a family-run franchise to avoid a formal chain of command. However, it is critical that every member of the team has a clear, defined role so that the business can function like any other. Well defined roles and a commitment to allow each family member to do their job will help keep peace in the business and in the family.

Keep it professional
When working with a family member, there can be a temptation to slide into informal agreements. However, this can cause confusion and misunderstanding down the track, so ensure you record important business conversations and formalise agreements in writing.
When is franchise time and when is family time?
As much as possible, keep work at work. Don’t get into the habit of talking business at home, or you’ll feel like you never have a break. Set clear boundaries about where you’ll discuss business and stick to them. The overall goal here is to maintain a healthy separation for your family life and your business life.

Do you have an open line of communications?
Create a structure that encourages honesty and open communication. Be a clear communicator and offer positive yet constructive criticism. If a family member isn’t doing the job as envisioned, discuss the problem with empathy, but ‘talk straight’. Most importantly, do not allow it to build into a personal issue that could impact your relationship at home.

Check out these Bedshed franchisees running a successful business with their family members