Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

Rules to Successfully Bring Your Kids into the Family Business



Naturally, in bringing your kids into your family business, the key to long-term success is to do it the smart way. But how?

The most successful business owners are usually entrepreneurs who have accomplished it on their own.

However, all too often when they bring on family members, the businesses become too difficult to operate and they fail. There are many causes of failure – they’re all from bad management.

Just about all of the root causes range from poor decision-making and poor skills in communication — to the inability to manage conflict and lack of dedication by the younger family members.

ID-10089333To promote long-term success, here are 10 tips for hiring family members:

1. Have your children go to work for another company for five years.

Millennials need time to mature before they go to work for you. Rather than just be children of successful parents, they need to acquire confidence, develop work skills on their own, and to learn the important of good management.

That comes from learning how to perform, being punctual, and learning the value of a dollar by being held accountable.

2. Understand the psychological differences between you and your Millennial offspring.

Millennials see things differently than you. As a successful businessperson, your mindset has a different orientation.

Young people go to work only in order to live their lifestyles. Conversely, you’ve had to work countless long hours to build a successful business.

As a parent, you’re likely to view your kids’ attitude to be a lack of dedication to the family business.

3. Make certain your kids are compatible with their work assignments.

Not everyone is alike. Perhaps one of your children wants to work in the family business but isn’t goal-oriented.

Or perhaps a child is sales-minded but isn’t concerned about inventory controls or financial management.

Or worse, your child hasn’t done a personal assessment of strengths and weaknesses.

Ultimately, get training for them whenever necessary.

4. Motivate your children properly.

As employees, your children must be held accountable for their behavior and performance.

Otherwise, you risk having an unproductive employee who also negatively affects the morale of your team.

In essence, like non-family member employees, they need to know three things: A) what’s expected; B) how they’re doing; and C) what’s in it for them.

5. Ignore the temptation to communicate too informally.

Always remember that your children will think of themselves of being the hardest-working, productive employees.

That might be or not be the situation.

If you communicate too casually, you won’t be able to get strong results from children who operate under the wrong delusions.

Consider hiring an outside participant as a facilitator and to teach you, if you anticipate difficult conversations.

6. Make the right assumptions about your kids’ desires.

Not all children want to work in the family business. Find out what they want.

If they want to enter the business, that’s great. But be sure of their desires.

The process should be a like a non-family hire – a formal process, not casual or hasty.

7. Hire a family member based on potential or qualifications.

If a child has worked successfully elsewhere, it’s more likely your offspring will be successful working for you.

“Working hard is great, being lazy sometimes is great, but failed potential is the worst.”

-Campbell Scott

You’ll need a family member who can boast of achievements and valuable experiences. Hiring an undesirable person just because it’s family will only lead to disaster.

8. Pay family members based on the merit.

Surely, you love your children equally. However, don’t make the mistake of paying all family members the same wage if their contributions are not equal.

In all probability, each of your children has different aptitudes and capabilities. Pay them accordingly.

9. Consider hiring talented in-laws.

If any of your children marry a smart, capable person with common sense, don’t overlook the person. If such an in-law would like to work for you, consider each person on a case-by-case basis.

You might very well have hired a terrific employee, as well as promoting peace in the family, and perhaps even getting a positive contribution for your succession planning.

10. Don’t hesitate to fire incompetent family members.

If you’re saddled with an underperforming employee who just happens to be a family member, ask yourself an important question: “Would you keep such an employee who wasn’t a family member?”

Your answer should be, “No.”

If the family member is incompetent, your business will suffer from poor performance and staff-morale issues, too.

If you need help from a skilled outside participant to guide you, get it to minimize family squabbles.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are editor’s picks:

HR Trends: 12 Ideal Perks for Recruiting Top Millennials — Welcome to the new world of employee recruitment as Millennials are replacing Baby Boomers. Work-life balance is the No. 1 priority for Millennials – ages 18 to 33 – especially those who are parents. Here’s how to recruit around the trend.

Probation Meetings – HR Tactics for New Employee Success — Hiring employees is expensive. So it’s important to use tactics that will help insure success of new workers. That calls for probation meetings. Here are five proven tactics.

Tips to Manage Employees Who Fight Each Other to Win Favortism from You — Personality conflict isn’t the only reason workers fight among themselves. They also fight hoping for your approval — to get favored treatment from you. Either way — whatever the cause — rivalries among employees hinder your workplace morale and productivity.

Why Women Are Better Prepared than Men for Management — Many women are better prepared as managers because they have emotional intelligence — a desired characteristic for successful management. Here’s why.

5 Quick Management Tips to Motivate Your Employees — A major quandary for managers is to bring out the best in their employees. Every manager wants to do it, but it’s not always easy. What’s the reason? Usually, it’s because employees are disengaged – disconnected from their managers and companies. Here’s how to fix it.

“Working hard is great, being lazy sometimes is great, but failed potential is the worst.”

-Campbell Scott


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy imagerymajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net


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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.