“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”  Henry Ford

In the midst of the doom and gloom of the current economy, family businesses have taken off, whether fueled by desperation or a dream.  And the struggle against the economy, to make a living for a family with a family, can be a difficult one.

Perhaps it seems foolish to expound on pros and cons of running a family business in a struggling economy, since if you’re in one it is likely you will stay with it; and if you are not, it is unlikely you will start one up … but stranger things have happened.

We’d like to encourage you with some pros and cons of working with family, including some resources to help your business grow.

The “Pros” of family business in a slow economy: Teamwork

The pros of running a family business begin with the vision.  As a family this is a shared enterprise, possibly invested together, and daily investments of time and energy and focus are expected.

The teamwork inherent in a working family can make this easy, and even fun at times.  It is always better to go for a goal as a group: the support is constant.  Family has deeper bonds than the 9 to 5 drive, or the occasional lunch partner.  Often, the business is tied up in shared savings and even shared homes when things are tough.

As the economy improves, the benefits keep the family together, as each person realizes their return on investment as they see their collective dreams unfold.  Each person’s talents can be used for differing areas of the business.  A meeting can be held over the kitchen table, or the nearest chain restaurant, or even in your own boardroom down the hall.  Time, energy, talents and collective vision bring everyone together for success.

The “Cons” of family business in a slow economy: Stress, multiplied

But what about the cons of running a family business?  The nights when you just can’t look at them in the eye, as another weak month has occurred, or the new venture you pushed for has failed?  If marriage troubles happen, it is hard to keep them separate from the business, and your time can be distracted by family gossip or interruptions.  If expectations are not clearly communicated, there can easily be misunderstandings, especially when talents collide with status (ie, younger sister is better than Dad at social media, or accounting.)

And any time money and family mix, explosions can occur.  The stakes are simply higher when you are using family money, loans or even retirement savings.  Time can be a factor, when vacations or retreats or even days off can be lost in the drive to simply make profit.  Personal freedom gets lost.  Sometimes conferences, while fueling the business, can become an expensive addiction, eating up time and resources that your business needs.

So what now?

While the pros of a family business may have fueled your beginning with a vision and great collaboration, the current economy stressors may be chipping away at your success.  We want to make your family business the best it can be!

We offer help by organizing family business councils, which are an objective way to view the road ahead, and make solid decisions without the emotion.  ….Or at least, with the benefit of someone whose emotions are not tied into the business.

There are a host of other resources for your family business, if the cons are getting you down.  We want your business to be a success for you and your family.