Thursday, May 03, 2007

Family Business: Cons to Beware

Read "Family Business: Pros to Embrace" first.

These days, family business is the new homeschooling. More and more families are realizing that a business of their own can be a tremendous asset. I've been involved in family businesses for most of my life, and I'm all in favour of them.

However, family business has a way of eating people alive if it's not kept under control. A 9-5 job can be left at the office, but a home-based business, like death and taxes, is with us always. Here are some ideas for combating this.

1. Set limits and be realistic. Crunch times happen, in which you must abandon all semblance of sanity and work your hardest and longest to make a thing happen. That's okay, but try to plan in such a way that tasks stay manageable. For example, Mom and my sisters try to space our fudge-making over three days before we hit craft shows on the weekend, rather than doing it all at the last minute.

2. Take a break. Sabbath is important. Most of our business happens on weekend craft shows, so many of us work Sundays. When this happens, we try to take Monday as a day to relax. Burning yourself out may feel responsible, but it will cripple you eventually... don't do it.

3. Give rewards. Another way to avoid burn-out--especially in young people who work with their parents--is to make sure that work is rewarded. When we're on the road, Dad will stretch our budget in order to take the family out for dinner somewhere nice. It's more than worth it. We always enjoy eating out together, and these times are both great motivation and great memories. Morale doesn't have to expensive, but it must be maintained.

4. Fit round pegs into round holes. As much as possible, involve your family members in ways that mesh with their natural gifts. In our family, my artistic sister Deborah has created many of the lovely designs you'll see on our candy; Becky, who has mad skills with the computer and graphic design, built our Web site and designs signs and labels.

Like most things, a family business should be a flexible endeavour. See what works for you; take note of things that are not working. Work hard, have fun, and God bless you!

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Anonymous kailani said...

Great tips! I'm in the process of starting an online busines and even though my family is not directly involved, a lot of your ideas will come in handy.

Thank you for sharing this with the Carnival of Family Life.

12:12 a.m.  
Blogger Kristin said...

Hey Rachel - I just wanted to stop by and tell you how much fun it was to finally meet you last Saturday :) We'll have to do it again soon!

5:40 p.m.  

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