Do Family Businesses Strengthen a Relationship?

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Many people fear that starting a business with your spouse will lead to disaster. This is far from the truth. The reality is that family-owned businesses account for nearly 60% of America’s gross domestic product and more than half of the workforce.

Many spouses enjoy the satisfaction of providing income for other families.

The benefits of family businesses are plentiful and can strengthen a relationship in a variety of ways. Family businesses can be both fun and rewarding. It’s an opportunity to spend time together, work on something important, and build a legacy that will last beyond yourself.

The critical question is whether this decision will work for you and your family. Read on to find out.

Do Family Businesses Help to Strengthen Relationships?

For the most part, family businesses are not for everyone. But if you and your spouse want to stay close to each other and your family long-term, working together in a business can be an ideal way to do that.

Talking to your spouse about business issues brings a new aspect of communication to your dynamic. It’s a chance for you and your spouse to learn about each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests. It also gives you a chance to build trust through shared experiences.

Tips for Working With Your Family

Besides having clear family business goals, you can also open up the conversation with your spouse about who will take part in the business. You might not be comfortable hiring your mother-in-law or your brother-in-law as a full-time employee, and you need to make this clear before starting your operations.

Here are a few other tips that can help make your family business successful and improve relationships in the process.

Forgiveness and Understanding

Family businesses come with their own set of challenges. The ability to forgive and move on from past mistakes is important for any successful relationship, but it is especially important when working together as part of a family business.

If you have hurt your partner in the past, apologize for those actions prior to opening day. That way, past issues won’t interfere with future business success.

Respect Each Other’s Work Styles

Everyone has different work styles. It’s important that you respect each other’s style and put in the time to understand and appreciate it. For example, if one partner is more hands-on and another is more of a delegator, then try to adjust your work habits accordingly.

Advantages of a Family Business

A family business can help keep the family together. It gives you a common interest and something to talk about with your parents, siblings, and cousins. There are other perks too!

Teach Your Kids Responsibility

You can teach your kids about how their parents made their wealth so that they have greater respect for it. When they become adults, they’ll understand why it’s important not to squander their inheritance. They’ll know that you and your spouse put years of effort into earning that money for them.

Build Strong Family Bonds

When you start a family business, you’ll have something to bond with your spouse over. You don’t have to wonder what the other person is doing at work or why they’re not home when you expect them to be. You’ll both be busy doing something that can bring in money for your family and give you a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Successful Family Business Examples

The average lifespan of a family business is 24 years—a much longer period than you would expect from corporations not run by families!

A family business can be defined as a firm that is owned by a family, or has been operated by members of the same family for most of its existence. Corporate giants like Walmart and Ford Motor Company began as family businesses and still have strong ties to their founding relatives.

Although these companies are now publicly traded, they’re still controlled by descendants who care about upholding the values that made them successful in the first place.

How Can Family Businesses Avoid Conflict?

The biggest concern about going into business with your spouse is that you will end up fighting. For many couples, the best way to avoid this is to make sure that they’re on the same page before they start their business. Couples should clearly define their roles and responsibilities so that each person can know where they stand and what’s expected of them in the long run.

When conflict arises, it helps to deal with it in a family meeting. It’s important for every employee in your family to be present at these meetings so that each person has an opportunity to voice their opinions. The downside is that this may not always lead to a resolution.

The upside is that you’ll know exactly where everyone stands on the matter and won’t waste time arguing about things once you start working on solutions together.

Have a Family Meeting With Your Spouse

If there are serious problems in your marriage, this can affect how well things go at work (and vice versa). If you feel that there’s been too much friction between yourself and your spouse lately, schedule some time together for talking through some concerns.

You might also consider taking part in counseling sessions if they’re available locally. Sometimes having someone else listen objectively can help provide perspective when emotions run high during discussions like these.

Help Your Family Business Thrive

For successful family businesses, make sure that you’re comfortable with the decisions your partner makes. You can talk about your goals and family business structure as a couple, but don’t take business decisions too personally.

If one of you wants to sell the business, while the other wants to keep it going, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing—but it’s something that needs to be discussed openly and honestly.

Our blog offers tips to help you run your relationship, whether it’s a business partnership or another type. Contact us for more information on how to keep your relationship healthy.

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