Make the family business work Saint-Jérôme QC

If you own a family run business, you know how emotions can interfere on the job. Here are some helpful hints on how to properly manage your family business.

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Make the family business work

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By Stephanie Regan

(NC)-In a family business, family history and emotion can create a rough ride. Here are some suggestions from the Canada-Ontario Business Services Centre (COBSC) for making the family business work more smoothly:

First, put business relationships, roles, expectations and compensation in writing. Management lines should be clearly drawn. In any workplace, confusion results when reporting structures are unclear, and staff are unsure who is in charge of what. Make rules and responsibilities clear to all.

Second, fairness will go a long way. An owner-manager should ensure pay scales, promotions, schedules, criticism and praise should be fair and equal, both among family and non-family employees.

Third, when deciding who should be in charge, ask yourself who offers the best management techniques. Don't let age or gender be a barrier. Ask yourself who is thick-skinned enough to live and work with family bickering, and tough enough to make decisions stick.

Fourth: history may colour attitudes about abilities within the family. Long standing feuds or tensions can spread, and no business owner can afford to let the company divide into warring camps. When this happens, non-family employees must be convinced their interests are best served by a profitable organization, rather than by allegiance to a particular member of the family.

Seek outside advice

The decision-making process inside a family business can be very closed. Fresh ideas and creative thinking can get lost in the tangled web of family relationships. If the growth of your business is hampered by reluctant relatives, call in outside advisors.

Information for small business in Ontario is available free through the Canada-Ontario Business Services Centre. Talk to specially trained business representatives when you call toll-free (888-576-4444 or TTY: 1-800-457-8466) weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST. Visit www.canadabusiness.ca/ontario to learn more.

- News Canada