Family Ties


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When it comes to small business, nepotism is alive and well. After all, one of the benefits to owning a small business is that my husband can work from home – which means he needs someone to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s for him. If he needs some extra help on occasion, why shouldn’t he call on his dad if he knows the man can do the job? But as you cross the line between home and work, there are a few things to be careful of.

The first involves bringing work home. Although as a small business owner, work may well be home, you still need to place a boundry between your separate lives. Plenty of divorces occur when corporate (and noncorporate) spouses fail to give their family the attention needed. Although as your own boss, you may feel the need to work harder than you ever did when you were employed elsewhere, make sure you take some time to stop working. Granted, being a small business owner means hard work. Being your own boss means you know exactly when you are slacking off. And being in the early stages of your business may mean you really do have to put in the hours to succeed. But draw the line where it needs to be drawn. If you make commitments with your family, follow through. If your wife/secretary/CFO and you have an argument about how something is handled at work, don’t bring that conversation to the dinner table. And when you are at home, or your kids’ soccer game, make sure you give the most important people in your life the attention they need.

Next comes money. Small business owners struggle, and sometimes have to ask for help when they need it. That might come in the form of borrowing money, or it might come in the form of borrowing labor. My in-laws worked for my husband’s uncle many years ago and brought home only enough to pay their bills. Then they cashed out their retirement to keep their brother/brother-in-law’s store afloat. The effort failed, the store crashed, and the money has never been repaid. Some people have forgotten, others have forgiven, but a third can’t stand to be around said borrowee. Since this is a close-knit family that meets together once a month, the relationship strain is severe. Money and family relationships don’t always mix well.

Furthermore, if your spouse is part of your business – and even if they are not – make sure you communicate spending plans well. Remember that the number one cause of divorce is money fights and money problems. Keep your spouse informed, and they will never feel betrayed. Better yet, in a company where your spouse has vested interest, discuss things. Come to an agreement. Learn to compromise.

These are only a few of the things to look out for when your family is involved in your company, or, more specifically, when your spouse is involved. Although, as small business owners, we often feel the responsibility for ensuring our business survives and functions, it is important to keep our coworkers involved and informed, particularly when we have to sleep with them. And remember that your marriage will always be worth far more than your business.

Nola Redd maintains a blog specifically for small business owners in conjunction with her low voltage wiring business, Redd Infinity. This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.Facsimile.Com/ which is a site for Fax Machines .


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