Why Going into Business with Family May Not Be a Good Idea

If your brother, cousin or best friend wants to start a business with you, hesitate before answering. While certainly, you love and trust this person, as they say, business and family don’t always mix. Ask yourself these questions before deciding.

1. Does He Have a Head for Business?
Sure, your brother-in-law has worked in restaurants most of his life, but that doesn’t automatically make him a good business partner. And while his experience can come in handy, especially if you don’t have it, not everyone is meant to own a restaurant, or a business for that matter. You want a business partner who can share the work equally: finance, management, marketing…even if you divide the work based on your skill sets, you want to know that in your absence, he can handle your tasks.

Does His Work Ethic Match Mine?
You work hard at what you do, and you want a partner who does as well. But if the work ends up falling to you while he is out on “sales calls” at the golf course, you’ll end up resenting him. Make sure that he is as dedicated as you are to the success of your business and all the hard work that entails.

Will the Legal Stuff Get in the Way?
If you’ve been best friends since kindergarten, it may seem untrustworthy to ask your partner to sign a partnership agreement outlining the financial split and responsibilities. But it’s absolutely imperative: the day will come when one or both of you want to exit the company, and without legal documentation, it can be easy to bicker over what belongs to whom.

Who Will Be in Control?
This is especially important if you’re a Type A personality. Among partners, one will have more say on daily operations, and one (maybe the same) for overall business strategy. Is it possible to assign these roles between the two of you, or will you butt heads on every decision?

Can Our Relationship Handle It?
Countless families and friends have destroyed their relationships through businesses. Sometimes it’s just not worth it. But on the other hand, if you are aligned in terms of goals and work ethic, choosing someone close to you might be the best business decision you can make. Only you can make that call; just hope it’s the right one.


One response to “Why Going into Business with Family May Not Be a Good Idea

  1. As someone who was never repaid for a bank loan of 45K given to a family member, I cannot stress enough the importance of this article. It is only the start of what you must be aware of.

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