Family-run businesses can be great successes, the trust that you have between your family members is automatic and more often than not, you don’t need to gain the commitment or loyalty of your relations. The flip side to running a family business is that it can often be easier to find yourself in conflict with them, either from something based on the running of the business or from a conflict away from the business that impacts it. If you find yourself in a conflict with family members within the business then it is important that you address it with haste. Leaving a lingering conflict to continue will put unnecessary pressure on both your family and on the business so here are some tips to help you fix the problem.
Ignorance is not Bliss
Whatever you do, do not ignore the problem, family members are forever and ignoring a conflict that exists will only fuel it and help it become something far larger and potentially impact other members of the family. As soon as you are aware that there is a problem you should take action to resolve it as quickly as possible. The uncomfortable side of a family-run business is that occasionally you have to have very honest conversations with them about the running of the business or concerns you have about the way in which your relation works. It may be uncomfortable but a little bit of pain now can save you from a lot of pain and discomfort further down the line.
Hold a Meeting
Depending on what role each of you play in the business, you may find that you don’t see your relation on a day to day basis, you should therefore seek to meet with them to resolve the issue. The meeting should take place somewhere casual and away from the business environment, this will relax all parties and hopefully lead to a conversation rather than a slanging match. It is up to you if you wish for all family members involved in the business be at the meeting, or just the person or people with whom you have a conflict.
List Your Concerns
Before attempting to resolve the issue you should make notes of what your thoughts on the situation are. By doing this you can strip away any personal feelings that you have or any issues that aren’t business orientated, leaving you to focus on the business and the issues that need to be addressed to fix the conflict.
Think of the Outcome
Once you have listed your concerns and issues you should think about what outcome you are looking for. The last thing you need is to simply go around in circles of arguments with your family member and never resolving the problem. Try to think about your ideal outcome for the situation and then consider an alternative option should you need to compromise a little to reach a solution. Having a clear vision of what you want before speaking with your family member will help you reach an agreement faster and easier.