Family-Owned Businesses

Partnering with Family Members

Written by Chukwuma Asala for Gaebler Ventures

Many businesses are run by families. Family provides a great source of dependable work, however there are some problems that can arise. This article will discuss some of the challenges of partnering with family members.

Working with family can be a very fulfilling experience but can also be very challenging.

Most people who own a business, no matter what the type, will always opt to hire and partner with people that are not family members. The assumption is usually that the negatives outweigh the positives but this is not necessarily the case. A few things to consider when partnering up with family:

Personal Relationship

Just because you are family does not necessarily mean you get along. Many people do not get along very well with their family members. This will undoubtedly affect the day to day running of the business if you are not compatible with these people. Do not make the mistake of assuming that just because you are family that everything will work out. If you can hire someone you do not know that is good, honest, and has the qualifications you are looking for then do just that. A stranger can become family very quickly if the right relationship is built, so do not feel you are at the mercy of family members that you are not even friends with.

Working Relationship

A working relationship is very different from a personal relationship. This can be very difficult to establish with family members for the simple fact that they are your family. They know you very well and in most cases do not know you on a professional level. There is also this unspoken knowledge that you would be crazy to fire a family member no matter what the reason is. They are almost immune to rebuke or chastisement as a result of this and this can be very challenging. As long as you can establish very early on that the relationship at work has to be respected first before the family relationship then this issue can be avoided.


Successful people always complain about how they seemed to gain more relatives as they gained profit. This is the entitlement mentality that comes with being part of a family. Be sure that you do not have family members working with you simply because they knew their brother or sister would hire them. If they have not been employed for the last few years there must be a reason to that. You unfortunately will find out the hard way if you hire them before doing your research. A lazy worker is a lazy worker regardless for who he works for.

Chukwuma Asala is an international student from Nigeria who is studying to earn an MBA from the State University of New York in Albany. He has analyzed more than 20 industry case studies throughout his education thus far, and hopes to bring some of his business knowledge to

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