WHAT IS IT LIKE TO RUN A FAMILY BUSINESS

Are there benefits for running a family business, I wonder?

I must confess that I am not the best and most honest communicator when it comes to talking about family. There are both personal and professional reasons for this. Personally, I rarely see my own family. And as much as I love them, I can’t really talk about them if I don’t know them well as they really are today. I would always be harping on old stories from the past, dating back to a time when we, as a family, were pretty much almost and always together.

I did this once upon a time, and now, I have become a little tired of the idea of reminiscing too much on the past. I have been privy to more than my fair share of families on a professional level. Most of them brought trauma to my desk. My job was to help them overcome these and reconnect with each other, family-wise, in a wholesome, healthy and happy way. The essence of a good, balanced family life, I think, relates to things being shared in more ways than one.

But when I got to talk about the trials and tribulations of other families, I became a bit of a schizophrenic. On most occasions, I would still be a tad too aloof and patronizing. I like to believe, though, that where this blog is concerned, I am now opening up to my own weaknesses on both the personal and professional level. There were also other occasions, rare, but not healthy, I might add, where I found myself becoming too emotionally attached to other families’ lives, almost behaving as though I were a voyeur and desiring to be part of their lives, particularly when they began to achieve positive outcomes in their lives.

Now, I’m happy to say, my thoughts on family have taken a healthy turn which started out of curiosity after observing others from a distance. You see, having encountered this a number of times, I have often wondered if personal life for the individual is enhanced when her professional life is entirely a family-run affair, whether it is something she initiated or a business she inherited from her parents.

I also like to believe that it can be quite a healthy, wholesome and happy affair for the entire family. I can’t remember whether I stated this in an earlier post or if it is among one of the drafts for a future post, but I was telling the story of how one woman changed her life for the better by ditching a difficult job and sacrificing a good income to work straight from home with the express aim to become a healthier and happier woman and to improve relations with her family by seeing them more and spending more time with them.

Then there is another encouraging story that comes to mind. My mom mentioned this to me recently and not for the first time. She has a young acquaintance in her neighborhood; I think they met at their community center. Anyway, this lady worked as a chartered accountant for a number of years before deciding to devote her energies to a family-run startup. This is a very clever woman we are talking about here and, as you may gather, is good with numbers.

I think her husband was a tradesman of sorts before he joined his wife in a small health-oriented takeout business quite close to their home. Apart from now spending almost all of their work and personal life together, the logistics of not having to operate too far away from home were nicely taken care of. Also, they have access to their children. The school is quite close to the business as well. And with additional income from the small business, they can now afford babysitting and after school care when this is needed.

I have heard other arguments contrary to this great husband and wife team effort which I could understand better if I had personal experience of it. The doubt expressed was what if husband and wife get really sick of each other, spending so much time together in the running of their business. It’s a good point, but not necessarily will it be a problem surely. I mean, the husband and wife don’t have to be shoulder to shoulder all of the time, and they could be focusing on different areas of the business.

So, you may agree that this subject deserves further exploration. After all, I have only shared my personal thoughts on this matter. But in hindsight, and thinking positively all the time, it does appear to be an enterprise well worth exploring. If you do yourself a favor, you will probably find many success stories on the internet on how this has been achieved by those who dared to try.