Many people dream of running their own business. Starting a home-based business is often the first step. In a time of downsizing and cutbacks, using the skills from previous employment in a business of one's own is a popular option.
Large companies are also recognising that the high cost of corporate offices is not always necessary and some tasks that rely heavily on computer use can be more cost effective with the employee having a home based office.
Seminars, books and franchise companies offer advice on how to set up an office. Many new business developers turn to a lawyer, accountant and bank manager for advice.
Once a business includes two members of the same family, it is a family business and is part of the estimated 60% of all companies in Canada. The involvement of a parent, spouse, child or other relative, can be a practical and economical choice. It can also cause problems that are unique to a family business.
Home based and family businesses have many advantages. These can include tax benefits, personal trust factors, lower expenses for clothing and commuting, common goals, familiarity and established patterns of working together. There can also be many pitfalls. These include the inability to separate the business from personal time and the roles played in the business may not carry over and be best for a well functioning family life. As well, conflicts from family life can spread into the business environment and cause business disruption. There may also be difficulties with different levels of commitment and energy. These can result in jealousy, and unresolved power and control issues that can undermine profit levels.
Keeping healthy family relationships and maintaining a prosperous business is a balancing act that needs skill and determination. Communicating well, managing stress, resolving conflicts and making wise decisions are all necessary.
Recognising the impact of the family on the business and the business on the family is the first step in avoiding problems. Awareness of the dynamics that are unique to this type of arrangement can create healthy families in prosperous businesses.
If problems arise, consulting with a specialist in the area of families and family business is a wise course of action. The quality of your life and livelihood may depend on it.