To paraphrase Charles Dickens, running a family business is at once the “best of occupations and the worst of occupations”.
While working with family is an experience like no other, the one in charge can have some tough decisions to make.
Imagine employing the people closest to you. What do you do if, for example, one of your employees is slacking off? When it is merely your worker, it is easy to take care of. You simply inform the slacker that his or her performance is not meeting your expectations, and that he or she had better shape up or ship out.
This is extremely difficult to do however, when the employee in question is your family member. Whether a sibling, child, cousin, or even a spouse, you will need to continue your relationship with the family member in question. Therefore, tact and special consideration is needed before taking any action.
A business owner of my acquaintance actually has a firm policy: no hiring of family members. This policy came about after a bad experience of his whilst employing a cousin. He does, however, work with his wife. This exception may be due to the fact that his wife is less an employee than an equal.
When working in that way, where the wife is an equal partner, and is as invested in the business as her spouse is, many problems will not crop up.
Of course, after all is said and done, there is nothing like working with family. Everyone is on the same page, everyone knows the others intimately, and of course, spending all of your time with the people you love is a special experience.
As a business owner, it is necessary to carefully consider exactly what your business goals are and if you can meet them with the people in your family. If you can, hiring family members can be a tremendously enriching and rewarding experience for your business.