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Discussion in 'Starting a business in Scotland? Introductions' started by selfemployed, Jan 31, 2018.
We all know about the pros and cons of working with friends and family - would you do it?
As my wife - and soon to be my daughter - are both CI graduates, and we run as a family business then yes; I do actually work with friends and family. - I think the difficulty comes when they're a little more extended than that. - Can I find a job for my niece or nephew? Well no, neither of them have the necessary level or type of educational background.
Growing up, I had an uncle and aunt who were in the catering trade... One thing that taught me is that it's a business you don't 'just pick up off the ground (one of the reasons why so many catering establishments fail is that people think it is!) and that its a lot of hard work for relatively limited reward. ...At various times they'd get 'emotionally blackmailed' into letting some or other of the family wait tables or wash dishes; usually the black sheep who weren't working at other things! - Without exception, it ended in disaster!
Do you not find it difficult treating them like employees rather than family members?
I don't really have to... It's my wife's business as much as it is mine, my daughter's been brought up amidst it all. They know their roles and don't require much intervention from me.
But my uncle's experience was very different... And yes, he ultimately had difficulty maintaining discipline.
I suppose if everyone knows their role then working with family and friends should/could be ok. However, my only concern is that with a small business it just takes one employee (family member/friend) to slacken off and be a little work shy to hit the business. No room for sentiment in business.
As with many things in life, and much in business, there is no 'one size fits all' answer.
I can think of examples where inter-generational business thrive, sometimes for more than a century or two; often with respect for heritage (sentiment) at their core. Others, where the next generation destroys the business and basically eats through their inheritance through an unearned entitlement. There are situations where people feel trapped and inhibited by being shoehorned into the family business etc.
I wouldn't say there's no room for sentiment in business - unless you're in the business of armed robbery. What there's no room for (in a legitimate business at least) is irrationality, duplicity, dishonesty, laziness or fraud.
If I were asked for a rule of thumb I'd suggest never hiring or absorbing anyone in the business who isn't trained and qualified for the role they're being placed in - i.e. they've freely, of their own will, gone and studied (formally or informally) that role and type of business and gravitated towards it. Don't hire anyone for anything who hasn't earned their place.
I think it's a bad idea, because working with friends is uncomfortable. You'll make concessions, and your business will suffer because of that. I recently opened my business on the Internet. Now I have my own website firecams.com. I did it with a stranger, because I'm easier. He told me about it too. This is my personal opinion. I'm not imposing.