For those of us lucky enough to experience the special bond of a mother- daughter relationship, it’s easy to understand how building a business together is a natural choice. Nevertheless, as much as we love and respect our family, there are unique challenges that come along with starting, maintaining and growing a business as a mother-daughter duo. Before you close the door on this rewarding opportunity, take some time to read a few tips on how to survive- and yes, prosper- with a mother-daughter business.
Tip No. 1: Define Work Responsibilities
Chances are, living in the same home together for years has given both of you the chance to really see where each other’s strengths and weaknesses lie. Often, when family members run a business together they make the mistake of assuming responsibilities will be handled in the same manner as in the home. For instance, some households work well because no one discusses what needs to be done, it just gets done. Mom does laundry, dad cooks etc.
In business, you cannot assume the same type of dynamic will exist. Yet for a business to be successful, every role must be clearly defined. Work responsibilities tend to overlap and having clearly defined roles will help keep chaos at a minimum as well as give everyone peace of mind that things are being handled. Don’t assume that because mom is a great public speaker she will automatically step up when public relations or media is involved. Take time to define work responsibilities and everyone- yourself included- has focus and is held accountable.
Tip No. 2: Learn to Balance Work and Play
Business is business and free time is not. It’s as simple as that. When you run a business together with a family member, it’s easy to blend work and play. You spend time together as mom and daughter and inevitably, the conversation leads to business. A few conversations are fine, but try to designate time for mom and daughter, or for “me” or to let mom relax without having to be in business mode.
Besides, if work is stressful, setting aside time to enjoy one another’s company is not only a good idea, but also healthy. Both mom and daughter need a break and it’s critical you continue the pre-business relationship and not let it become confused with the business one.
Tip No. 3: Have a Plan to Handle Conflict
Moms and daughters have been clashing for years and running a business together does not exclude the tendency to disagree. Conflict in business can be healthy as long as you decide ahead of time the procedure for resolving disputes. If you do not set a plan in place, small disagreements will evolve into much bigger issues which will disrupt business. Take the time to sit down and come up with a solution ahead of time and save yourself- and your business- the hassle later.
Tip No. 4: Have Fun and Be Realistic
Finally, learn to take it all in stride. In others words, have fun with your business venture and be realistic with both expectations and accomplishments. If you maintain a positive, forward thinking attitude, things are more likely to fall into place. While it’s easy to get frustrated when things don’t go as planned, it’s even easier to get upset with someone you care a great deal for. Remember to treat your family member as you would expect to be treated by a business colleague and reaching a common goal is easier.
Mothers and daughters make some of the best business partners. With mutual trust, respect and business savvy, growing and maintaining a profitable business is easy. Remember to define responsibilities, balance work and play and always have a plan in place to handle conflict. Have fun with your business and be realistic about expectations. Working together may be challenging, but the rewards are simply unparalleled.