Running a Profitable Family Business… From Home: Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Running a Profitable Family Business… From Home: Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Family businesses are fantastic opportunities to pursue a dream with the ones you love- and that’s a great thing. But they’re also filled with challenges, uncertainties and even a little heartbreak along the way. Now add to that, the idea of working out of your home and you really have your hands full. The good news is, it is possible to run a profitable family business from home, as long as you are well aware of some of the pitfalls and how to avoid them. If you’re considering starting a home based business or you’re already going full speed, here are a few pointers for staying on the straight and narrow.

Don’t Use Convenience as a Reason to Get Lazy

One of the benefits of running a business from home is the commute. In most cases, it takes a cool twenty seconds to go from the breakfast table to the office- and that’s simply awesome. But don’t let the convenience of easy access allow you to veer off the path. Keep a strict work schedule as if you were expected to be at the office and ensure family members do as well. If it’s easier, set a daily agenda and post it on the wall for all to see. Keep the expectations clear- and the same for everyone- and disciplined time management is easy.

No Bickering…Respect Differences and Embrace Compromise

Simply because you are related does not mean you have the same personality. In fact, it’s not uncommon for family members to have completely different perspectives on a wide range of things. But the bickering that is accepted in your personal lives has no place in the work environment. Embrace your difference and use it to complement your decision making instead of stalling progress. By respecting that each of you is coming from a different angle, and recognizing the generation gap, you’ll make it easier to find common ground. Besides, taking time to compromise helps you focus and more clearly define your objective.

Keep Work-Life Boundaries Clear and Understood

A successful family business requires well defined boundaries. That means work-life responsibilities must not blur. Particularly when working out of the home, it’s easy to “work around the clock” or mix business tasks with a personal agenda. While this strategy may work for a solo entrepreneur, when others are accounting for your time, it creates anxiety, stress and resentment. Keep the boundaries clear and understood. Avoid conflict by talking openly about workload and reasonable work hours.

Making a profit without tearing the family apart may seem like an impossible goal when working from home, particularly with strong personalities in the mix. By taking time to create and organize a disciplined work schedule and agenda, expectations are clear and it’s easier to pursue a common goal. Success with a home based business doesn’t happen overnight, but comes from hard work, commitment and a few good tips along the way.