One of the problems with running a business whose members are all from the same family is that, from time to time, families get hit by crises which affect everybody at once. These could range from financial difficulties to the death of a loved one or even just a nasty bout of 'flu. How can you make sure that your business keeps going when family crises occur? If everybody is under stress and trying to cope with the same problems, how can work get done?
Lightening The Load
The first thing you should look at in this situation is how you can reduce the amount of work that needs to be done. Start by considering the following:-
Remember that much of the work undertaken by the average business is focused on growth. Continual growth is a good idea just to keep the business healthy, but in times of crisis it's not essential. What's important is to try and maintain the status quo. Be patient in your approach to the business and don't worry if nothing much is happening with it so long as it's still ticking over.
Keeping your business structure as flexible as possible means that if certain people are not able to work, others can take over from them. It should also mean that, in times of crises, working hours can be flexible. Don't worry about trying to do five full days a week if you can manage with just Monday and Thursday
or just mornings. Work things out between you so that whoever is most able to work can do so in a pattern that fits around the other problems they're having to deal with.
Remember that other family members may still be able to assist with the business on a consultancy basis, giving advice and helping with decisions, even if they're not able to do formal work.
When family crises are prolonged, it's sometimes worth bringing in outside staff on a temporary basis to alleviate the strain on the business. This may mean losing money in the short term but it can mean you have a stronger business to go back to in the long term, and it can take a lot of stress off the family at a time when you need your strength and energy for dealing with other things.
You might also want to consider taking out an insurance policy to protect you from such difficulties - some family business specific packages can provide you with a cash lump sum in the event of a family crisis, making it much easier to cover extra costs like that of temporary staff. Of course you will never be able to be perfectly prepared for everything that may happen to you - the most successful businesses are always those whose managers can think on their feet - but if you've made some provision for it beforehand, a family crisis doesn't need to become a crisis for your business too.
Category: Personal Finance