Haines Watts

Family businesses are one of the most common business types in the UK. However, with a mix of personal and professional dynamics at play, they come with their own unique challenges. Below are some potential hurdles you may be faced with, as well as advice on how to prevent their occurrence.


Family relationships in the workplace

With multiple family members, all with differing priorities, it is likely at times that some will feel they are contributing more than others to the business. Here, open communication to discuss expectations and responsibilities is vital as it allows for everyone to have their input. When everyone has their own defined role, individuals will feel valued and included, It also ensures that no task falls through the cracks due to miscommunication. This can then take pressure off those who feel they have too much on their plates, reducing burn-out and in turn, conflict.

Different members from different generations may have opposing views when making decisions, such as any financial decisions. Fostering a culture of open communication through regular family meetings can help combat this, alongside transparent financial systems, and processes to ensure fairness. Going along with the majority viewpoint is often the best solution. However, you could choose to seek external advice from financial professionals. An expert can provide insights that will benefit the business, and individuals may prefer to hear a third-party perspective.


Succession planning

Determining who should take over various leadership roles can be tricky. The goal is to ensure smooth transition to the next generation in a way that does not disrupt business performance or damage family relationships. It will be important to measure the readiness of each member by discussing their interests, skills, and aspirations. As well as this discussion, a concise criterion should be created to help select successors – for example, looking at qualifications and experience. Electing those who have committed more is fair and will be in the best interest of the business. Ultimately, involving every family member in decisions and keeping a collaborative approach is key.


Finding work-life balance

The work-life balance can be particularly hard to achieve in a family business, as the boundaries tend to blur. There is an overlap where family members are also your co-workers. Discussions in settings away from the office can easily become about work, leading to the feeling of never ‘turning off’. This can lead to high stress levels, burn-out and weaken personal relationships. Respecting one another’s space and alone time is important and putting in place clear boundaries between work and personal can ensure this is upheld. This will give you a healthy balance and allow you to use your dedicated work hours more efficiently.

If you want to discuss your family business, get in touch.


T: 020 8549 5137

E: esher@hwca.com

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