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Starting a company with family members: Pros and cons

You want to start a new company, and you're thinking about going into business with a family member. The two of you have already talked about it, and it seems like a good fit, but you're trying to decide if it's a good idea or not.

Every situation is unique. You really need to weigh the pros and cons of your specific situation and decide how to proceed. Here are a few things to consider:

Cons

One issue is that other people on your staff may feel like you and your family member make unfair decisions in each other's favor. They can't share that same family bond. Does that cause you to make decisions that are not in the company's best interests?

No matter what, you have to remember that feelings and deeper relationships will be impacted. You cannot fire your sibling or your parent the same way you can fire a traditional employee.

Pros

One benefit is that you will, ideally, both trust each other and be honest with each other. If you picked a business partner you were not related to, you would not have that instant trust. It takes time.

Of course, perhaps the largest benefit is that you're already so close. You know each other. You understand your strengths and weaknesses. This can help you pick roles and responsibilities that are best for the company, and you will do so easily and with fewer mistakes.

Your rights

Of course, family-owned businesses do lead to their share of unique disputes and disagreements. Make sure you understand your legal options up front.

Source: Inc., "6 Pros and Cons of Going Into Business With Family," Dakota Shane, April 24, 2018

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