Top Five Tips for Parents with Kids in the Business

Top Five Tips for Parents with Kids in the Business

Here are five tips for families in business together, in particular for those just starting out or those still in the growth phase. 

1.    Stand on your own two feet

Separate the family finances from the business finances. If you haven't already put your immediate family, not including your children, on a financial plan no other recommendation I make below will work. Stop here and find a CFP to help you separate your family finances from your business and then help you build a business that runs without you. Otherwise, your children will not succeed in the business because you've built an "all about me" shop and no one but you will ever do it as well as you can, the way you want it done, or as quickly and cheaply as you can do it.

2.    Exercise tireless patience

Your children will make mistakes. You may be more critical of them because their errors are not just making your business look bad, they are impugning your family name. Be prepared to breathe deep 10 times before you say what you think about that. Additionally, you will face a struggle between your children and the other employees, where one or the other will be treated "unfairly." Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can run a true meritocracy. Some of your team members will have to change their attitudes or leave the company. Exercise great patience as you help all of them find their identities in relation to each other.

3.    Practice small goals

Start the kids with small tasks. Take a minute to think of projects you want done, that will not kill your business, that you can give to your children to practice their leadership.  Make them run it, allow them to make mistakes, and coach them privately on how to help them succeed. Give them space to build confidence at their own pace. Your business requires your kids to be honest with themselves and with the rest of their team.

4.    Deposit praise immediately

Look for things your kids are doing right and remind them of that quickly. Usually this is best done privately, unless you decide to dole out this praise to everyone in the company. And that, quite frankly, might be one of the best ideas you could make-to get rid of the regular review and replace it with the opportune review, catching someone doing something right!

5.    Make small and quick withdrawals

Their faults need to be corrected, of course. But you have a lot of power. Because the criticism comes from you they will take it personally. Give them the criticism and end with the praise. Remind them that you believe they can run the company someday. Then, start all over again.


Running a family business can be very rewarding, in countless ways! Hopefully some of these ideas you can implement in your own lives. I look to hear from you soon!

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