Succeeding In Family Business Tips To Remember It may be hard to work and live with the same people. Your family members are usually the closest people to you in life. When you work with them, it often becomes hard to determine where to draw the lines. It is sometimes difficult to separate work from personal life and even more difficult when your personal life is involved with your work. The most important thing to do would be to set boundaries. Keep work talk at work and home life at home. If you mix the two, it can often create animosity both in the home and in the office. If you're going to have to discuss business matters, at least save it for an appropriate time. A time should be set aside for specifically discussing business matters, (and not during dinner). Having meetings to discuss business issues is very important, but the setting does matter. If your children will be joining a business that you have developed previously, it is important that they have experience working outside the family business first. This way, they will know what to expect from a professional (and non-related) work atmosphere. It's also important not to hire children, or any other family members for that matter, out of sympathy. Although you may be "doing them a favor," you still want to be sure they have the skill and experience to fulfill their role in the business. It would be even worse if you had to fire a family member due to lack of skill, wouldn't it? Make sure that responsibilities and duties are clearly assigned to each employee in order to avoid overlap. Each person should have certain tasks they are responsible for so that, at the end of the day, no one can play the blame game. Clearly identify leaders as well as particular strengths and weaknesses of all employees. While various family members may be qualified for similar tasks, divvying up the duties should help to avoid conflicts. Big decisions should, of course, be made together. However, a debate over each little move made will begin to break apart the family. Family businesses can be extremely successful if you operate them correctly. For example, Matt Siegal helped his father, Sanford, to expand his cookie business (Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet) into a retail operation. "I'm an eternal optimist; I think every new idea will work out great," says Matt. "Dad's more of a pessimist, or a realist, as he calls himself." When Matt saw great potential for his father's small business to grow significantly by adding a retail division, he became immediately enthusiastic about the idea. "'Of course, Dad had to weigh the options carefully and consider any possible pitfalls,' says Matt, knowing his father would take the more cautious approach. In the end, after some due diligence, the elder Siegal agreed. Matt sold his software company, joined his parents in the cookie business, and the company took off." The cookies are now being sold at Walgreen's and GNC as well as through their website.