Running a Family Business without Disrupting the Family

Lolo Siderman is the Founder & CEO of Gypsywing Media ( In this video she discusses how to run a family business without it disrupting your family.

  1. Handle separate areas of the business
  2. Set limits on "business talk" at home
  3. Let the other person do their job
  4. Don't invite more family members in if you don't have to
  5. Make sure all expectations on financial compensation, ownership, and duties are in writing

Running a family business can come with a lot of pitfalls and as someone who has worked with my husband on various for-profit and non-profit companies, I certainly have some experience with this one. So one of the biggest things that my husband and I have always done is make sure that we handle separate areas of the business. So in one case he handled all outside activities for the business whereas I handled everything internal. In another case, he handled all sales and I handled all marketing. So making sure that your responsibilities are separate and your areas are separate and the people working in those areas answer to you and that there’s not a whole lot of crisscrossing, respecting those boundaries.

Also setting some limits on the business talk at home. If you find that business talk is overwhelming every conversation and causing conflict, it’s important to say, “You know what, once we get to 7:00 at night, there’s no more mention about business,” or whatever time that you want to set there but making those limits and saying it’s not going to happen.

Another thing that you can do is really important in keeping respect between you and your family members is letting the other person do their job. They have that job for a reason and respecting their abilities and allowing them to do it without questioning them which that can be an easy thing to do to question. So just letting them have their spot and don’t invite more family members in if you don’t have to.

There’s unique situations that come up when you’re working with your family and you don’t want to bring in more cousins and more sisters and more brothers. If you have, you know, one family member that you’re working with or two, just leave it there and don’t bring in more unless you really need them.

And make sure that all expectations on financial compensation, on ownership, and on the duties involved are in writing because that can be something that can get very tricky and disagreements about money can really break up a family quickly. So making sure that, you know what, if you said you have 30% ownership, that’s in writing somewhere. If you said you’re going to get 50% of the profits, that’s in writing somewhere and then it eliminates the emotional aspect to it.

So those are some pitfalls that you can avoid when you’re dealing with family business.