In any economy, family businesses play a fundamental role by creating job opportunities and building active communities. Thus these businesses become economic powerhouse and help in the growth of the society and nation, as a whole. Researches show that family businesses contribute to 50% of America’s gross domestic product, more than 75% of all new job creation and 60% of the nation’s total employment.
There are certain benefits of working in a family business like sharing risks and responsibilities, discussing confidential matters with near and dear ones, those whom you can trust. Along with these benefits, there are some risks associated with family business. You might be interested in such business as you can start working from an early age. Wait! Before taking that move you must consider some important factors. After all, this one decision can change your life and career goals for better or for worse.
1. Do you really want to join?
When your family is involved in a business for generations or for some years, it is expected that you will also join the business. If you are interested in the business and think that the business will satisfy your career goals, you must join it. But if it is for mere familial obligation and to satisfy others, you must not take this step. Remember the right reasons behind your decision-making will provide you peace of mind and satisfaction in the future.
2. Do you like the people and vice versa?
Think practically whether you will be able to work with those involved in the business. There may be two or three persons whom you may not like; this is okay. But if you do not get along with most of the people you’ll be dealing with, you must reconsider your decision. For example, you may belong to the younger generation and wants to work with people of your father’s or grandfather’s ages. The older lot may treat you as a kid and not take your decisions seriously. Will that be okay with you? On the other hand, it may also happen that they will treat you as an equal.
Again you must be aware of the business culture, ethics and the rules in general. If you like the existing rules and ideologies prevailing in the business, you may join. If you do not like the core values of the company and possess good feelings for your relatives, it may lead to serious issues in the future that may eventually ruin the business. Thus everything will depend on your relationship with your family members and how both the parties complement each other.
3. What will be your salary?
You need to figure out your salary and other benefits, if any. You may think that they are family and they will surely think the best for you. Well, we are not against your family. But you need to know how much you will earn so that you can plan for your savings and expenses. Let’s take a scenario for example. It may be your father’s business, you may have siblings who have been working for many years and you have decided to leave your present job and join the family business. You may not earn as much as your siblings since you are new to this field. But you must have an idea of your earnings so that you can take care of your spouse and kids in the present and save for future also.
4. What is the future of the business?
You must do enough research about the company’s viability. For whatever motive you want to join, may be to save the company from huge losses, to make a career change or simply to satisfy your goals and interests, you must carefully analyse how healthy the business is at present and what heights it can achieve in the future from the revenue perspective.
5. Can you deal with some pre-conceived notions?
Every society is obsessed with some pre-conceived notions. The society may call you a ‘lucky person’ who hasn’t labored much to be where you are now; whatever you are, is simply because of what your forefathers have achieved. Again you may be compared to your father every now and then. Thus it may be difficult for you to establish your own identity although you may be really working too hard.
6. Are you aware of all the investments, share ownership and stock holdings?
Having knowledge of investments, shares, stocks and other conditions of the business is very essential. Once you join the business, you will not be able to alter certain things. In many situations, you may find yourself in the midst of nowhere. For example, you give 15 or 20 years of your life to the business only to learn that your siblings, who are not involved with the business, have huge shares.
7. What are the primary marketing strategies of the family business?
No good business can thrive without marketing. In this technology-driven world, marketing has gained new dimensions. Is your family business marketed rightly using the latest technologies? If your family members are holding tight to primitive marketing tactics, you must show least interest in joining such business.
8. What is better- job or business?
Think, consider and reconsider before it’s too late. Family business is not for everyone; again not everyone is pleased with nine-to-five routine job. So what do you prefer? Talk with your friends, relatives or a career counsellor who may guide you in taking the best decision.
9. Can you inherit the business? If yes, when?
If the business belongs to your father, it is essential that you know about his future plans- when he is planning to retire and when you can actually inherit the business.
10. Can you personally guarantee the debts?
If your family business has some debts, you may be needed to personally guarantee those. Will you be able to take such risks?
People prefer family businesses as these have longevity. The family members can identify with the business. They work hard to keep the business alive and try to instil in their children the values of philanthropy, charity and the ability to earn own living from a young age. But before you get bewitched by the magic of family business, you must consider all the associated risks and move accordingly.