Family values: five tips to starting a business with a sibling

Running a business with a sibling can be so rewarding, but it doesn’t come without its challenges; how can you keep family squabbles from the board room, and monthly figures from the dinner table?

 

Confectionary savvy sisters, Abbey Baker and Kelly Jamieson, launched Edible Blooms back in 2005. Fast forward 12 years and Edible Blooms is now a leading company in Australia and New Zealand with bouquets being delivered to a home or an office every two minutes.

 

 

Now, with their desire to spread joy to the world, Kelly and Abbey are taking everything they’ve learnt with Edible Blooms Down Under and are embarking on the next chapter of their global expansion. Under the new moniker of Gift Rebellion, they’re bringing their gifting differently ethos to the UK.

 

Here, the sisters provide five tips for anybody wishing to start a business with a family member to ensure you foster a great work/life balance.

 

 

  1. Less personal, more professional

One of the most important aspects when working with a family member is that, from the very get go, you make sure you act like business partners. All important business or legal documents should be created with your business hat on. This may feel uncomfortable at times, but it is so important to maintain a level of professionalism.

 

 

  1. Play to each other’s strengths and weaknesses

Identify each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so you can assign clear responsibilities. If there is something that your sibling is good at, allow them to take the lead. The key here is to communicate effectively once those roles and responsibilities have been assigned, that way you won’t be stepping on each other’s toes. Maybe you’re better at marketing, whereas your sibling might be a numbers person? As long as you trust each other to get the job done and always do what’s best for the company, it’ll be smooth sailing.

 

 

  1. Clarity is key

Be sure to clarify everyday work processes such as who can make decisions, who is involved and the steps that need to be taken. This may sound simple, but it will avoid the drama in the future.

 

 

  1. Keep work and play separate

It’s easy for the lines between work and play to become blurred, so ensure you set some clear boundaries which will allow you to maintain not just strong business relationship, but a sibling one too. For example, agree to not talk about personal matters, whether they are good or bad, during the nine to five and vice versa, try to keep business chat away from the dinner table where possible. Doing this will ensure you strike the right balance of work and play.

 

 

  1. Have an external mentor

It’s crucial to have an external expert who can act as the middle person in tricky situations, as well as being a neutral sounding board for ideas. Make sure you choose somebody you both trust to be honest with you and, of course, somebody that will challenge you both every step of the way.

 

 

  1. Bonus tip: enjoy every minute of it!

Going into business with a family member can be a great idea, because who knows you better than a sibling? Working with people you like, trust and enjoy being around can be a recipe for great business success, so make the most of it and when the going gets tough, always remember why you did it in the first place.

Author: Kate Thomas

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