Many small businesses are family owned and operated.
Others are started by families and then grew into corporations. It is no mystery that these businesses involve family members working together and many of these families are faith-based in some capacity. While the idea of being able to work, live, and prosper together is appealing to some, others say they would never be able to endure working with their spouse or family.
If you dream of working with your family in your own company, remember that what shows up in your personal life will ALWAYS show up in your business. There is no way around it.
For our family, business has been the tool God used to make us stronger, wiser, and ultimately, wealthier. It definitely was not easy. Nothing of value is. But it was most certainly worth it.
When I surveyed the more than 900,000 people who follow me on social media about their challenges in working with family, this is what they said they struggled with:
• Not knowing where business stops and family begins. Constant talk about business can create stress.
• When one person is the boss, family members resent the corporate structure that does not exist in the family unit.
• One spouse is a visionary and the other is negative, which creates increased tension in the marriage.
• Financial challenges within the family now include financial stresses from the business.
• Having to deal with things that have been buried or denied in the family relationship.
Yet, the list of blessings is just as long as the list of challenges, including:
• Being able to be with the ones we love.
• Seeing the kids grow up and learning life with mom and dad.
• Ability to control cash flow and not depend on another company's success or failure.
• Growing stronger as a team spiritually, physically, and financially.
• Being able to make decisions for your own career, time and future.
I have worked in my own business for 18 years. Sixteen of those years were from my own home office. I’ve worked with other small business owners, large corporations and everything in between. During the last three years, my entire family has joined me. I prayed for 15 years for this kind of reality to be called "our life" and it’s my dream to help others fulfill their dreams.
So how do we make faith and family work at work? Here are five ways:
1. Define what you want for your own home and business.
At the end of the day you are the one who lives with your choices. Just because someone else does not want to talk about business at home does not mean it is a toxic choice if it works for you. We have had some of our most powerful discussions and have made historic growth in our company right at the kitchen table over a meal with our team.
2. Keep your business and personal finances separate.
If your personal funds will be used to start your business, allocate a specific amount and then transfer it to a business account. Take regular draws for your salary and make decisions as a family for the business. Keep your bank accounts separate from the beginning. Transferring funds over between the two accounts is OK and normal, but do not operate business and personal together in one account.
3. Just because a position is available or the company needs someone to fill it doesn’t mean a family member has to do it.
In the beginning, it is normal to do whatever it takes to get the job done. The CEO will do everything initially and it is normal that everyone pitches in and does what is needed. But just because an opening is available and the family is running the company, it does not mean someone has to take a position they do not like or are not any good at. Happy teams are productive teams! Start outsourcing and hiring others outside the family! It will make you stronger and will also bring some challenges, which are GOOD for company growth!
4. Strive for relationship and connection over anything else.
Be willing to work through things. Talk through ALL of the hard things. This alone will build an iron-like connection that nothing can break! Be willing to laugh, cry, pray, talk, and everything in between. THIS is what builds a culture that lasts. People who cannot should not and would not be able to work there.
5. Put God at the forefront of everything you do.
His view of love in relationships is much better than ours. It WORKS in business and in family. Good will and good fortune go together like a hand in a glove. Heaven’s concept of integrity: 100% in all situations is healthier than the fragmented nonsense most people attempt to live. God can do things in our homes and our businesses that we cannot do.
It is my firm conviction that doing business, faith, and family together is the most incredible pursuit you will ever undertake.
It will be the hardest thing you ever do as well. The fruit of your labors, efforts, and willingness will be the incredible life you create.
Related: Why faith belongs in your workplace
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