Going into business with your nearest and dearest is often something many people are reluctant to do. Remember the old saying “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?” Well, when it comes to family, for many a business venture is considered just a little too close for comfort, with everything from disagreements to legal disputes at risk of tearing professional prospects and family relationships apart.
However, what many don’t realise is that if done in the right way, family can offer a strong support system both at home and in the workplace. No one understands this better than Yorkshire-based and family run personalised wrapping paper company DomandGeri.com, because when it comes to their online offerings, their products aren’t the only thing to get a personal touch.
After inspiration struck during a conversation between father and son, a business idea developed and now, five years on, the family and their business are still going strong. So what’s their secret to finding success as a family-run setup and how do they overcome the ups and downs that come with working and living so close together?
Dominic Copsey named the business after his son and daughter who now happily take the reins with the firm, yet the trio are the first to admit it isn’t always easy. There are, however, a few core values they stick to that any family can learn from before embarking on a business venture together.
Focus on your customers
As with any business it is imperative to keep customer satisfaction at the forefront of what you do. If you lose sight of this as your main business objective, you will risk losing what you’ve set out to achieve and put not only your family relationships at risk, but your company as a whole.
Dom and Geri have experienced first-hand the dynamics of working with family members across the generations; as young Dom explains:
“Keeping our customers happy is an integral part of the services we offer. Not only does this mean making ourselves available to assist with orders, but also ensuring that our offerings evolve to accommodate our customers’ needs and allow us to compete with growing industry trends.”
Work towards the same goals
Good, clear communication can have a positive impact on any business. Whatever happens in or out of office hours, it’s always important to support each other. Often some relatives can feel left out and neglected, so always make time to come together as a unit to discuss important developments within the company and to make decisions that are likely have an impact on everyone involved.
Both Dom and Geri admit to shoptalk being regular topic of conversation at the family dinner table and Geri says it’s important to take time out:
“Having regular catch-ups and meetings allows everyone to understand what role they play within the business and what is expected from them. We also like to get everyone’s input but always make sure we take time-out to spend together too.”
Be realistic about expectations
Family businesses can draw strength from recognizing that every family member will have something different to offer. Play on each other’s strengths and work together to support each other’s weaknesses. Not everyone will be cut out for the job and some may find it more challenging to take orders from family members than others. Give each other space when it is needed and always be open, honest and respectful to help keep everyone on the right track.
So there you have it. Whilst there is no quick secret to family business success, always remember to focus on what brought you working together in the first place. With family at the heart and soul of what you do, whatever level of success you achieve, you can always be sure that you will celebrate it together.