Home > Mom's Life > Family Relationships > Dealing With In-Laws > Key Rules for Running a Family Business

Key Rules for Running a Family Business

In This Article:

Page 1

Relatives working in a family business can prevent resentment, rancor, and ruin by setting down a series of rules -- and then following them. Here are five key rules to ensure that your family business operates as smoothly as possible. (By the way; it may not be too late to set these rules into motion, even if the business is already long established.)

Don't Go There

In a family-managed company, relatives are always "top management," whatever their official job or title. Remember, on Saturday evenings they're the ones schmoozing around the boss's dinner table.

Family Matters

The rules set forth for the family business depend on the family's philosophy, mission, size, industry, and resources available. Those guidelines must be consistent with the family's values.

Don't Go There

In-laws may act too tough on each other so as to not show favoritism or act too wussy because of the relationship, especially during trainee time. QED: Try not to have in-laws train in-laws.

The Rules:

  1. Have set rules for hiring all employees -- especially in-laws.

  2. Make sure everyone knows the rules. The rules are not intended to be family secrets, like Uncle Joe's Kathie Lee-and-Frank moment, your mother-in-law's tendency to nip at the cooking sherry, or your brother-in-law's thing about ladies' underwear.

  3. Apply the rules as fairly as possible to every in-law. (Let's not kid ourselves; in-laws are usually going to be treated differently from the hoi polloi. And "differently" better mean "better" or you'll be hearing from Aunt Edna in the morning.)

  4. There must be a way to adjust the rules to deal with changing business situations -- like a decision to stop manufacturing slide rules, black-and-white TVs, or Edsels.

  5. Everyone must be notified if the rules change. (See rule #2.)

    What factors should you consider when you write the rules? Here are some of the most important ones:

    • When and under what circumstances can in-laws enter the business?

    • What experience and education are required?

    • Will they fill a vacant position or can a position be created for them?

    • Do they need to be a certain age to be employed in the business?

    • Do they need to retire at a certain age?

    • Is re-entry possible after a voluntary or involuntary exit? (Due to childrearing, attendance at graduate school, jail time, liposuction, argument with family members, etc.)

    • Is part-time work permitted?

Next: Page 2 >>

More on: Family Finances


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Dealing with In-Laws © 1998 by Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks