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Franchising with Family: Tips for Going into Business with Family Members

  • October 15, 2016

Although franchise ownership won’t require you to invest as much money as it would take to get a business off the ground in the more traditional manner (starting your company from scratch without an established brand backing you), you’re still going to require a significant amount of capital to get started. Because of this, you may be thinking about investing in a franchise along with a family member—such as a sibling or a cousin—or even with several family members.

This may seem like a great idea because it will reduce the amount of money you’ll be responsible for investing. And why wouldn’t you want to have a family member as a business partner? If you can’t trust your family, then whom can you trust?

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However, keep in mind that if you encounter obstacles, they could put a huge strain on your relationship. If you’re thinking about going into franchise ownership with a family member as a partner, then follow these tips to make sure things go smoothly and that you don’t put your relationship at risk:

1. Make Sure Your Visions Align with Franchise Ownership

Speak to your family member about your vision for the franchise and your business values. If you’re not on the same page about the direction you want to take the business and how you want to get it there, you shouldn’t go into business together.

2. Communicate Clearly

Communication is key. Never assume that your family member knows what you’re thinking, doing, or planning just because you’re related. Communication is just as important as if your business partner were not related to you. Before deciding to go into business together, speak with each other about your duties and responsibilities so that everyone knows what’s expected of them.

Communication will be vital throughout your franchise ownership. Small problems should be addressed immediately to avoid growing resentment or anger, which can cause strain in both your personal and business relationships. Remember that communication is equal parts speaking and listening, so if your family member has something to say, step back and listen.

3. Set Expectations before Investing

Sit down with your family member and determine each investor’s expectations—for example, how much each member is investing and how much time each partner is expected to commit to running the franchise. The last thing you want is for your family member to be a hands-off absentee owner, forcing you to do all the work. Make sure expectations are clear and are written down. By writing them down in contract form, you can avoid serious headaches in the future.

4. Don’t Play the Blame Game

If things start going wrong, don’t be quick to point fingers. The most important thing is to find a solution to the problem. Trying to assign blame is going to create a division between you and your family member that will make it extremely difficult to both mend your relationship and come up with a solution to your problem.

Be sure to think hard about whether it’s worth going into business with a family member. Weigh the pros and cons instead of diving in headfirst. If you decide to pursue franchise ownership with a family member, keep these tips in mind. To find out about our franchise ownership opportunities, contact us at Marble Slab Creamery today.

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