Family businesses have formed a significant part of the American business community since the nation started in the late 1700s. The most classic example is the mom and pop grocery store down on Main Street, but as times have changed, family owned businesses have changed as well. One of the ways that businesses have changed lately is that more and more are becoming eCommerce businesses. While you could run it on your own, you may find a great benefit in involving your family in your eCommerce business. You will just want to bear in certain keys to avoid it from causing problems.
Remember to Use Each Family Member’s Strengths
Each of your family members will have different strengths. It’s important for the success of your business to use the strengths that each person has. You may have to translate these traits though. For instance, someone who is good with people and who might have made a great cashier could be better suited to assisting with customer service or handling the personal side of marketing. Someone who is great at organizing inventory in a physical store might also be good at managing the inventory online as well.
Clearly Establish the Rules
One of the biggest reasons that family based eCommerce businesses fail is because there are no rules. The different family members all work toward achieving the business goals, but they are not on the same page. There may be no clear chain of command, or it may be such a thing that there is no clarity about what should be done. It’s important that everyone involved understands the rules of the business. For instance, if you have a particular way that the order fulfillment process should be set up and processed, this needs to be made clear to everyone in the family.
The other thing you must remember is that rules should be applied to everyone. One of the best ways to demoralize non related employees is to have separate rules for family members.
Maintain Clear Communication
In addition to clearly establishing rules, it’s important to make sure that the lines of communication between all family members remain open. This goes for both the good and the bad. A lot of times, family members are quick to share criticisms but slow to encourage. Make sure that if your family members do something well that you acknowledge it. Of course, in other cases, the opposite may be true, and you may find it harder to criticize. Encouragement remains even more important in this situation, and you may find that the Oreo trick works best. To accomplish this, you sandwich a criticism with two specific pieces of encouragement.
Another way that you can keep communication flowing is to have regular meetings. Business meetings ensure everyone is on the same page. It also provides a forum for sharing concerns and offering new ideas. If your family members are scattered across the country, you can still host these meetings through Skype or Google hangout.