Having a business within the family can seem a tricky balance to manage – after all, mixing work with play can sometimes end in tears. But, did you know that some of the biggest worldwide brands today started as family-run businesses? Renowned brands such as Boots which began as small-scale businesses fuelled by a family with a dream have now transformed into multi-million-pound franchises.
Whilst Bloom Baby Classes was founded as a one-woman band, many of our teachers have launched their classes alongside family members. Victoria Jennings, baby development specialist and our founder, discusses the importance of balancing work and play when launching alongside a relative.
1. Prioritise honesty
For a business partnership to succeed, there is nothing more important than honesty. As family members, you will both want what’s best for each other – but this doesn’t mean you need to put on a front for each other. Honesty is always the best policy and, if you want your relative to succeed as much as you do, it’s better to come together and honestly share what you think would be best for the future of your business.
As new business partners, it’s also better to work to each other’s advantage. Communicate
these strengths and shortcomings openly and honestly with each other and with your franchisor – this will help you formulate a plan to help your business thrive. Hannah-Mae Pinder, a teacher who launched her Bloom classes based in North Leeds and Wetherby alongside her mum in September 2022, has found what roles suit each of them. “Being a teacher is more physical than we thought it would be, and, with mum having MS, we’ve communicated honestly and found a dynamic that works for us – I do the back-to-back teaching sessions and she works more behind the scenes, helping to teach when our classes are busier.”
2. Keep an eye on your work-life balance
Even if you don’t live with your family member, it can be easy to make your whole relationship
about work. If you are working together for extended periods of time, the lines between your
professional and personal life can become blurred. This is why it’s crucial to make rules and stick to them, such as no discussion of work at family gatherings and no business strategy chats during your weekly coffee together. Appreciate your time together as relatives rather than colleagues. After all, having quality downtime ensures you’re not constantly in work mode and allows you to properly rest and relax.
3. Make things official
Whilst you might be the best of friends with your relative, it’s important not to let legalities slide – you will both need secure foundations in the business just in case something goes wrong. It’s important to remember that having a legal agreement doesn’t mean you don’t trust your family member. Instead, it simply means you are both aware of your responsibilities to the franchisor and each other. Whilst you are on this exciting new career path together, you also need to be covered – as a unit, and separately. It’s also important to be open to talking about finances too – you will both need clear business plans to ensure your targets are met and your business is a success.
“Franchising with your family is amazing, just make sure you know each other inside out and are willing to take the necessary steps to practically own the franchise together,” says Hannah. “Have the same values and be on the same page about the future of your business. Go into the partnership as equals and try to keep it that way – legally and personally.”