Sunday, August 9, 2020
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Striking the Balance Between the Family and the Family Business

When you find yourself faced with decisions in which one choice has you sacrificing your business and the other has you sacrificing your family, you – like most other family business owners – are struggling with work-life balance. This is a difficult issue for so many family business owners because family blends into business, and business into family. There may be times when you don’t even seem to know where one ends and the other begins.

Sure, when you own your business, you get to fulfill a lifelong dream and be your own boss. You may even have flexible hours. But owning a family business adds more stress to your life already, as 44% of MassMutual family business survey respondents agreed. And 56% of respondents indicate that they are continually working on striking a balance between family and work. And it’s no wonder that it’s difficult. After all, 44% of family business owners frequently discuss work at home. Almost all work on weekends and use their mobile devices to conduct work in the bedroom and at the dinner table.

When you fail to balance your work with your family, it shows. Your work can suffer, but even worse, your family can suffer, too. Maintaining the proper balance between family life and family business is about establishing boundaries and utilizing resources. This entails creating specific rules about separation of work and family and making time for focusing solely on each:

  • Establish schedules for work tasks and for family time – and stick to it. During work time, don’t bring up family drama, and don’t discuss work at the dinner table.
  • Devote time to nurturing your relationship with your spouse and other family business partners away from work. This may mean scheduling a regular date night or outing, during which no business should be discussed.
  • Let family be family first. If you have young children, encourage them to discover for themselves what they want to do, as if you had no family business. And above all, spend time with them.
  • Give yourself some distance. If you find that you are sacrificing everything for your family business, it may be time to step back and seek the advice and assistance of outside professionals. You may find that you could actually enjoy the freedom that could come from hiring a strong management team.
  • Utilize mobile technology. Never before have family business professionals been able to stay connected to work while doing just about anything. But only use it for important business issues; otherwise, you’re not wholly present for your work or for your family. Mobile technology should allow you to take part in important family events, rather than keep you from enjoying them – so establish rules for your technology use as well.

Finding a balance that enables you to nurture your personal relationships without putting a strain on your business may be difficult – and you’ll find that it will always take work – but it will always be worth it.

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