‘A man should never neglect his family for business’- Walt Disney
After listening to the wonderful Nick Brown, business guru on Radio 2, I decided to write about my own experiences when working for our family business.
I took over the business many years ago when my father became ill.
It was a difficult decision to make. I was only young at the time, about to go to university, but it felt like the right decision to make.
Before my father became ill, I witnessed my father work very hard helping to provide a lovely lifestyle for the family.
And now I do the same. (My wife and kids though may differ on their versions of ‘lovely lifestyle’)
I work very hard, sometimes meaning I have to work late into the evening or leave early in the morning. Just this morning I was up and out before the children were awake and last night I arrived home after they were put to bed.
However, the sacrifice is worth it. It is rare that I work these silly hours, but needs must. The business is growing, slowly, but growing.
And now my wife is helping too. I cannot stress ‘helping’ enough.
So, in any one one day, in the office/workshop there will be myself, my dad and my wife. My mum might even pop in and join the party too.
When everyone is on form and has a specific task, working with family members works well. Everyone just has to realise that you are all family and that you cannot work under the usual ‘rules’ of office/ retail shop life. There cannot be a strict management system as people get upset. A mutual respect is essential.
My wife and I try to instil the ‘no work at home’ rule, but it is impossible to uphold. We can be sat working on our website, or discussing the direction of the business whilst some Netflix boxset is playing in the background (current favourite is as we missed it the first time, lots of lovely watches in it!)
Working so closely with family means that there is always someone there who will support and love you no matter what. This unconditional love makes be bolder and stronger.
There is always someone there who will tell you the honest truth, no matter how difficult (or blunt the retort maybe). This lack of ‘yes people’ is essential for me to move my business forward and has built up a strong bond of trust.
There is always someone who will tell you when you are wrong!
There is always someone who will make me a lemsip when I am feeling a bit rubbish (but if I ask for a cup of tea, I receive the death stare!)
Whilst extremely rewarding, working with family can be extremely difficult, for many of the same reasons that are beneficial.
It can be impossible to switch off, especially when at home someone keeps talking about work related matters. (Thank goodness you can stop and rewind TV now!)
When someone, including myself, has made a mistake it is embarrassing and at times emotional, as so much is invested in the business.
There are arguments, there are tears and tantrums (not just from the toddlers).
There are no sick days and only short breaks providing there is WiFi.
All these cons are outweighed by the pros and whilst they continue to, we will continue with the family business, with the focus on family and not just business.
The most difficult part of working with my wife? She often hums along to songs on the radio which drives me crazy…..
But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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This post was written by The Repairs By Post Team