All Articles Tagged "Family business"

Family Business Reset: Tips For Working With Friends & Family

June 17th, 2014 - By Karen Taylor Bass
Share to Twitter Email This

Welcome to our weekly column, Reset. Written by Karen Taylor Bass, this column, published each Tuesday, is about life lessons learned and mastered mentally, spiritually, and physically and how they contribute to a successful life and career.



What’s the protocol for balancing business objectives with personal relationships?

Entrepreneurship is not an easy game—especially during an economic downturn. Most entrepreneurs are looking for a way to be strategic with their funds, and, many times that involves bartering, and hoping for a hookup from family and friends.

I am no different when it comes to looking for a hookup especially when your husband is an award-winning graphic designer and chief idea maker for a major corporation. I hired my husband to create a logo for my venture The Brand New Mommy, targeting savvy Black women seeking to renew and redefine their personal brand post childbirth. Who better to hire than someone who understands and has witnessed my struggle first hand?

Well, this business relationship with my husband was less than ideal. I was not pleased with the way he handled the project, which led to a tense household for many days. Family members always feel they have limitless entitlement and no boundaries simply because there is a personal connection.

Is it possible to get priority treatment and respect when you decide to work with friends and family? How do you press reset and move past the “personal” feelings and ensure that the experience will be fruitful for all?

Here are my eight tips when considering working with family/friends:

1. Ask questions first. Have a to-do list of what you want to accomplish and find out whether they have time for your project.
2. Offer compensation for services. It’s best to agree on an exact dollar amount so there’s no misunderstanding.
3. Get the terms in writing and sign a contract. This is a business transaction and a contract solidifies that.
4. Conduct business during office hours only. Don’t mix business and pleasure.
5. Set meetings outside of the home. A different environment sets the appropriate tone. Neither side should be so comfortable they don’t take the business at hand seriously.
6. Manage expectations. The work still need to be top-notch, even if you are close personally.
7. Check your tone. It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.
8. Be appreciative of the service.

Reset for working with family/friends: Be clear on what you expect and can offer as it relates to compensation and deliverables. This is business agreement and it should be treated as such. The moment things get to personal is the moment that problems arise.

What are your thoughts about working with family and friends?

Karen Taylor Bass is a best-selling author, PR Expert and understands that life only gets better when you press RESET. Follow her @thebrandnewmom

The Family Hustle: Do Business & Blood Mix?

March 14th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
Share to Twitter Email This

Welcome to our new column “Mommy Mogul”! This weekly article will cover issues of importance to moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.



As the first person in my family to start a business, I often get asked whether or not I would ever consider an entrepreneurial venture with them.

In two simple words, “Hell no.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my family and would walk across hot coals for them. I just wouldn’t mix business with blood. We are not the Braxtons, T.I and Tiny and definitely not the Kardashians, though I do tip my hat off to clans that are able to collect coins in a joint hustle. Many people don’t realize the strains that running your own business can put on you. And when you try to add a loved one into the mix it has a high probability of turning all types of sour.

For one thing family is not like a regular Joe or Jane you find off the street to fill a position in your company, and that’s assuming you aren’t going into a partnership where everyone has equal say. There are deeper feelings involved that make separating work from your personal life a little hard to do. Even if everyone involved has the best intentions I have seen too many fights about what happened in the office and who isn’t doing what spill into family gatherings. Did you really just invite me over to bear witness to you and your sister arguing about business that should stay within your business? “How could you do me like that? I am your flesh and blood!”

Even though family and business doesn’t work for me that doesn’t mean it can’t work at all. In fact, some of the most successful businesses are in the hands of family members with a shared vision. If you are interested in partnering up there are a few things you might want to consider.

Choose wisely. As much as you love your mother, sibling or relative that does not make them a great business partner. Be honest with yourself about their capabilities.

Set expectations early. Are they going to be a partner or one of your employees? Make sure you set your expectations early to prevent any assumption and confusion. If  you are the boss, they have to respect that, period.

Handle your business like business. One of the biggest reasons why people find themselves wrapped up in drama is they didn’t treat their family member like another employee. The second you pull away from how you would normally handle business, lines get blurred. Draw up contracts and put all of your cards on the table. Failure to do so could land you on an episode of The People’s Court.

Support each other’s endeavors. Rather than start a venture with one of my family members I actually like the idea of supporting their entrepreneurial goals, which leaves the door open to collaborating without tons of red tape.

Pay attention to unhealthy signs. If you start to notice that things just aren’t working out stop and address the situation before it turns into a catastrophe. Even if it hurts, it’s better to walk away early.

It’s A Family Affair: 10 Businesses You Can Start With Your Family

December 3rd, 2013 - By Rochelle Burnley
Share to Twitter Email This


Family… you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. However, one thing you can do with them is start a successful business. Family businesses have the ability to be lucrative if approached the right way — that means everyone has a designated role to play so the business runs like a well-oiled machine right from the start, with everyone having a vested interest in the business making it.

A family business that proves to be successful and healthy is one that promotes unity, offers each family member an area of expertise or a place to grow, and provides a positive culture for the customer. Let’s take a look at some family businesses that afford you the opportunity to do these things and bring your family closer.

All In The Family: The Ins And Outs of Working For The Family Business

September 10th, 2013 - By Blair Bedford
Share to Twitter Email This


Joining or taking over the family business could be either problematic or a huge success for your career, depending on how you look at it. Some see it as an opportunity to learn the tricks of the trade from their parents and to eventually own the business themselves. Some see it as the last resort in their professional journey, avoiding the family company at all costs. Here are the good, the bad, the ins, and the outs of working for your parents.

Welcome To The Family Business: 9 Stars Who Followed Their Parents Footsteps To Stardom

April 12th, 2013 - By Kendra Koger
Share to Twitter Email This

Trying to find out what you want to do with your life can be hard.  But it’s good when your family is in a certain business because it can open up doors for you or inspire you to follow in their footsteps.  This is definitely true for celebrities who had a talent and followed in their parents’ footsteps of performing. Here are a list of a few celebs who were influenced by their parents talent to pursue their dreams in acting and music.


Photo Credit: Judy Eddy/


Though her father was a pastor, he was also a Jazz musician who performed in clubs at night.  His talent for music rubbed off on his daughter who also performed in the church choir, and of course, sings and performs all over now.

Is It Possible for a Celebrity to Make It These Days Without a Reality Show?

January 21st, 2013 - By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
Share to Twitter Email This

Tamar Braxton is having her moment in the spotlight thanks to reality TV. Jennings/PictureGroup via AP IMAGES

Tamar Braxton is having her moment in the spotlight thanks to reality TV. Jennings/PictureGroup via AP IMAGES

In her instantly viral Golden Globes coming out speech, actor/director Jodie Foster remarked: “Now, I’m told, apparently every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and prime time reality show.”

Indeed, back in the day, though gossip mags did their best to publicize celebs’ private lives and scandalous business, stars could get away with separating their person from their persona. Before Being Bobby Brown, for example, viewers had no real idea who Whitney Houston was beyond the honey-voiced, modelesque ingénue Clive Davis and Arista Records put forth.

Veteran music publicist Tresa Sanders has worked with Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Common, Mary J. Blige, Keyshia Cole, Wu-Tang, Bootsy Collins, Nelly Furtado, and Snoop Dogg among others. She says, “In the past the artists that worked were ones that, for the most part, had good product, a really good strategic press plan and a person that implemented it well. Back then it was just the telephone and the fax in regard to communicating with a media outlet so you had to have someone that was a bull dog and at the same time creative. Someone that really was able to come up with angles and a great story.”

Today, not so much. The price of entry to stardom — and the pass to stay there — seems to be full and constant disclosure across a combination of platforms from Twitter to Instagram to reality shows.

Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta castmember K. Michelle told being on the show boosted her career tremendously. “For three years I was singing my little heart out, and y’all was not hearing,” she says of her struggle to find an audience before she went on the show. “Look, I even tried to leak [an] unclothed picture, y’all still didn’t hear. Lord have mercy. Everybody else was doing it… you still didn’t care to hear me sing. And all I wanted was my voice to be heard, my story.”

She continues, “So this show, even though I’ve caught a lot of backlash, I wasn’t selling out shows then. Now I am… Love and Hip Hop has been great for my career.”

The Smith Family: Continuing To Leverage Familial Bonds

February 7th, 2012 - By C. Cleveland
Share to Twitter Email This

While gossip columnists are planting seeds of the power couple’s demise, personal drama doesn’t seem to be slowing down the Smith clan’s family business. Will and Jada Smith recently announced they would venture into the reality show industry with a partnership with Simon Cowell, the executive producer behind X Factor and America’s Got Talent. The Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment along with SYCO Entertainment and Sony Pictures Televisions will launch a reality competition series searching for the world’s best DJ. The production companies will launch the format, which is expected to be shopped internationally and domestically.

After almost 15 years of marriage, it’s no surprise that some are wondering when the couple will fizzle. Their union has lasted an eternity by Hollywood standards and if there has been any trouble in paradise, it hasn’t made its way to credible headlines. Tabloids and blogs have been speculating about a pending divorce since August, citing everything from on-set romances to disputes over how to manage their children’s career. In addition to its newest venture, Overbrook Entertainment manages the careers and projects of Will and Jada as well as their rising star offspring, Jaden and Willow Smith.

Managing a relationship where professional and personal interests overlap, as Will and Jada’s does, is a challenge. Thus far, the Smiths have managed to make it look easy. But, regardless of the state of this Hollywood marriage, managing a family business is no easy task.

Statistics show that fewer than 30 percent of family businesses survive to the second generation, and just 10 percent make it to the third. This may sound discouraging, but keep in mind those are far better odds than the average small business. Family businesses have an advantage over the competition, because tight-knit management and invested employees are the key to a successful, resilient company.

The main cause of issues in a family business is when interests don’t align. Whether it’s the interest of one family member not aligning with another or interests of the entire family not aligning with the interests of the business.  A few proactive steps can be taken to quell these issues before they impact your success:

  • Set Rules – Rules are just as important in business as they are in a home. A start-up usually requires a business plan and mission statement. A family business might not require these formal documents; however, drafting agreements and expectations will prevent confusion about the vision and direction of the business.
  • Plan for the Future – Long-term planning must be considered before the business is launched. This is a way to make sure everyone’s vision for the business is aligned.  The more detail, the better. This is especially beneficial when going into business with a significant other. Think of it as a business prenuptial agreement. Document what is expected of each person and how profits and losses will be divided.
  • Define Roles and Relationships – A simple job description defining what each person does in the business can go a long way in preventing confusion and friction. Family relationships will have an impact on the office. There is no getting around it. But, having job descriptions and setting aside time for business meetings instead of talking shop over the dinner table keeps the line between personal and professional from blurring.

Running a family business can be hard, but it can have great rewards. Leveraging the power of familial bonds has proved to be a successful business strategy, and not just for the Smith clan. Samsung, Ford, Wal-Mart, and the Trump Organization all started as family businesses. Your family can easily be next.

Cortney Cleveland is a public relations practitioner and freelance culture & business writer working in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter @CleveInTheCity.

Visa Troubles and Mounting Debt Leads Woman to Start Kilt Business

January 16th, 2012 - By Charlotte Young
Share to Twitter Email This

steve and jessica austin

Seven years in the UK comprised of study, work and marriage wasn’t enough to convince UK officials to allow Namibian native Jessica Austin to stay in Britain. The Advertiser reports that in 2008 she faced expulsion from her home and family as the government argued she was no longer eligible to stay in the UK. After years of fighting the accusations, Austin won, and recently launched her own kilt business.

Jessica married her Scottish husband Steven Austin in 2007 and shortly after, she renewed her paperwork to stay in the country. But a year later, the government declared she had failed to renew her visa due to a timing and payment issue. The couple was shocked as Jessica faced separation from her husband and five-year-old daughter Milan. She was told she would have to start her visa process again–from Namibia.

Jessica was determined not to go without a fight. With the help of local newssource the Advertiser, the family won. In 2010 Jessica secured an indefinete leave status from Britain. Unfortuantely, the battle did not end without leaving devestating scars.

“We lost our house during the 10 months of fighting for my paperwork and I had to give up my job, but we had to pay our immigration lawyers,” Jessica told The Advertiser.

Jessica and her family didn’t let their finanical woes stop them. To help pay for their legal fees and mounting debt, the couple began to export Scottish tartan to her native homeland, where it is considered a luxury.

“At first we made eight at a time to see if they’d sell, but now we’ve launched a website and have already had 3000 hits from all over the world since it launched just weeks ago,” Jessia said.

Together the couple created Kahere Kilts, which now sells Scottish kilts for men and women in various fabrics and materials.

“We’re both still working and putting in long hours with the kilt company,” she said. “It’s amazing that we’ve found a new business out of everything that happened.”

7 Family Show Biz Partnerships That Came to a Sudden End

August 20th, 2011 - By TheEditor
Share to Twitter Email This

By Tarice Gray

In show business it’s hard to know who to trust.  As a result, many celebrities hire family and friends to help them navigate the journey toward success. For some that decision hasn’t worked out for the best. But no matter how successful the partnership, some are doomed to fail.  Family feuds in Hollywood are not uncommon, and when it comes to money, many will love you today and sue you tomorrow.  Here’s The Atlanta Post’s list of some of the family business alliances that have fizzled.


Beyonce and Dad

Mega star Beyonce Knowles owes much of her success to her father Matthew Knowles. He managed her career from the time she was a teen phenom and member of the ultra-successful group, Destiny’s Child. But just weeks ago the Grammy Award-winning singer fired her dear old dad.  It seems members of Beyonce’s camp reported that the elder Knowles stole from his uber wealthy offspring.  Although they both pledge their family bond holds strong, the professional end of their relationship remains a matter for the courts.

Put Your Kids to Work for Your Business

July 8th, 2011 - By TheEditor
Share to Twitter Email This

(Wall Street Journal) — Do you remember your childhood summer job?  I do. I worked in my family business—a funeral home. From the time I was five, my parents found ways for me to “help out.” My first responsibility was to collect broken flowers from funeral sprays so my mother could easily vacuum. It might sound morbid—but it was a way for my parents to spend time with me, instead of dropping me off with a baby sitter. And I learned some invaluable lessons about work ethic along the way.  As we head into summer, some small-business owners with school-aged children are probably facing a difficult dilemma. How do you meet the 24/7 demands of running a business, while simultaneously spending quality time with your children?

Read More…