While family-owned businesses provide a powerful force in the U.S. business economy, owners are easily compromised when relatives who work together cause problems for the business.

An SBA blogger offers the following tips for managing the challenges of family-owned businesses (for more details go to tinyurl.com/k267mob).

The success of the business comes first. It helps to put controls around your business and avoid confusion about roles by:

  • Developing and communicating a clear business plan so everyone sings off the same song sheet.
  • Establishing a clear chain of command for decision-making. Be sure everyone know his or her role in the business.
  • Communicating clearly and often to help avoid confusion.

Managing a family business requires a strong person with thick skin who is tough enough to make the hard decisions and stick to them. Or consider hiring a non-family member to oversee day-to-day operations so you are free to work on strategy for future growth.

Families will always bicker. The trick is not to let it interfere with the business or rub off on non-family employees.

How do you remain objective? You cannot take sides and must communicate that you won’t let disagreements affect the business. Sometimes, a difficult family employee must be encouraged to find a new line of work or transfer to another location.

There is always that relative who needs a job but doesn’t really exhibit the aptitude or talent needed. Consider special training or mentorship by a non-family employee.

Plan now to ensure that the next generation continues to grow the business when you retire. Find out who is interested, mentor future leaders and make a transition plan.

You may need to plan the financial and legal steps of transferring business ownership if there is no future family leadership. SBA offers a guide for exiting a business at tinyurl.com/3labhh8

Diane Diamond is the vice president of media relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit group that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment at several locations. For more information, go to www.southernarizona.score.org, send email to mentoring@scoresouthernaz.org or call 505-3636.