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Mother And Son Business Team Gives Tips On Running A Family Business

We've all heard how there can be certain pitfalls when it comes to running a family business, and how both the family unit and the business can both be put at risk when disputes arise. Budge and Linda Collinson of Infusion Sciences should know: the mother and son both work in the same company. As they say, "Just because you love your family member, doesn’t mean you can work with them". And it certainly doesn't help that in CEO Budge Collinson's case, mom works for him. It's a relatively rare but extremely challenging family and business dynamic, complicated by the fact Linda is already a successful entrepreneur, having started and sold a skin care line. To help other family run companies that may face the same quandary, Budge and Linda has started sharing their experiences by writing an advice column called Company Goals, Family Roles. Here are some of their tips to help your family business succeed:

1. Divided Roles.

Every person has a unique set of skills to bring to the table. Linda has experience in dealing with retail outlets and mass markets. Budge’s experience is in the product itself which leans towards sales.

2. Seek Outside Advice.

This is key in family business because certainly, family always has a biased opinion. Little things from approving designs, to tasting the actual product should be shared with outsiders. The truth hurts sometimes but it is best to hear the truth than to not. Family is honest with each other but they are also family, so to be absolutely sure you are getting an unbiased opinion, go outside the company, and family.

3. No Family Pictures in the Office.

This is a tool to set the boundaries with (family members) and make other employees feel comfortable that everyone is held to the same standard and expectation of results. "My mom may still have my baby pictures in her wallet or purse. As long as business associates don’t see it… we keep a fair and healthy environment," says Budge.

4. Professional Respect.

Make sure both of you have had professional accomplishments, before you start to work together. It makes it easier to respect each other in your designated roles as you come together. Linda views Budge as the boss, Budge views Linda as an expert in marketing and advertising.

5. Office Time is not Family Time.

Try to NEVER discuss family matters in the office or during office hours. That is the most important part. It is unfair to  employees and crosses the professional boundaries necessary for success. This is the hardest thing to do as a family member.   For more of such advice, check out Company Goals, Family Roles. [Image credit: Infusion Sciences]

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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