How Siblings Successfully Launch and Grow Businesses Together
For most siblings, the adolescent years are a lot like a rollercoaster. There are high times, low times, surprising turns, exhilarating screams, and screeching halts. However, in most cases, siblings end up entering adulthood as close friends and companions. Sometimes this bond is so close that the end result is a sibling-launched business.
Sibling-Run Businesses: 4 Tips for Success
Sibling-run businesses aren’t exactly common, but they also aren’t as rare as you may think. There are tons of great stories out there about siblings – young and old – who have combined talents and passions and had major success.
Let’s take a look at some of the things they’ve done right, and what you can learn from them.
- Set Concrete Rules and Goals
It’s important that you work with your sibling to set concrete rules and tangible goals from the very start. Otherwise, it’s easy for two people who are comfortable with each other to let things slide.
If you want to study what this looks like, just take a look at David and Mike Appel. These two brothers are the co-founders of Related Garments, a men’s socks and underwear company that’s currently mixing things up in the fashion world. When you listen to their story, you’ll notice that everything they do is built on “the belief that too many men are ignoring a quick and effortless way to improve their style: upgrading their underwear.”
- Communicate Frequently
Few things are more important to a business than communication. From small things to critically important tasks, everything needs to be clearly discussed. When things go unsaid or issues aren’t discussed, the friction can become problematic.
“When you decide to listen and be honest with your words, you are both less likely to take things personally and get defensive, and you can continue to efficiently build your business,” says Lauren Jessen of The Huffington Post.
In order for communication to be healthy, it’s important that you both separate your personal differences from business issues. Even when the two of you are disagreeing about something outside of work, you can’t let it affect your openness within the business.
- Play to Each Other’s Strengths
The great thing about having a co-founder you know very well is that you know his strengths and weaknesses, and vice versa. This is something most founding teams have to find out as time passes.
Take Amy Rothstein and her brother Peter as an example of what this looks like in action. While Amy, the founder of Dona Chai, had a great idea for producing local chai in New York City, she didn’t have much of an idea about what to do. Thankfully, Peter was earning his business degree at the time the business was getting off the ground, and was able to become involved in this side of the operation. This combination of strengths created a very special company dynamic.
- Know When to Move On
Sometimes siblings start a successful business…and then things change. For one reason or another, what was once an awesome relationship may become an ineffective partnership.
While it may be the hardest thing you or your sibling will ever have to do, it’s imperative that you know when to walk away. Sometimes it’s best for one or both of you to step away and bring other people in. Remember, the greater good of the business and your sibling relationship is much more important than your pride.
We Are a Family
There’s something really special and meaningful about a family business. While there’s nothing easy about launching or growing a business – and tempers will certainly flare from time to time – having your brother or sister along for the ride can be extremely rewarding.
Remember to communicate early and often, and you’ll be just fine!