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By : Elizabeth Humbal, 02-18-2016

Family businesses make up the bulk of small to medium enterprises today and with the apparent difficulty in landing work at large corporations you might find yourself working at one. Needless to say the dynamics involving family owned businesses are unique whether you are an outsider or family member working there making it important to weigh the pros and cons before signing up to work there.


Working in a business run by your family is great because people you trust, who are typically focused on similar goals, will always surround you. Experts admit there is more authenticity in a family business, as family members tend to be freer and emotionally honest with one another, which leads to positive growth. The working environment tends to be slightly more relaxed as hours tend to be more flexible to personal needs and bosses are able to provide more personalized perks. Reaching important decisions is also frequently less complicated, as it is all about making other family members understand your goals.

Oftentimes, even key employees who are not related are treated as if they are family members, and given more compassion and understanding over personal issues, than would be experienced with an HR manager of a large firm. Likewise, employees tend to get more diverse assignments than they might receive at the same larger corporations. Within family businesses there can sometimes be an “all hands on deck” approach to solving problems and completing tasks. Because families typically work well collaboratively, this style tends to trickle down to the rest of the workforce. It can be quite encouraging to be a part of a business that relies on a range of your great skills.  


It might seem like working for family run businesses is the best thing aside from sliced bread, but there are some downsides also, that could deter even the most patient or ambitious person. 

Families business can often bring drama, due to the extend that it takes a negative toll on outsiders working there. Inevitably family disputes arise or those opinions that are so freely shared, will inevitably reach a negative escalation at some point. For this reason some people flatly refuse to work for family owned companies simply because they want no part in the daily drama. This includes members of the family! 

Climbing up the ranks to a leadership position can also be very hard unless you are one of the family members. The biggest downside to working for a family business is the risk it poses in the chance that it fails. Many workers have found themselves left out in the cold after the family companies they were working for failed to succeed and traditional employers refuse to hire them, given their experience is fitting to the traditional corporate environment. 

As mentioned earlier, a family run business requires its employees to wear many hats and while this can be good for you, it also takes significant time and concentration. You may find yourself sacrificing and devoting time to the job that you would have otherwise spent with your own family. In serious family run businesses, the family members work harder than hired hands to create a feeling of balance.

There can also be unfortunate results when family affairs take center stage during working hours. This can undermine the positive work environment and disrespect and discontent from outsiders. If you are hired to work for a family business, it can be tempting you to get involved in their personal affairs, especially when they’re brought front and center into the workplace, but that should always be avoided. Getting entangled in family issues can costs outsiders their jobs.

Even with all challenges aside, it is great to work for family businesses, which obviously have a great competitive advantage.

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