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Tips for Avoiding Disputes in a Family Business

It’s a fact of life that most families must deal with conflict between loved ones on a regular basis. This conflict can be relatively benign in the context of most family structures, but there can be some real consequences when family members own a business together. To that end, there are some steps family-owned businesses can take to mitigate disputes and ensure their companies continue to run as smoothly as possible.

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These tips can help your family-owned business to improve communication among its members, lessening the chances for problems that could derail your enterprise:

  • Hold regular meetings: All family members with ownership stake in a company should meet regularly to discuss the business and address any potential or existing areas of conflict from the start. This can allow you to make decisions as a group and gain a shared understanding of how the business should operate.
  • Communicate openly: Just as you would with any other employee or business partner, be honest with family members you believe are not contributing to the company in a positive way. You may even develop an evaluation process to look at each person’s work performance.
  • Have clearly defined roles: Many family businesses struggle with owners who do not necessarily have a defined role within the organization. When this happens, a company may suffer from a lack of cohesive leadership, which can affect relations with employees who are not family members.
  • Be fair with compensation: Some family businesses run well when everyone gets paid the same, although they run the risk of upsetting those who feel they are putting in more work than others. If this is the case, a tiered compensation system may be a better option.

If you could benefit from sound legal guidance to help resolve conflicts within a family-run company, speak with a skilled Pittsburgh business lawyer at Feldstein Grinberg Lang & McKee, P.C.

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