Family Farm Business: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Your Daughter Claire and her Husband Tim have been married for a little less than a year. Tim is a really great guy, he treats Claire like a Queen, and you’ve never seen her happier. Tim has just graduated UC Davis with a business degree in Agricultural Management. You get along great with Tim and you have a position on the Family Farm Business that you feel would be the perfect fit for him. You hire him, and he begins to manage operations on the Family Farm. Things are going well, and six months down the road a disagreement erupts about his decision making process and how it will affect the yield in next Spring’s crop. You try to discuss it with him, but tensions escalate into a heated argument and accusations fly from both sides. Both parties leave upset and angry. The following week you have a family ski vacation planned in the mountains with Tim and Claire. You’re a little nervous after the eruption last week, but you have a great time skiing together and enjoying the quality family time. On the drive back to the valley you talk to your wife about how much you love Tim, and what a great time you had on the ski vacation. You are left wondering what the real issue is back in the Farm Business. You and Tim have never run into conflict before, so why now?
Working together in a Family Business can be really tough. All kinds of things come into play, such as personal and relational issues, behavioral patterns, and even bad habits. Today we take a look at a few tips to help you be more successful in the family relationships that are at play in your Family Farm Business.
Let’s All Get Along: Tips On Managing Relationships Within the Family Farm Business
- Try to separate business and personal issues. Communication is key in any business relationship, but especially when it comes to family business’. Try not to personalize issues and deal with them as they arise rather than being passive aggressive or letting issues fester.
- Define clear legal agreements and put them in place from day one. If you don’t have them in place and are already working together, it’s never too late! Make sure that contracts are specific and detailed and don’t fall into the trap of easing up on them because you are in business with your family members. Remember healthy, long-term family relationships should be the goal.
- Keep business dealings out of family dinners and celebrations. Make sure there is margin in your business relationship to allow for discussions and decision making so that family time can be kept sacred.
- Try your best to be fair with one another, try not to play favorites and treat each other like you would other employees.
- Strive to use reasoning when working out differences, rather than emotional reactivity.
- Clearly define and outline roles with the Family Farm Business so that there aren't unrealistic expectations from anyone.
- Work towards transparency in goals and expectations. Take time to forecast and define company goals.
- Try to put as much in writing as possible. Documentation is especially helpful when issues arise.
- Be upfront and transparent with others within the Farm Business about personal flaws, including your own.
We hope that your wheels are turning and that you feel encouraged in your Family Farm Business relationship. With intentionality, focus, and planning, your Family Farm Business can thrive not just financially and as a business, but also relationally.
Questions? We’re Here to help!
At Barrett Financial Services, we specialize in offering our clients customized Financial, Business, and Tax Planning. Our expertise lies in helping Farm Business Owners like you plan for a successful future. The members of our Financial Planning Team at Barrett Financial Services are happy to answer any additional questions you have about Farm Business Plans or set up an appointment to discuss your financial goals and needs. Please comment below if you have questions we can answer and a member of our team will get back to you.