Red Flags To Know Before Joining The Family Business

By Stefanie O’Connell

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Entering a family business can be tricky not only for the family member joining the organization for the the employees who already work at the company. One business expert recommends that family members work outside the family business first to learn humility and confidence. Working elsewhere can be an opportunity to “build up your credibility so that the staff sees you as a viable employee, not just the kid with the lucky spoon in his/her mouth.”


Joining the family business might seem like a no-brainer. Chances are, you’re already familiar with many of its inner workings, especially if you worked for family when growing up.

You might also feel a strong sense of pride and fulfillment carrying on the business legacy of your loved ones. But even with those benefits, joining a family business comes with major challenges.

It’s gotten harder to operate a family business over the past five years, according 74 percent of respondents to a 2015 survey by family business advocacy group Family Enterprise USA. Not to mention, mixing business with personal relationships was never easy to begin with. So before you decide to go all in and join the family business, watch out for these red flags.

Some people might decide to join the family business because they think they won’t have to work hard to build the business themselves. Or perhaps they feel they can walk right in and get a job on the spot without an interview, after all, it’s family. But this sense of entitlement can be a big red flag.

“If a new family member enters the business without any prior experience, they come in with no credibility to others in the organization and potentially low confidence,” said family business expert Laura Michaud of The Michaud Group. “This will reflect poorly in both performance, as well as respect from others.”

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