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Keeping it in the family franchise: Five tips why working with family is a good idea

Written by Angie Coates on Tuesday, 02 November 2021. Posted in Insight

Working with family members can be challenging, but it can also be an equally rewarding experience. It’s unlikely you will find a more tight-knit team than those that share your genes.

Keeping it in the family franchise: Five tips why working with family is a good idea

Working with family members can be challenging, but it can also be an equally rewarding experience. It’s unlikely you will find a more tight-knit team than those that share your genes. 

Angie Coates, Founder and CEO of Monkey Music, shares her top tips to create a family work environment where everyone is working in harmony to build a successful business together.

Communicate expectations

The best way to start your working relationship with a family member is to clearly communicate what expectations are. Make sure everyone has a job description that outlines their duties, responsibilities and functions, making it clear whom they report to.  

Keep family and work life separate 

Whether you are running or working within a family business, it’s important to try and leave the office at the office, and home life at home. Keeping family and work life as separate as possible will benefit everyone’s wellbeing. However, there will be inevitable cross over and often the benefit of family members being willing to go the extra mile or step in at short notice is a bonus but it is important to not exploit this, and indeed reward it!

Best person for the job 

Many small business owners fall into the trap of hiring family members just because they are family, without considering whether (not because) they're the best person for the job. Whilst (Though) it may seem the right thing to do in the moment, this can damage (hurt) your business in the long run. If you're considering working with or hiring a family member, make sure they have the qualifications and experience necessary to do the job, and ensure there are reviews in place to make sure they are doing it well.  

Set some boundaries

When relatives are involved, setting boundaries for everyone in your business is essential to success. Without them, feelings of undue favouritism and nepotism can seriously affect the work environment.  Everyone needs to feel there is equal consideration given to benefits, pay and work hours for all staff, related or not! Also, avoid work related disputes and discussions taking place out of the office environment.

Monkey Music Hampstead, Notting Hill and Maida Vale is one example of a franchise that has developed a family business that's both productive and harmonious. Husband and wife, Eloise and Alex, and brother Zed all have a willingness to succeed, as well as an unrivalled dedication to the family and their business.  

“We all began our Monkey Music journey together over 10 years ago. We bought the Notting Hill and Hampstead franchise initially and then four years later expanded to take on Maida Vale,” said Eloise Trippier.  “We have different roles in the business – my brother and I run the office and my husband teaches, mentors and manages the team of teachers working across the three areas.

The benefits of working with relatives is enormous. There’s trust, good communication, loyalty and above all, it’s fun. Even after all these years we all look forward to work every day and we’re able to work around our busy work-family schedules. We have the upmost respect for one another and have always been very close so there were never any concerns when we joined forces together.  It was all very organic and we were a great team from the start giving ourselves the same title as ‘Principal’. We’ve had very few disputes over the years and those that we’ve had have come from a place of passion and caring about what we’re trying to deliver.”

Angie commented “Working together in a family run business come with its own unique advantages and challenges.  For many people, the idea of working with family members has a negative stigma, but it can be one of the most productive ways of working as there is an underlying trust and mutual respect. The strong sense of community created in a family business is one that just can’t be beaten!” 

About the Author

Angie Coates

Angie Coates is the Founder and CEO of Monkey Music. She used her passion for music, having studied at The Guildhall School Of Music and Drama with stars of stage and screen, to build a hugely successful business and subsequently franchised it to scale up the brand nearly 30 years ago. Each week, over 700 hours of classes are taught to thousands of families children across the UK. Monkey Music has been a rite of passage for hundreds of thousands of young families throughout the country. Today nearly 3 million hours of classes have been taught by teachers who have sung their way to a combined revenue of more than £40 million.

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