I’ve said this many times before. No one knows what it’s like to run a business unless he’s done it himself. For people who have lost their business, it’s something they have to live with for the rest of their lives. I have never heard anyone say “I lost my business and I’m so happy because now I work at the local supermarket.” It never comes out like that.

You’ve got to hold on to your business. But I want to caution you about family members working with you in your business.

Setting Expectations

Be very careful when it comes to hiring family members. They often have expectations that are not realistic. They want a car, insurance, and a gas card. They want to make top dollar with days off and bonuses. These expectations on the CEO are so high that they are almost impossible to overcome.

Mixing Marriage and Business

You can get lucky and find a family member that’s a good fit. I have met some husband and wife teams that are amazing. I’ve met some CEOs where the husband or wife doesn’t want to get involved in the business at all and it works fine. But when the husband and wife are in it to win it together, it’s sexy. We’re talking about long term relationships where they apply that magic to the company.

When I get into a turnaround situation where both the husband and the wife are on the same page, it goes much quicker. They know that the mistakes that have been made are not unforgivable. They can be overcome and you can keep your business — even when everyone else in your family, all your friends and everyone else are telling you that your business is over.

It’s not over! You are the one who signs the checks. You are the one who used to have good cash flow. You are the one who made the magic happen. You are still that guy or gal. You might be feeling a little wiped out from getting in a bit over your head, but you can turn it around.

Know when to mix business and family — as well as how to set realistic expectations — and you’re halfway there.

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