Do you think siblings should do business together?

@scheng1 (24741)
Singapore
January 28, 2011 2:54am CST
When a person wants to start a business, it is natural to approach his relatives, even his siblings for help. However, i have seen more cases of siblings not getting along when they do business together. Sometimes, they break up in business, and in family relationship, even to the point of not talking to each other for years. However, there are success stories too. Do you think siblings should do business together? Would you choose to do business with your siblings?
7 people like this
27 responses
@kalav56 (11502)
• India
28 Jan 11
No Scheng! It is better not to do business with siblings.When money enters a relationship , there is a risk of the relationship getting into jeopardy, occasionally..THis is a relationship that we value and it cannot be compromised.WHy take sucha risk?
1 person likes this
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
28 Jan 11
Hi Kalav, I have noticed that in family business, especially after a failed attempt in business, the siblings no longer talk to each other. Their children also never associated with each other. I think it is very sad to see a family breaking apart. It is strange that husband and wife team survives better in business environment, yet siblings have difficulty maintaining a good relationship after starting and doing business together.
1 person likes this
@kalav56 (11502)
• India
28 Jan 11
Yes Scheng! But that is because when husband and wife get together in a business venture and they have a common family also, then the family is theirs.CHidren are theirs. THe family is one.On the other hand siblings have different families, different partners[most importantly]. Here too, if there is blamegame between husband and wife and money is pumped in by different individual sources then this may get difficult..Money has this sort of effect on people.
1 person likes this
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
29 Jan 11
Hi Kalav, money and power do have different effects on people. Some people become arrogant, and unreasonable when they have both money and power. It seems that many siblings quarrel after the success of the business. They can work with each other when the business is small, and struggling. Yet when the business becomes big and successful, they start to quarrel.
1 person likes this
@zed_k4 (17627)
• Singapore
12 Feb 11
Depends .. if since young they have say a family stall or something , then the siblings will have to work something out once the parents are gone. But if we are talking about a franchise or a real booming business , then I'd say it's not really a good idea. But I have a better one .. have 2 separate businesses owned by the different siblings. Then they can get together , discuss business dealings under the sun and guide one another where they are weak at. Unity in diversity .. something like that. Or one big brother have a big business mind and the smaller sisters and brothers have franchises .. could be good too. But there must be an authority .. like in this case , the big brother holds important decisions. But then again .. like a family drama serial .. the wife who marries the big brother .. haha .. that one must not be an evil lady with a plot to steal away the family business. Hmmmm .. so if you ask me? Too complicated so better stick to individual businesses.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
12 Feb 11
Hi Zed, I just ask a simple question, and you turn it into a TV drama serial! That's really nice. I think you can work for Mediacorp, and take all the ideas from mylot. Once I read in the Straits Times of a mother passing away at a very old age, and all her kids are successful businesspersons. A few of them even listed their companies in the stock exchange. I remember that story because the newspaper reported how she single-handed brought up her children, and her children started businesses, and built them into listed companies. The amazing thing is that those children, each has his or her own business, not a joint venture.
1 person likes this
@zed_k4 (17627)
• Singapore
13 Feb 11
"I think if you want to compete with your fish, see who can last longer without food, you sure lose." - That's really funny !! Scheng .. I think I will lose out big time too , if I get one of those big fishes that can stand hunger. Good tips , I learned a lot thanks for telling me. The vegetarian fish and the dragon one sounds enticing. I can never be home for days or a week and it'll still be there to greet me by the front door. Yippeee !
@zed_k4 (17627)
• Singapore
14 Feb 11
I downloaded Chrome but when I didn't find any good use for it , I deleted it. Really arh ? Maybe I should re-install it again and use it exclusively for myLot .. then my already written posts won't vanish into thin air. Speaking of ghost stories , I saw Russell Lee (with face mask and everything) .. the popular ghost story author. Very cool .. but I didn't get to chat with him .. because I didn't buy the book. Not yet anyway .. you love ghost stories too har ? I think it's smart that he hides his identity away .. he can roam freely without anyone knowing it's him. Taiwanese shows ? How about Japan or Korean shows ? You like watching. Sometimes the plots are really good.
@gaiza12 (4889)
• Philippines
16 Feb 11
Maybe it depends on how close you are with your siblings. As for me it is a good idea to be business partners with your siblings, since I am very close with my other siblings. Right now my sister is into a small business with her husband and my other sister is helping them. The good thing here is my other sister has accounting abilities which is helping in the accounting stuff. Which is a plus so they won't be hiring another accountant. While she is helping financially, she is also lessening up the cost of the business.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
17 Feb 11
Hi Gaiza, I think it is important that someone in the family knows accounting, otherwise it is easier for outsiders to change the figure here and there, and take money from the business. I think it is important to have a written contract in a business, just in case there is a dispute in management style or financial management. Sometimes siblings who are closed to each other quarrel because of business problem. They never think about having a formal agreement prior to the setting up of the business.
@gaiza12 (4889)
• Philippines
18 Feb 11
I guess you are right. I should share this thought to my siblings anyway. This may hurt someone's feelings but i know they will understand. Thanks :)
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
18 Feb 11
Hi Gaiza, you might as well forward the link to this discussion thread to your siblings. Many people have personal experience of family business. Some good some bad, and some people make very good observation and comments about family business. I think it is a good idea to read through all the comments, then encourage your siblings who are in business together to think about what to do next. Better to prepare for all possible events. One of the siblings may want to get out of the business in the future for personal reasons. Another may need to cash out so that she has the money to pay for her medical bills, or other purpose. Better to consider every possibility so that when worst happen, nobody will start to quarrel.
@goldeneagle (6775)
• United States
3 Feb 11
I have never tried to run a business with my sister (my only sibling), but I am getting to the point that I am thinking it may be a good idea to try. We are both pretty sensible when it comes to business, so I am pretty sure we can make it work. She is actually a lot smarter than I am about most things, so as long as I could learn to listen to her most of the time, I don't see why we couldn't be successful. The only thing we would have to deal with is that we live so far apart from each other...
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
4 Feb 11
Hi Goldeneagle, I think the only business that is not affected by distance is online business. Other than that, only investment type of business (as in stock market investment) is suitable. Too bad you are living so far away from your sister, otherwise both of you can handle physical business. Glad to hear that your sister has business acumen. In this case, she can handle the planning while you manage the groundwork.
• United States
11 Feb 11
I have actually thought about trying to get her to get into a stock investment business with me. I have also thought about a real estate business with her. I would be willing to do most of the work. I just need financial support. The good thing about us living in different areas would be a broader market for us, especially in a real estate business.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
11 Feb 11
Hi Goldeneagle, I think real estate business is a good idea, given the fact that the market is very low now. Sooner or later the economy will recover. Since so many people are selling or force to sell their homes now, it is a good time to buy and then rent it back to the former house owners.
@SViswan (12071)
• India
29 Jan 11
It depends on the temperaments and personalities of the siblings. The one advantage I see is that it's easier to know if a sibling would be an ideal business partner or not because one would know all the personality aspects of a sibling....much better than anyone else. so, it would be easier to figure out whether it will be good to work together or not.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
29 Jan 11
Hi Sviswan, actually many people do not know the working style of their siblings at all. It is precisely this mistake that turns the business venture into a failure for the siblings. After all, we do not know how good our siblings are at managing the employees, managing the time, and systems at work. Those who are so messy at home, can be very effective and systematic person at work. It is ironical that so many of us behave differently at work and at home.
@SViswan (12071)
• India
29 Jan 11
Hmmm....interesting. I hadn't thought of it....but that's quite possible that people might behave differently at home and work. I know you put it as an example..the messy bit(it's true) but when siblings decide to do business together, they would be looking beyond what they do at home. They would consider the other's strengths and weakness and try to figure out if it balances each other, isn't it? I see your point, though.It's quite possible that they can be wrong on their assumptions about each other and it can't be worked out. Then better safe than sorry. Instead of the possibility of spoiling their family relation, it's better not to be business partners at all.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
29 Jan 11
Hi Sviswan, there are some siblings who can work very well together. I have seen a few companies started by a few brothers, and they work hard to build up a business to the point of getting it listed in the stock exchange. Even then, they still have lunch together, and maintain a very close working and personal relationship. I think that is very admirable. I have read in the local newspaper about a family with a few listed companies. Those siblings cannot work together, so each started his own business, and all are very successful.
@ptower76 (1618)
• United States
28 Jan 11
I think it is a good idea to go into business with a sibling especially if each has a unique talent or knowledge that will enhance the business experience. I do suggest that although they are siblings, they should remember that it is a business and as such should be done in a legal way to protect both. Just because they are siblings does not mean that written contracts should no be created. Also, it should be clear and in writing what each one's duties and responsibilities are. While we may trust our family more than strangers, we need to seperate the business entity from the family relationship so that the family relationship can be preserved.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
29 Jan 11
Hi Ptower, it is definitely a good idea to have formal business agreements in place, I think having an exit strategy is important as well. I mean, some people may have different viewpoints towards life in later years. They want to cash out on the partnership to travel round the world, or simply spend time with family. It is too late to start arguing about who gets how much when the time comes. Better to have it in place before the business starts.
@ptower76 (1618)
• United States
29 Jan 11
Yes, you have the idea. If you get into business with your sibling, i really hope it works out. Siblings may be trustworthy but they also take certain things for granted so best get it all in writing. If its a younger sibling you will teach them about business. If its and older sibling you will show that you know what your doing.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
29 Jan 11
Hi Ptower, I know I can never get into a business with my siblings. The way we handle personal finance is already so different. I think we will definitely quarrel if we do business together. I tend to compare prices when i shop. Even if a friend is selling something at a higher price, I would prefer to get it at another shop with lower price. My siblings are very different. They would buy from friends, even if the products are more costly.
@Suzieqmom (2763)
• United States
28 Jan 11
I think there are very few siblings that could actually make this work because too many siblings suffer from sibling rivalry, which is often the worst sort of jealousy there is. I only need to look at my husband's family (8 siblings) to see how money or a shift in the level of authority can destroy not only the relationship between the two siblings who are working together, but the rest of the family as well. I would stay far, far away from any business ventures involving siblings.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
28 Jan 11
Hi Suzieqmom, I do not think I can work well with my siblings in managing a business too. We have different viewpoints about financial matter. I think doing a business together will definitely destroy the good relationship with each other. It is sad to hear that you have seen a real life example in the family itself. I bet their children do not speak to each other too. The scary thing about siblings falling apart after a business venture is the effect on the next generation.
@Suzieqmom (2763)
• United States
28 Jan 11
My husband's sister refuses to speak to any of us, or let her children see our children--all because my husband pointed out that her approach to a situation was not the right one (benefited her, hurt the rest of the family). But, of course, half the siblings are siding with her because she told them if they don't they will never see her children again, either. Nice, huh?
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
29 Jan 11
Oh dear, so sorry to hear about that. I bet your children will feel awkward when meeting up with her family in family gatherings. This is a kind of disagreement that never goes away. Ironically it starts from something that is so minor. It is not as if your husband wants to run with the money, and she gets angry. I think if she has an outsider as a business partner, she might not even get angry with the outsider.
@stevieboi19 (1429)
28 Jan 11
I always hear of how siblings eventually fall out in some sort of way over their joint business but I'm of the opinion that it can work depending on what way's you go about the business. For instance I've considering setting up a business before and have wondered if my brother would be interested in helping me out. Going into a business together we both need to know our roles which we are best at and which we both equally good in this way we can offer constructive criticisms without ever offending each other. This could work in theory but in the real world it really could turn sour and end up with us hating each other but you never know until you've tried and tested a theory.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
28 Jan 11
Hi Stevieboi, I have seen many cases of siblings falling apart after doing business together. It is always sad to see blood brothers become permanent enemy. I think it is a good idea to know the working style of each other, and to have a written agreement on the role and work scope before an actual partnership. In this case, a party no longer interested in the business can pull out without too much strain on the relationship.
28 Jan 11
It's certainly sad that such events occur. Yeah everything needs to down on a contract between themselves so they can refer back to agreements which have been broken and where they've let each other have leeway on certain decisions. This way they can pull out like you say but also learn from the mistakes whilst remembering to stick to their original idea of running their business.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
29 Jan 11
Hi Stevieboi, I think most people never thought that business relationship is more than trust and understanding. After all, money and power can change everyone and everything. When siblings are poor, they can get along with each other. Once they get rich through business, they may think differently. Many siblings break up due to business failures. Even more siblings break up with each other due to booming business.
• India
12 Mar 11
yes..sure it would helps..becoz if we cannot understand with whom we are with for just like abt 20 years or more than we will surely develop misunderstandings with the others frnds if we start with them...i woul go to it..if i start.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
13 Mar 11
Hi Creovation, actually most of us do not know the working style of our siblings, parents and grandparents. We see them when they are at home, away from work pressure, demanding bosses and deadlines. We do not see how they organize the workstation. It is surprising that many of us behave differently at work and at home. Our home may be very messy, especially our bedroom, yet our workstation is very neat, clean and tidy. That is why when siblings work together, they get a rude shock. They thought they know each other very well, but the fact shows that, they do not really know each other working style at all.
@shia88 (4582)
• Malaysia
5 Mar 11
Hi, From my point of view, it is best not to do business with siblings.It is to avoid any disputes in future. Of course, if you need financial helps, you can always approach your siblings or parents or close relatives for help. I do read some news whereby the siblings are working together ,handling the family business and ended up they quarrelled over small matters,and never talk to each other again. But of course, not everyone will face this problem. Some siblings can work so well together to build up the family business. So it is basically depend on the individual itself on how they handle their career and emotional when comes to work.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
6 Mar 11
Hi Shia, I think we do not even need to go far to see how a family business sours the sibling relationship. Many small grocery shops are family owned, and sometimes, the siblings quarrel over duties, and money. I think it is wise not to do business with siblings if we do not have the matter of talking about money in family.
• Philippines
30 Jan 11
I don't think it's really wise because business fall out sometimes and I wouldn't want it to be the cause for the family's falling out, too. But I've seen some who have made good business and are in the family so I guess it's doable. But I still wouldn't risk it if it was my family.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
30 Jan 11
Hi Akiadranem, I would not risk it too. i know that I am very different when it comes to financial management than my siblings. I do not buy from someone simply because he is a friend. I will check out the quality, the price and calculate the rate for bulk purchase etc before I make a purchase. My siblings tend to support their friends, even if their friends are selling it more expensive. i think if we start a business and do business together, we will get into a major disagreement.
• United States
30 Jan 11
I think it All depends on the siblings! If they have mutual respect for each other and each brings something different to the business And they can get along. It should work.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
30 Jan 11
Hi Sarah, most of the times it does not work. After all, we only see the family side of our siblings. We did not get to know their working style. I mean, it is hard to imagine that your chatty sister is a very quiet person at work, or your kind and timid brother is a very bossy person in the workplace. It takes more than mutual respect. I think those mylotters who mention about having a written contract is very wise. Business is still separate from family.
1 person likes this
@pokumon (647)
• United States
29 Jan 11
No, I don't think siblings should enter into a business relationship together. I worked for my brother for a couple weeks as a painter in his college works business and hated it. He would act like he knew how to paint better than me and would proceed to show me how when it really wasn't any different from what I was doing. I quit after a couple weeks because I hated the job. It was my first job.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
30 Jan 11
Hi Pokuman, fortunately you are just working for your brother. If you have put up part of your savings as capital, it is harder for you to pull out from the business. I think it is good that you quit before the relationship turns very sour. At least you can still talk to your brother and treat him as brother instead of enemy.
@cerebellum (3871)
• United States
29 Jan 11
It would depend on the people. If there is a written agreement spelling everything out I guess it would be okay. If something goes wrong with the business it could affect their relationship. In that case it would be bad. They must be able to seperate business from their personal relationship. That would go for any relatives or friends that do business together.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
30 Jan 11
Hi Cerebellum, the problem with family business is that everyone takes things too casually. It is hard to find a family business with an agreement prior to the setting up of business. I think some people rather do business with outsiders than siblings, so that they can keep the relationship intact. However, those who can work together, and get the company listed in the stock exchange, are cementing a very close relationship.
• Singapore
29 Jan 11
I believe that siblings and relatives can do business together, provided they are willing to work out things between them. I mean, I've seen siblings and relatives who work together in business, done very well, and also still maintain a close relationship. It is really like having any other normal business partners outside, where you need to have the trust in between you and the other person. It's just that siblings and relatives will face one another more often than normal business partners because they belong to one family after all.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
30 Jan 11
Hi Forcemaster, I have seen successes and failures as well. Sometimes the siblings worked very well, until the business is very good. Once the money rolls in, everyone starts to quarrel. That is the time when a member does not care about family relationship. He or she tries to take over the control of the business, and take over as majority shareholder. I think it is very sad when family members become enemies.
@derek_a (10902)
29 Jan 11
I don't feel that this is a question that can be answered that easily as families are different. I worked with my Dad for a long time, and it didn't work out very well because we would argue too often because we were too close. If I was working with any of my sibs, I think more or less the same thing would have happened. _Derek
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
29 Jan 11
Hi Derek, I think you are very likely to quarrel with your siblings if you start a business with them. After all, your dad has more experience in business, yet you argue with him once you gain enough experience, and have your own management style. With siblings, it can be worse, since siblings do not have more experience than you did. I think your argument with your dad is a healthy argument. Otherwise you will not talk to him anymore.
@Canellita (12058)
• United States
29 Jan 11
I think it depends on the siblings. Going into business with someone means you have to be able to work well in a partnership. In some instances siblings could do well in business together because they know each other so well and if they have worked together before it can help. However, a sibling could decide they can take liberties that the other might not agree with and ruin both the business and family relationships.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
29 Jan 11
Hi Canellita, sometimes it is due to the fact that siblings do not really know the working style of each other. After all, we do not show our professional side to our family members. We do not know how liked or how bad our siblings are in the corporate world. I think the financial management part is causing conflict in many businesses, especially in family businesses. However, those siblings who can do business together usually get very close to each other. Their kids are very close to each other too.
• United States
29 Jan 11
I personally would not do anything business related with my brother. We have fought before and for a period in time refused to talk to each other. We are slowly starting to talk again. I wouldn't risk it. What if we had another big blow out again? That would be very dangerous if it involved money.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
29 Jan 11
Hi HellOsammi, that is very wise. If you cannot agree with your brother in other matter, doing business together is definitely a disaster. Money is not the only factor in a business. The power, and the control, is another big problem. After all, there must only be one person in charge of the whole business. A company cannot have two CEO.
• Philippines
28 Jan 11
It depends on how greedy is your siblings. I believe I can make a deal with my siblings. I'm that sure of my brothers not back stabbing me. I'll only watch my back if I'm making a deal with another person I don't know, or even friends. I'm not that trusting when it comes to that.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
29 Jan 11
Hi Frontvisions, sometimes it is not the greed, but the differences in managing finance, and business. I am certainly very different from my siblings when it comes to personal finance matters. I do not like to spend a single cent more than necessary, and I like to check out the pricing from different shops before I buy anything. My siblings are different. They prefer to buy from the nearest shop, rather than check around for best pricing. I think when it comes to joint venture with them, we will definitely quarrel.
@sender621 (14956)
• United States
28 Jan 11
Some people say that you should never do business with friends or relatives. but who could you trust more than them? i don't see any reasons why siblings couldn't have a healthy business relationship together.
@scheng1 (24741)
• Singapore
28 Jan 11
Hi Sender, the problem with siblings working together is that you have nowhere to complain if you have disagreements in business. I mean when we get together with family, we can share our joy and grievances at work with our siblings. But in business, there bound to have some disagreements about how the business is run. Sometimes when the disagreements are serious and not dissolve in workplace, it can strain family relationship. When it comes to trust, it all depends. Most of us trust our bankers to give financial advice, but we do not even trust our family members with money.