Family businesses are important for countries around the world. Knowing how to effectively work with family members is thus critical.

Communicate well. Nothing is more important. Communicate about your reasons for taking decisions.

Leave your ego, emotions and relationships outside the office door. When relations from home spill over into work, it can get messy. Elders have to keep their egos in check.

Clearly define business roles. Ambiguity can be disastrous for any business. Here, its a double whammy as it also hits relationships.

Age brings wisdom. But age is no guarantee to be always right. The younger generation will have fresh perspective, may have better qualifications, and could have better solutions to age old problems that may not even look like problems.

Power and responsibility go hand in hand. The younger generation cannot be the fall guy everytime.

Share rewards fairly. This is perhaps more true when you have cousins or an extended family working together. Salary structures could be different. However, any excesses like one cousin travelling business class while the other drives or travels coach are bound to sow the seeds of discord.

Spend time to strengthen the relationship outside work. This is so critical. Dine together. Go to the movies. Talk. Allow a reversal of roles, where the dominant partner at work listens to the other family member outside of work. This helps balance out any potential problems, giving each person a chance to be in control of something.

It’s ok to discuss a bit of business with family. The younger children should not be kept completely isolated from every type of business discussion or problem. They should see the hard work going into providing them the money, and be involved a bit, but not so much that it distracts them from their studies.

Do not discuss business 24×7. If you will talk business all the time, you will burn out. There has to be a cut off time or days when you do not talk business.

Get outside help. Having only family members manage all aspects of business can be equally bad. In any family emergency, either the family or the business will have to take a hit.

If any family member has greater potential, its ok to let the person take charge. Age, dominance, egos, issues at home should not get in the way of what is right for business.

Exit Plans are good. Its ok if any family member wants to chart out his / her independent path. Love is what keeps the family together, and if you love a person, you have to let the person go.