So you have a wonderful idea which you think will be a good use of your spare time  and eventually help you quit that over-seas Job so you can spend time closer to home. However, you may already know but it’s often very difficult to run a successful business on your own, and you will need other people to work with. Wouldn't it be great to work with people you already know, like and respect? Well, who better to deserve your trust but your own family? Below, we are sharing some of our top small business ideas on how to start a successful family owned business!

Decision making

The first thing you can consider is that running a business requires decision making and decision taking. Depending on your own personal relationships with your husband, wife, cousins or extended family, you need to know who will be best at executing decisions. So our first tip is before you speak to your family about roles, sit down and write a list of strengths and weaknesses of your family members and their personalities business wise. Perhaps your uncle likes to have everything done his way, or maybe your daughter prefers to give her opinion vs making decision. By writing these attributes all down, you can compare who will be best in which role, and harness individually their individual strengths.

Designate roles

Another great tip which family business owners report as helpful is to designate roles early on. Whether you’re setting up a family run restaurant, bed & breakfast, or maybe even laundry business. By giving those family members who are good at taking decisions the “final say” in different areas such as supplies, hygiene or advertising will create a great family dynamic in which ideas are able to thrive!

Whether you’re setting up a family run restaurant, hotel or maybe even laundry business, giving those family members who are good at taking final decisions final say in different areas, such as supplies, hygiene or advertising will create a great family dynamic in which ideas are able to thrive!

That said, we recommend that you be very careful with how execute this task as not giving it enough thought may lead to family tensions in the future. One idea is to try and create a ‘trial period’ where you change family members’ roles every few weeks upon starting your family business. This will allow you to find out more practically what it is your family members are good at or more comfortable with. Perhaps your aunt has a secret skill in accounting, or your son has amazing customer service skills. You won’t find out unless you allow them the opportunity to shine!

Initial investment

A common family business to start in the Philippines is often claimed to be in the “sari-sari store” or karinderya (informal food stall). In some of these cases, running small business with the help of your family can also be a way to raise the initial investment or capital needed. It can always be an option to pool money together from family members instead of taking out loans from banks or other entities. Banks will require you to pay some form of interest while your family can be more flexible. With your family invested in the business, they will likely have the best interest of the business management at heart. However, as mentioned before it is good to ensure the roles and terms are laid out clearly for everyone involved to minimize family tension and disagreement later on.

How to work with your family

Set up some ground rules between yourself and your relatives. Make sure before any money becomes invested in your business that everyone understands what they are getting into. Arguments between family members may happen once in a while, but as long as everyone is clear then you should all be together to create and celebrate success. If everyone remembers to try and think of the good of the business and of the customers from the very beginning, you will create a great working dynamic and environment for you and your family! And remember that satisfied partners and staff will help drive more satisfied customers!

Some businesses believe that even before family relations start to become tense because of the challenges, they should spend time doing things as a family outside of business. For example, getting away from the premises for one day a week allows them to keep their relations between themselves healthy. Try to set up a regular time when all the family can meet and relax once a week, perhaps at a park, at the mall, or at the beach. Spending quality time together will create a good dynamic between your family and help calm down tensions which may have risen up during the week.


Many successful family businesses advice that the key is to separate money from the business. This can be helped by hiring an accountant and making one family member have the ‘last say’ on financial matters. This is very important in setting up a successful family business because it establishes a hierarchy as well as boundaries. Of course, you all want the best for the business, but sometimes buying the most expensive products will set you back in your business plan than get you further along it.

Many of the most successful family businesses report that the key is to separate money from the business.

Reputation management

Creating an image of your family run business should be a decision taken by, or at least agreed upon by every family member involved in the management of your business. Keeping everyone on the same page, and working towards the same goal can help you’re your reputation management be easier. Remember, it’s never too late to raise your ratings, and dedicated reputation management can work to change the profile of your business.

One idea on running this part of your business is handing over the reputation management to the youngest members of their family. This is because teenagers usually have more affinity in learning and running advertising of your business like using social media, and other free digital platforms. Image control and reputation can make a huge difference to your business, so try giving these members of your team (especially if they are much younger than the rest of your family) incentives to work harder. Perhaps surprisingly, sometimes younger people will respond and work harder more to incentives than to wages!

Read our article on how to create a unique guest experience and your reputation will start to grow beautifully from the very beginning!

These are some tips on helping you start a family run business. Make sure to continue and invest educating yourself to increase your chances of hitting it big. There are lot of good and credible online and offline resources and seminars that you can consider before you make the big leap. Good luck!

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