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#BusinessTipTuesday – #Siblings in Small Business

According to, “In the United States, 80% of all children have siblings.” National #SiblingDay is Monday, April 10th. “The holiday is intended to be a celebration of the relationship of brothers and sisters.” (

Let’s look at siblings through the lens of small business. We meet many siblings at the SBDC who are making go of a business. Reflecting back on them, here are some #BusinessTipTuesday tips:

  1. Successful #smallbusinesssiblings attempt to separate business from the dinner table. Pat Nasser, co-owner of #BackyardAleHouse, #Scranton, says this is key for him and his brother Bill, and has kept things on an even keel between them. The Nasser brothers even have two other business partners who are good friends! Pat’s best practice of Family Comes First reminds us to take a breather and enjoy the company of one another, without mention of business to-do’s or obligations. This is critical for good sibling relationships! So, if you’re the family member who wants to ‘talk shop’ during dessert, refrain and set a Reminder!
  2. Recognize roles and brains. Honestly, this may take set-aside of martyrdom and pride for some. Entrepreneurs are a strong breed – and a sibling pair can be a formidable gene pool to add to the mix! Know that at various times in your business, your sibling(s) will be better at something than you. Whether it’s taking care of a certain customer account, managing an employee, or making a key growth decision, acknowledging and passing the torch on this is key to reaching the next business goal together – and with respect.
  3. Know and accept each other’s limits. Each sibling may be a heck of a loyal team when it comes to protecting and growing the business… but each may inherently have a limit they reach or can commit themselves to. These human limits (such as putting cash or personal time into the business, decisions in a business) should align with business goals. If a decision can’t be reached, maybe your sibling has reached his/her limits for the day. Allow time to for individual thought so your synergy can build later. This may also include building some individual office space or staggered work schedules.
  4. Meet, talk, and then plan… in this order. Daily dynamics of #smallbusiness can be a total grind. Rattling off important priorities by cell at 10pm to one another becomes an easy habit to get into when relation/business lines are blurred. I always recommend holding weekly meetings to my clients. Old school, but effective. Use these meetings to talk about what’s working and what’s not, short/long-term goals and happenings, role changes, and money. Highlight something great in the business and stick to a schedule. Allow non-family key employees to be part and use this time to NOT make assumptions, but to clarify and plan.
  5. A hammered-out agreement can save most conflicts– or worse yet, family wars. Keep it official. Partnership agreements define responsibilities, timelines, and most importantly, exit strategies. While no one ever wants to talk flight plans when they’re in the newlywed stage of business start-up, it’s critical. Many agreement examples are online, and a good hour spent with a business attorney who can be a neutral advisor for your sibling team is worth much.

These #bestpractices of #siblingbusiness take just small efforts to implement. Try them out and consult your #UniversityofScrantonSBDC for assistance. And much like any other relationship, remember the reasons why you chose to get into business together in the first place! Be grateful for the chance and build in some fun! #NationalSiblingDay #April10

Gretchen Kukuchka
Business Consultant
The University of Scranton
Small Business Development Center
(570) 941-4151

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