If I was to ask you to give me the top 3 reasons for a breakdown in a relationship what would you say? What about coming up with 3 main causes of conflict within a family business? I am certain that there would be consistency in the answers provided, yet even armed with this knowledge we often decide not to put any preventative measures in place. Is it that we simply take the "it will never happen to me approach" or is it really that hard to discuss these things?

To make sure that we are all on the same page I did a little research which identified the 3 common reasons which I have detailed below (being very similar for each).


Relationship Breakdowns

Financial Stress
Communication Difficulties
Difference in Expectations & Values


Business Conflict

Financial Stress
Communication Styles
Future Visions & Goals [including Succession Planning]

While I am not going to turn relationship expert I would suggest reading "The Barefoot Investor" by Scott Pape. A great read with very straightforward actions to help open the lines of communication with your partner, which I personally use and have greatly benefited from. When it comes to your business however..... that is something that I can help with!

Financial Stress

  • Take the time to establish an annual budget.
  • With the budget in place make sure you measure against it on a regular basis. This will help you identify any areas of concern and remember that what is measured is managed.
  • Ensure that you understand the financial drivers of your business.

Communication Styles

  • Understand that people have different ways on taking in information. Some people are much more visual "I can't see the problem you're talking about", while others prefer a verbal approach "I hear what you are saying".
  • Always understand the position of another before passing judgement.... could it be possible that you are both right?
  • We are so programmed to provide input when having a conversation (be it our experience, a solution to a problem or simply just our thoughts). Instead just try to actively listen and be present with the other person, giving yourself the opportunity the clearly understand their perspective.

Future Visions & Goals

  • I have said it before and I will say it again..... get that business plan in place and if you already have one then try and locate it and blow the dust off!
  • Commit to an annual strategy session to assess how things have gone and agree on any goals that need to be realigned.
  • Establish a regular forum to discuss the future vision and goals while providing a safe environment for any issues to be raised. Be sure to clearly document any agreed upon outcomes.

The best piece of advice I can give you is to make sure you have these hard conversations, and the sooner the better. The little bit of pain right now wont even compare to the issues that may arise later if you don't start talking. And if you have no idea where to even start then please get in touch and we will be able to structure a solution that is right for you.