The author, Michael Johnson, is managing director of Card Connection
Running a family business sounds idyllic and for some it is.
However, being closely involved with partners at both work and home can put strain on the best of relationships, so how can this best be managed?
“My wife Di and I, have run our Card Connection franchise together for six years,” explains Dave Tudor, Card Connection franchisee for Hereford and Stratford.
“We have successfully grown the franchise, initially delivering greeting cards to around 130 outlets and now we service 300 stores across our territory.
"When you are working with your family, whatever challenge you face you are always pulling together to get the job done. The good thing is that you are working with someone you can rely on and trust.
“However, very early on, we found out we needed to play to each other’s strengths to make it work,” explains Di Tudor. “Dave used to manage the ordering of the greeting cards. However, after he ordered too much stock on several occasions, I took over!
"I also used to spend a lot of time out on the road visiting retailers but hated not taking my little boy to nursery. The benefit of running your own business is that it is flexible and so we were able to swap job roles around to suit us, both practically and emotionally.
When you are working with family... you are working with someone you can rely on and trust
“I think another key area which makes our business work, is to have clear parameters of responsibility,” continues Di Tudor. “I manage all the paperwork while Dave has the customer facing relationships.
"He is in-charge of the in-store merchandising and I prepare the stock ready for distribution back at base. This clear division works really well.”
“In addition, although we work together we don’t spend all our time in each other’s company,” explains Dave Tudor. “I am on the road most of the time and although I talk to Di on the phone numerous times each day, it is not like working in a shop together when you are constantly in each other’s company, which could potentially put a strain on any relationship.”
Working with your partner
Working with your partner to run a business is a lifestyle choice. It is possible to run a successful franchise business together and at Card Connection we have many couples and families working together successfully.
However, how the business is arranged requires some careful thought in order to maintain good relationships between family members both at work and home.
Card Connection is part of UK Greetings, which is a subsidiary of the largest publicly owned greeting card publisher in the world and has vacancies for franchisees who are keen to run an expanding business.
Suitable candidates would ideally have some management experience as, once established, and depending on the size of the territory, they could be expected to employ a small team, operate a small warehouse and have several liveried vans on the road.