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Building a Family Business with Kids

On your journey to starting a family business, there are few things as important as including your children in the process. Our kids learn from example, and it’s our job to show them how to create and maintain generational wealth. That’s why we sat down with Bruce and Lindsey VanZyl to chat with them about making a business successfully.

If you don’t have time to listen to the full podcast, we’ve grabbed five of their best tips for being a business owner and parent, and we’ve summed them up for you!

1. Know Your Entrepreneurial Type

One of the biggest misconceptions about running a family business is that everyone needs to be doing a little bit of everything. That’s not the case! Everyone has their own unique strengths and personalities, and you want to capitalize on that. Divide duties based on strengths, and don’t expect everyone to wear many hats.

For example, Bruce considers himself the sails of the ship. He is the early adopter and the business plan mapmaker. Lindsey is more of an anchor. She provides stability and helps to create a healthy work-life balance.

Business mom working on laptop computer while toddler eats

2. Invest in Yourself

Don’t let an opportunity for growth pass you by! Bruce and Lindsey owe much of their growth and success to early investments in courses on business development and leadership.

Think of it this way: most people don’t magically know how to start a family business. Fortunately, there are plenty of people who do understand the complexities of the system. By paying a little bit to gain access to their courses, you’re investing in your future growth. Depending on which service you invest in, you may even connect with other budding business leaders.

3. Take Advantage of New Technology

One of the best ways to grow your business is to stay on top of social media. Trends are constantly changing, and even the most indomitable social media platforms will eventually be eclipsed. In addition to being a crucial marketing tool, experience with social media also helps us grow as parents.

Using our knowledge of marketing and social media, we can help guide our kids. The internet is as dangerous as it is useful, and it’s our job to keep our kids safe. Learning how to properly utilize and navigate this technology gives us the tools to grow our business, and we can loan these tools to our kids.

As our children grow, they can also begin to teach us. Although it might feel like we don't have anything left to learn, there's always something to add to your arsenal. Encourage your older children to show you how they use social media. In addition to giving you a chance to talk about internet safety, these interactions will also allow you to observe current trends.

Entrepreneur mom working on laptop while baby plays

4. Let Your Kids Help

You’ve got your family business idea, you’ve got your strategy, and you have your business plan. Now, it’s time to start a business with your family. If you have older children, you can easily hire family members, but even little ones can help out in all types of businesses!

Bruce and Lindsey both attribute much of their work ethic to the time they spent helping their parents. Small tasks, such as handing out napkins, let our children feel like they’re part of the process. This means that, when help is needed, they will be more motivated to chip in. 

By encouraging everyone to get involved, you also foster teamwork. This is especially true for younger children, who may not be able to help with large tasks. Rather than asking them to 

perform jobs that are not age-appropriate, you can help them engage in team-based activities. For example, you may ask your youngest to help carry some plates to the kitchen, or you might teach them how to greet people when they enter your business.

5. Raise Problem-Solvers

Finally, Bruce and Linsey swear by the “Bank of Narnia” method. As relayed by Bruce, his parents ingeniously taught their kids the value of money through play. Chores were rewarded with money, and this money could even be invested. This mini economy taught Bruce a multitude of skills, including the value of hard work, the possibilities of passive income, and money management skills.

When you’re creating a family business, keep this in mind! Teach your kids about what you’re doing and tell them why you’re doing it. Encourage them to be curious and solve problems on their own. As much as we want to buy them everything they want, it’s always good to teach them the value of their hard work.

At the end of the day, your business is another way for you to interact with your family. Help it grow and join The Rainmaker Challenge!

Entrepreneur parents sitting on couch while toddler plays