From Hemsley + Hemsley to Manu Atelier to Pixiwoo, there are a range of sibling businesses out there spanning across different sectors from food to fashion to beauty. With National Sibling Day occurring this month, I often get asked what it's like to start a business with my brother. Whilst I wouldn't have it any other way, it isn't always a match made in heaven.
When my brother Howard and I took over the family business and first set out to launch Little Moons, our parents didn't treat us any differently or try to assign us different roles based on our gender or who was older or younger. Howard and I played to our own strengths and formed a business way of working that functions well for us. Here, I outline the highs and lows of starting and running a business with my brother.
Pros of working with my sibling
Sharing success with someone you love and trust
Going through the highs and lows of a business with someone you know and trust implicitly, makes such a difference. You always know that you have each other's and the business' best interests at heart and there are no trust issues whatsoever, which can often be difficult to find.
Having complementary skills
Howard and I are really lucky to have skills that really complement each other. He works on the strategy and sales side of things whilst I work more on operations. We both come together to brainstorm ideas and for any gaps in our skills, we outsource this externally to ensure a smooth running and successful business.
We don't have to be nice to each other
The great thing about working with my brother is that we don't have to put up any fronts or deal with 'work politics' on the way we behave with each other. We can speak in a direct and honest manner and not worry about either of us taking things the wrong way.
Pitfalls of working with my sibling
It can change your relationship with each other
Even when I see by brother outside of work, we inevitably end up talking about the business at some point. It is always a topic of conversation so your relationship becomes very work focussed, however we do always try to keep this to a minimum particularly at social occasions!
Needing time to switch off
My brother and I get on really well but running a business can be very stressful. There was a time when we were not only working together but also sharing a flat. It's something I would recommend avoiding if you can and ensure that you switch off from business from time to time keeping perspective on the more important things in life like friends, family and health.
The sibling bickering
With a close relationship also comes a downside. We argue like brother and sister over small things and are less professional than you would be with a non-sibling business partner, but you get over it really quickly and I can't imagine going into business with anyone else.