5 Tips On Working With Your Adult Children in a Small Business

When Linda Collinson developed a natural skincare line, LaCrista Natural Skincare, from her home more than 20 years ago, her small business grew quickly.  Her product line mushroomed and was ultimately carried in major retail chains and other stores across the country and globally. Staffed solely by family, her husband, son and daughter, Linda could have easily retired when she sold the business for a healthy seven-figure number.  Instead, she assisted her husband with his company for several years, and eventually was recruited by her son to join and economically back his business, Infusion Sciences.  This move made her son, Budge Collinson, Linda’s new boss.

The company sells a natural multivitamin product called Youth Infusion. Open just a few years, this new family venture has already experienced major success. The company’s first product, Youth Infusion, has been picked up by The Vitamin Shoppe online and is in local Vitamin Shoppe stores in Washington, D.C., as well as other outlets.

Infusion Sciences has nearly $1,000,000 in revenue and 8 full-time employees. Budge Collinson said having his mother in the business is a great asset. “Having my mother work in my business, given her knowledge, is so helpful, but it is also a relationship based on trust, which is so important in business. Our personalities are different. She handles things I find are challenging, but that she enjoys and I do the opposite of her and it works out well.”

Ms. Collinson said sometimes it is a challenge to work for her son. “It’s hard, because I’m still his mother, but I have to respect his opinions and sometimes that means I have to keep my mouth shut, which is hard because I’m a type A personality.”

How do they make it work? Here are her 5 tips on working with your adult children in a small business:

1.  Understand who has the final say. If there’s a disagreement on how to handle a situation, defer to your child’s opinion. This could be hard especially if your experience tells you it’s a poor decision, but recognize it’s his poor decision to make.

2. Make sure you have compatible personalities. Just because you are family doesn’t mean you get along. If you can run errands successfully together, you can probably work together.

3. Exhibit professional respect. Make sure your child has had professional accomplishments before you start to work together. It makes it easier to respect him in the office as a boss, not your child.

4. Make sure you know everyone’s strengths. My son and I are best at different things. This has been essential to Infusion Sciences’ success and our ability to communicate professionally.

5. Office time is not family time. We NEVER discuss family matters in the office or during office hours. It is unfair to your employees and crosses the professional boundaries necessary for business success. This is the hardest thing to do as a mom. I must say - sometimes I don’t follow this.

Do you have tips for getting along with adult children in the workplace?

This article was originally published under the title: How to Run a Successful Small Business With Your Kids at

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