The rewards reaped from owning and running a family business can make the endeavor more than worthwhile. But balancing the needs of the business with the desires of family members can be extremely challenging. There are many potential pitfalls that are unique to family businesses. This is because your coworkers are not just fellow employees, but your flesh and blood.

Conflicts may arise in a family business that cannot be dealt with by simply following a policies and procedures manual. And at their worst, these conflicts can become a serious threat to the business’s survival.

According to one family business expert, family businesses have three levels of interests; ownership issues, business issues and family issues. And a dispute that starts in one of these areas could easily spread to the other areas.

One way to lessen the likelihood of conflicts is to keep business decisions separate from family decisions. For example, if you have vehicles that were purchased expressly for business purposes, then no one should employ them for personal use. Likewise, business funds should be used for running the company and not for paying for personal expenses.

Another way to help your family’s company grow and thrive is to have an experienced business law attorney help you craft a plan that covers all the legal aspects of business ownership. The attorney can help protect your interests by addressing such issues as the succession of the business and how to avoid disputes. And should a serious conflict arise, the attorney can inform you of the possible ramifications and how to best seek a resolution.