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Succeeding as sisters in business


Entrepreneur and business mentor Kerrie Dorman on the pleasures and pitfalls of running a sibling business


  • You know each other’s background, experience and character. This is very difficult to gauge when going into business with a partner you don't know, and is often the downfall of many partnerships
  • You’ll have a natural ability to discuss tricky issues. Breakdown of communication in business often leads to failure
  • There is a natural feeling of unity, and you’ll be more likely to have the same values, fundamental for setting up a business

Risk Factors

  • Underlying family issues that date back to childhood can arise and ruin business prospects
  • Failure can have repercussions on the family as a whole, which can be devastating, especially if other members have invested
  • Sisters falling out can be highly acrimonious and lengthy, which is emotionally exhausting for them and all the family
  • You will know your sister for life! Unlike partnerships outside the family where they or you can disappear

Five tips for a smooth running sister business

  • Whether a business is run by a family or not, business is business and a watertight shareholders/partnership agreement should be drawn up with legal advice
  • Have clearly defined roles and targets
  • Both sisters must be bringing something to the table by way of expertise/knowledge/capital
  • Nominate a third person to be a director or Mentor and meet regularly
  • Prepare properly before starting up, with some coaching to prevent any detrimental family issues arising


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