Separating family from business is not an easy task. However, there are ways to do it painlessly.

Understanding family dynamics and the roles each person plays, “and learning to respect those roles and boundaries,” is something the “BioGuard University” program emphasizes. It offers business owners in-depth consulting/training in a five-day period.

“Sometimes the little sister might be better at running the business than the oldest male,” says Bob Harper, national sales manager at Lawrenceville, Ga.-based BioGuard. The family will just have to accept this as a fact and move on — for the health and growth of the business as a whole.”

Leaving your personal feelings at the door is the golden rule of running a business. Family businesses often employ more that one family member, and sibling issues all too often become the most volatile component of a company.

Siblings in charge of other siblings in the workplace can be disastrous if the respect isn’t there. “The moment siblings begin to address each other in a manner that is dismissive, they are cut off at the knees,” says Drew Mendoza, managing principal at the Family Business Consulting Group in Atlanta. “This is typically the impetus for the second generation’s downfall.

“The relationship must be ready to evolve from that of vying for parents’ attentions to one of cooperative and shared success,” Mendoza suggests. “Junior generations not exposed to proper management techniques will surely fall into old patterns of their predecessors,” he adds. And that permits the business to become stagnant and possibly defunct.