My two youngest daughters and their cousin set up a lemonade stand this week.

These kids are savvy little entrepreneurs. They were able to start their business venture with capital at no cost. Grandma supplied the lemonade and muffins free of charge. The kids offered to pay her for the supplies, but fortunately, Grandma didn’t call their bluff.

They added value to customers by including an apple free of charge with the purchase of a glass lemonade. These apples were picked from Great Grandpa’s tree. These kids really know how to control costs.

“At other lemonade stands you just get lemonade – not here – we give you an apple – that’s what makes us different”

They had two cup sizes so they offered customers a “medium” or a “large”.

“No one wants a small lemonade”

They organized themselves into functional roles. The cousin handled sales at the stand while the sisters took to the streets with signs to drum up business. All three business partners were present when I arrived for my large glass of lemonade and free apple. The youngest sister was thirsty from her advertising campaign and poured herself a glass of lemonade. The cousin protested:

“You have to pay for that”

“No I don’t … this is our stand”

The conflict went unresolved. It got me thinking about how family businesses manage or don’t manage this type of conflict.

What do you do when family business owners have a difference of opinion on how company assets are utilized?

Who is the bigger problem:

The family member who abuses privileges?

The family member who talks “about” the abuser instead of “to” the abuser?

The leader who avoids conflict in the business in order to preserve harmony in the family?