It’s all in the family: Businesses that forge ahead through bonding, shared vision and passion

Explore the intricate world of family-owned businesses, from honouring traditions to navigating modern challenges. Discover how these start-ups manage wealth, family dynamics, and work-life balance for success.


Family-owned businesses have their own dynamism. These businesses don’t just delve into the intricacies of the market but also face the overlapping constraints that come with it. However, these constraints bring about a better outlook and give a more proper structure to a start-up. Most of the world’s biggest companies have started off as a family business.

With the sentiment of starting something of your own gathering steam in the current years, family-owned businesses or start-ups have started to pop up and exert a strong hold on the market. Easier communication, better relationships and understanding and mutual incentives make it a more rewarding experience for the individuals involved in a family business.

However, not everything is as good as it sounds. There are complexities and hurdles that are more profound and hard to negotiate when it comes to family-operated businesses. Although, with a proper structure and open-mindedness, these can be easily dealt with. SME Futures spoke to multiple family members running businesses to gather further insights on how they deal with issues like conflicting interests, challenges of differing family approaches, maintaining clear communication, wealth management and more.

BOB: A Culinary Legacy Reinvented

BOB (Binge on Baked) has emerged from the rich culinary legacy of Bhagat Halwai, a legendary sweet brand, dating back to 1795 in Agra. This family-operated start-up, led by Riddhi and Shivam Bhagat, redefines tradition with a modern twist, offering a range of delectable treats from breads and buns to cookies, cakes, rusks, puffs, and pizza crusts.

BOB is not just a venture; it’s a continuation of the Bhagat family’s culinary legacy. Shivam Bhagat, as the ninth-generation entrepreneur, is deeply invested in preserving and evolving the family’s culinary empire. The idea of BOB emerged naturally, driven by a blend of innovation and reverence for tradition.

Riddhi Bhagat, Co-founder of BOB, envisioned BOB as a brand that preserved tradition while pushing boundaries. By fusing traditional recipes with contemporary flavours, BOB aims to redefine India’s food and snack industry.

“BOB’s mission is to reach every household in India through an omnichannel approach. This strategy ensures accessibility and enhances brand visibility. BOB wasn’t just a new venture—it was an extension of the Bhagat family’s legacy, embodying the ethos of excellence and purity synonymous with the family’s name for over two centuries,” she says.

As for their family dynamics in wealth management, their approach is to manage differing family perspectives on wealth through open communication and respectful dialogue.

“Running a business with family members can bring several advantages, such as a strong sense of trust and shared values, which can foster a cohesive team dynamic. However, it can also present challenges, especially when family members have differing approaches to discussing wealth and financial matters,” she adds.

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“In our family, we believe in open communication and respectful dialogue when there are differences in opinion or approaches regarding business decisions or wealth discussions. We strive to understand each other’s perspectives, find common ground, and make decisions that align with our shared goals and values. By listening to each other, being flexible, and focusing on what’s best for the business and family, we navigate through disagreements effectively,” Shivam Bhagat chimes in.

Prioritising a healthy work-life balance is essential. Riddhi and Shivam Bhagat maintain a healthy work-life balance by prioritising family time and establishing clear boundaries.

“During challenging times in our business, we make sure to communicate openly and support each other emotionally. Setting boundaries for work-life balance is crucial, so we allocate specific hours for work and dedicate quality time for ourselves and our loved ones. This helps us stay grounded and connected amidst the demands of our professional responsibilities,” Riddhi iterates.

Medyseva: Transforming Healthcare Accessibility

Medyseva is a healthcare start-up focusing on telemedicine in rural India. With the vision to become the ultimate healthcare partner of all citizens, it was started by a married couple, Vishesh Kasliwal and Rachita Kasliwal in 2021 in Madhya Pradesh.

“As a family-run business, we foster trust and reliability among rural patients, making them comfortable discussing their healthcare needs and financial concerns. Taking a holistic approach to healthcare, we consider not only medical treatment but also financial aspects and accessibility challenges, ensuring our services are inclusive and effective,” says Vishesh Kasliwal, Founder and CEO of Medyseva.

When it comes to taking financial decisions on wealth management, the couple emphasise open communication, defining clear roles, setting shared goals, seeking professional input, and balancing financial sustainability.

Talking about maintaining work-life balance, Rachita reminisces about how she strove to achieve that during the inception stage of Medyseva’s launch in Central India.

“Balancing family and work during Medyseva’s launch in Central India was tough. Time management was key while juggling business and family demands. Clear roles and open communication helped, but the emotional strain was real. Achieving work-life balance required boundaries. Staying adaptable and building a strong support system were crucial,” she says.

“Despite the challenges, it taught us valuable lessons in resilience and strengthened our family bonds for Medyseva’s success. This balance exists more in our minds than in reality,” she adds.

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A stable work environment encourages open talks and discussions, which is a crucial for solving an issue at the very outset. The Kasliwals foster transparency by openly sharing their expansion plans and strategies.

“We maintain clarity with regular family meetings and updates, defined roles, open dialogue, and constructive discussions. Our key steps include setting shared goals, educating stakeholders, considering diverse perspectives, seeking professional advice, and establishing clear decision-making processes, all ensuring that effective wealth management discussions are aligned with our business’s mission,” Dr Vishesh asserts.

Kapra: Celebrating Individuality in Fashion

Kapra, founded by sisters-in-law, Pragya Jain and Kaveri Saxena, is a fashion brand that celebrates diversity and individuality. They offer garments for different body types, emphasising inclusivity and empowerment in the clothing industry.

Kapra stands out by offering two options for each garment: one for petite sizes and one for plus sizes, ensuring that everyone feels confident and comfortable in Kapra’s clothes, regardless of their body shape.

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“What made us stand out was not just our shared vision but also our different body shapes. Realising that everyone has different body types, we decided to offer two options for each garment: one for petite sizes and one for plus sizes,” Saxena emphasises.

“Running a business with family members, especially as sisters-in-law, has advantages in fostering trust and reliability. This familial bond facilitates discussions about wealth and financial matters with mutual understanding and respect,” says Jain.

The sisters-in-law cite open discussions, being respectful towards each other’s decisions and being willing to compromise as imperative for the success of their venture.

“Even if we have different backgrounds or views, we listen to each other and respect each other’s opinions. As independent women, we handle our finances on our own without involving other family members. This gives us the freedom to make decisions that fit our business goals and personal dreams,” Saxena asserts.

“We discuss our options thoroughly, weighing their pros and cons to enhance mutual understanding and reach agreements. Seeking advice from trusted outsiders is not uncommon if we hit an impasse. Different perspectives often shed light on new solutions. Through open communication, mutual respect, and a readiness to compromise, we navigate differences effectively for our business’s benefit,” says Jain.

Kapra aims to increase its sales and for that the sisters-in-law plan on taking their business online.

“As we grow, we’re focused on getting more people to know about us and are launching our website in 2024. We want to keep growing by making new clothes, teaming up with others, and using the internet to reach more customers,” Saxena adds.

Whiskers India: Pioneering Unisex Grooming Products

Whiskers India, founded by husband and wife, Aakash Goswami and Neeja Shah Goswami, is a venture in the unisex grooming product industry, focusing on modern, gender-neutral grooming solutions. It offers a range of grooming products that represent today’s youth and gender-neutral mindset. Their products cater to a diverse audience, reflecting modern grooming trends.

“The idea was to create a semi-premium and premium range of grooming products that represent today’s youth and gender-neutral mindset. We started with only 5 products and did a pilot in the local market until 2021 when we cracked our biggest modern trade deal and became a pan India brand,” says Neeja Shah Goswami.

What are the advantages and challenges of running a family business? “It’s definitely a challenge to bring everyone on the same page. If a discussion is healthy, everyone finds common ground. The mindset should be of growth. You are cautious because everything is new but to our advantage, our board is a good mix,” she adds.

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“I like to keep people over-informed even if they have not asked for an explanation. So that everyone involved in the business should be on the same page while enough freedom is given to the person handling the department. Most importantly, no one’s personal opinion should get in the way of growth,” she points out.

And what is the key to keep personal conflicts at bay? “Neeja and I have always played an active role in business decisions. My role is to take care of investments and production. Her role is to handle sales, marketing, and distribution. We are venturing into new categories and brands other than Whiskers India soon. It avoids any kind of conflicts, when roles are pre-defined,” says Aakash Goswami.

Looking to venture further into other categories and businesses, Neeja Shah Goswami has a sane suggestion for budding entrepreneurs looking to start a family business. “My advice for entrepreneurs who want to start a family business is don’t do it if you can’t respect your boundaries and if you want to absolutely have a non-compete kind of environment or relationship with the members of your family,” she stresses.

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