A loan from a family member can be a unique opportunity to grow or scale your business with affordable, flexible financing.

It can also be the first step in a long line of financial decisions that hamper not just your small business, but your familial relationships.

Just because it’s family doesn’t mean it will be easy—in fact, in some ways it might be even harder on you than repaying a traditional loan. If you do decide to approach family for a loan, first ensure you are extremely clear on how much you need, what it is for and what you plan to do with it. It is also recommended to put everything in writing, including: the amount of the loan, the interest rate, payment terms, how long you have to pay it back, and what happens if you can’t repay the loan.

It is also advisable to get advice from an accountant and/or lawyer before entering into an agreement. Even if you are borrowing from family, it should be treated like a business transaction, unless they tell you right up front that the money is a gift to do with what you like.