This is a question that I am often asked by just about every family business owner(s) facing this decision. It is often hard to come up with a direct answer for so many reasons.
My first response is usually the question, “What does your son/daughter want to do?”
This generally begins a discussion that results in a long list of questions that first must be addressed.
While it sounds like a bit of an annoying process, the resulting questions are truly the beginning to finding out the true answers to the initial question.
As parents, the thought of a child joining the family business brings so many varying feelings. These feelings range from sheer excitement & retirement planning, to fear of conflict, to the shift in the family dynamic that inevitably happens, to procrastination on dealing with the issue.
This is a huge decision for most family business owners. There are concerns of things not working out and the resulting damage to the family. (refer back to my article entitled, “What Does Mom Have To Say” for further insight on that front). Never forget about Mom in this process!
What Should the Family Business Owners (Mom and Dad, Siblings, Partners) Do Now?
Let me answer that question!
Engage in an outside expert to help facilitate a conversation. I focus on asking the right questions, having the proper respectful discussions in a safe environment, and really digging deep to explore all of the segments of a successful entry into the business for your children. All done with a vast knowledge of family business dynamics.
As you read this you may still be looking for the answer to the real question posed in the heading. At the risk of sounding coy, there is not “one” answer other than let’s work together to explore and figure it out. Family Harmony may depend on it!
Please feel free to share this article with anyone pondering these questions. I am always happy to offer a COMPLIMENTARY one hour meeting. In this hour, we may even answer a few of these tough questions. Call me and let’s chat 🙂