You are ready—ready to start the transition process for your business. What you’d really love is to pass the business on to the next generation; keep it in the family; pass down that legacy to your kids and hopefully your grandchildren.
But your kids are hesitating. They aren’t sure they want the business, and frankly you don’t get it. Why wouldn’t they want to be their own boss, set their own hours, never work for someone else. Isn’t that the dream?
A little self-reflection might help you better understand their hesitation.
- How often did you come home and complain about your customers and how they always wanted something for nothing?
- How often did you miss events due to “the business?”
- How often did you share the good days and the joys of running your own business?
- Did you ever offer a surprise – like taking the day off unplanned just to hang out with the family? (Yes, it is possible to do this, and I’ll discuss it in future articles.)
Are you seeing a theme here? We see all the joys of owning a family business, yet we forget to practice that process of “selling it” to our kids during their formative years. After a rough day at work, it’s common to unwind (and sometimes unload) by sharing things with our family. However, if we don’t also share the excitement, the joys, and the financial opportunities of running a business, then we shouldn’t be surprised when no one wants to follow in our footsteps.
As you ponder this, ask yourself: “Would I want to follow in my footsteps? Am I selling the complete picture—the good and the bad—to the next generation so they can make an informed decision?”
Too often the answer is no. We share the downside and not the up, and then wonder what happened when our kids want to do anything else but take over the family business. Start now to share the positive as well as negative aspects of running your business, and you might find the next generation eagerly waiting for you to hand hand them the reins.