Sometimes parents will buy or start a business because they hope to leave their children a legacy; the legacy of multi-generational business ownership. What happens if the children of those parents dread the idea of having to take over their parents’ business? The time for that difficult conversation is always NOW. If you are the child of business owners, ask yourself these questions:
Did you grow up working in the family business, but always dreamed of doing something else?
Would you only take over the family business out of a sense of duty or guilt and not because you really want to?
Have you had this conversation with your folks?
If any of these questions resonate with you, then perhaps it is time for you (and your family) to take a good look at what the future of you, your family, and the business hold.
Some things to consider?
If you would only take over the family business because you feel like you are bound by a sense of duty, then that decision would probably be a mistake. Businesses are a life-encompassing affair, and as the owner your heart really needs to be invested in the success of the business if it is going to continue to succeed the way it did when your folks were running the place. We frequently see small businesses falter when the second (or third) generation takes over without the same amount of drive.
If you have passion in another industry, then instead of sacrificing your goals to step into the family business role the family tradition of entrepreneurship can continue by selling your parent’s business when they are ready to retire, and then take the proceeds to invest in a business venture where you will have the passion and drive to continue the family legacy.
These considerations are important, and the conversation needs to happen sooner rather than later.
If you are the parent in this situation, you need to be honest with your kids about your expectations long before it is time for you to step down as owner. Although you may love your business, your kids might not, and it would be a far more productive legacy for all your hard work if you invested in a business where your children would be willing and able to succeed.
Do you own a family business and are concerned that your kids don’t want to follow the same path? Are you the child of a small business owner who likes the idea of staying within a family of entrepreneurs, just in an industry where you have passion? Talk to us! Leave a comment or question, and we can help you decide what would work best for your family and your legacy.