Owning a business means putting your heart and soul into a living, growing business entity – and with all that heart and soul comes a lot of personal attachment. Many small business owners dread the day when life will force them to hand over the reins to someone else. How could anyone else do the job like they do? How could anyone else possibly care as much as they do? What if a new owner changes things? These are the things of entrepreneurial nightmares.
What do many small business owners do to deal with their issues of letting go? They try to groom one or more of their children to take the helm. By handing the business down to one’s offspring you can always keep one foot in the door and still exert some control, even if it is from behind the scenes. You can also continue to reap the financial rewards of small business ownership by taking a salary to fund your retirement.
Unfortunately, however, many small businesses that get handed down to children fail or take such a steep decline that the aging parents must come out of retirement to try and right the ship.
Why does this happen?
Children are not clones of their parents – they are their own people with their own motivations, hopes and dreams. A great many children of business owners take over the family business not because they want to, but out of a sense of duty.
Any successful business owner will tell you that without drive and passion there is little chance of keeping a business alive. If you try to force that drive and passion onto someone else – the outcome could be ugly. In other cases it isn’t a lack of drive or passion, some people just aren’t cut out to be business owners.
If you are grooming your kids for life as the owner of your business you need to consider that they, secretly or not, might not want to do what you do.
If you have a family business, the first thing you need to do is have a serious talk with your kids about the future of the business, their dreams and their goals. You might be surprised to learn that they want to do something else.
If this is the case, all is not lost. You can still make a return on all of the investment of time,energy and money you have contributed to your business over the years by selling the business. You can use the proceeds of that sale to fund your retirement or to invest in a business venture that your children actually want.
The message here is every business owner needs to deal with the reality that no one lives forever, and for the business to continue someone else needs to take the reins. Turn all of the love you have for your business into capital you can use instead of forcing your kids to take the helm.
Do you own a business and have always planned to give the business to your children? Have your kids expressed zero desire to take over when you retire? Would you like to know what businesses like yours have recently sold for? Ask us! Please leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.
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