The challenge for many though was the business had grown, as most family businesses do. It started on a kitchen a table with help provided by family members, who eventually became employees and/or shareholders. Everyone worked well together and then one day it became clear that each person had a very different view about the business. Some viewed it as a way to earn a salary, some felt it was a legacy for future generations and others had frankly no interest in it but out of duty did what was necessary.
Let us be clear, there is nothing wrong with this, it is called life!
However (you knew there was a however coming didn’t you!) sooner or later one of the individuals decided on a new path away from the business or wanted to retire or perhaps even sell the business.
And that is when the challenges started because whilst blood is generally thicker than water money can make people’s attitudes change and very rapidly.
In the next few months, there will be many family businesses looking seriously at stopping, selling, merging, or even buying their way forward into next year.
Without great clarity of the key players within the business, it could and probably will create all sorts of challenges.
The answer is to have a clear family plan where everyone understands and agrees with both individual desires for the future and their role within that future for the business. To take any other action before this clarity is frankly futile and will only make life more challenging in the long run.
Some professionals like to call it a family charter and I understand where they're coming from, however, for me so long as it is a firm plan with total understanding you can call it whatever you want..
So right now, if you are seriously thinking of changing the business (pivot is a well-used word now) perhaps the Practice can help?
We do have a lot of experience!
Until the next time…