What Represents FAILURE In A Family Business

Research shows that only 30% family businesses survive through the second generation and even fewer make it through the third. However, these “failure” statistics may include selling the family business as an unsuccessful outcome, and that is the subject of this week’s blog.
We look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Please click here to download the transcript.

  1. As an owner in a family business, sometimes selling the business is a very positive thing, as family businesses can create a rift in families. I have seen it in the family business I grew up in, as leaving a business to only one child and not another can bring animosity that can last a lifetime. Even if one offspring is more suitable to running a business than another, coming up with an equitable solution can be challenging. Sometimes we need to make the choice if family or a business is more important. I have seen people lose their identity in their business which can make seeing the business as a living, breathing entity which becomes more important than their family relationships.

    • Thanks for the comments, Jean!

  2. What if your father took over his fathers business and now he is having control problems turning it over to me I have and currently been running this business for years without his help my father still makes his money without working at all I have been here for 26 years every time we talk and I say I’m ready to take this on for me and my family he says it would be easier to sell it to a stranger that’s fine for him being 70 but I still need a income and a career for the next 25 years any transition ideas would be appreciated I love watching your videos and I do really love what I do I just think it’s time to do it for me thanks Justin Lewis

    • Justin, your comment about your situation caused my heart to sink a little. Possibly, because I spent this morning with our corporate attorney discussing transitioning me out of company leadership and I’m not as old as your dad. Twenty-six years is a long apprenticeship. Since you have had several conversations with your dad (good!) and have still received the ‘easier to sell’ reply (not good!), I would consider searching out and engaging an experienced, family business psychologist to help you, your wife and your parents come to an understanding. There are several potential outcomes in your situation but you all need peace in understanding your various beliefs and assumptions. Very likely that The Family Business Institute provides this service or can get you connected.

      • Thank you

      • Thanks, John. Peer counsel like this is a tremendous thing! Well done, sir!

    • Justin;
      I am unclear of whether or not your father depends on the business for his retirement income. If he does then this is a potential problem. Could he be looking for a sales price that is more than the company is worth? Or more than you might be willing to pay?
      When one spends the majority of their professional career nurturing and growing a business, it’s very difficult to let someone else take the reins and lead it in a different direction. Or at least a direction that they would not have thought of. It’s almost like a parent stepping back and letting their first born ‘leave the nest.’ Perhaps your father does not want to be pushed aside and resists any effort that results in him loosing control.
      I have one suggestion to make; ask your father to take on special projects for the company. Projects that take him out of main stream operations, yet will engage him in activities that are stimulating and whose outcomes will potentially benefit the company. The goal is to gradually ease him away from the day to day operation while proving to him that you can indeed manage without him.

      • Thanks for replying. The sale of this business either to me or someone else does affect his retirement

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