How To Keep Your Family Business Thriving From Generation To Generation

Theodora Lee Joseph, CFA

3 mins

How To Keep Your Family Business Thriving From Generation To Generation

In today's ever-changing business world, keeping the family business thriving and passing the torch to the next generation isn't a walk in the park anymore. The old-school ways don't cut it, and transitioning to new leadership has gotten trickier. So, it's high time family businesses upped their game when it comes to succession planning.

A well-defined succession plan is like having a safety net for your family and your business. Plus, it helps you chase down other important goals too.

In this guide, we're going to break down the key elements of business succession planning and how to actually make it happen.

Establishing a plan

First off, setting up a solid plan is the name of the game. It forces you to tackle the tough questions, like what your business will look like when you're not at the helm, who's calling the shots, and who's running the show day in and day out. Balancing family involvement with peace at home and at work can get tricky. So, getting the family in on the planning talks early can help everyone get on the same page: it's way easier when folks know who's making decisions and how they're getting made.

Apart from mentoring and coaching, you’d be wise to mix in some external education and training for family members gearing up for new roles. Successors need to understand the ins and outs of your business culture and how things work behind the scenes. That's the ticket to a smooth handover.

Oh, and let's not forget about managing expectations. Some family members might not be gung-ho about running the business, but they might still want a piece of the pie or a say in how decisions are made.

Factors to consider

First, you've got to watch out for those estate and inheritance taxes. Just take a look at the cautionary tale of Samsung, where the family had to sell off a boatload of shares to pay off death duties.

And speaking of debts, you better have a solid plan for when and how you'll pay them off. Messing that up could put your business legacy and your family's assets at risk. If things go south and you can't stick to your payment promises, creditors could swoop in and even seize your personal assets to cover the debt.

In some places, laws about forced heirship might dictate how your estate gets divvied up. So, it's a must to make sure everyone in the family feels like they're getting a fair slice of the pie. Otherwise, it's a recipe for family feuds. Make sure to lay out roles and responsibilities clearly and explain why differences in treatment are reasonable.

When it comes to tools, think about using trusts and life insurance. They're understated weapons that can help protect your company and provide the cash flow your heirs need to cash in their shares or keep things running smoothly.

And whether you're passing the baton within the family or looking outside, the person you pick has got to be up to the task. Remember, owning and managing aren't always a package deal. If your business is set up as a partnership, brace yourself for potential control battles down the line.

Knowing when and how to step back is vital for a smooth handover. Losing key players can mess with morale, performance, and the goodwill your business has built up. You might even need to give a financial boost but don't tread on your successor's toes in the process.

Next steps in succession planning

Now, what comes next in your succession plan depends on your specific situation. Your business type, circumstances, and long-term goals will all come into play. Family businesses might find a family council handy, while publicly traded companies could be all about corporate governance, training, hiring, and development.

Here's the deal: getting advice from experienced pros can make all the difference. They'll help tailor the solutions to your unique setup. And having an outsider's perspective during this emotional phase of your business journey can be a game-changer. It'll help you prepare for what's next in a way that's good for both your family and your business.



All the daily investing news and insights you need in one subscription.

Disclaimer: These articles are provided for information purposes only. Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided. The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

/3 Your free quarterly content is about to expire. Uncover the biggest trends and opportunities. Subscribe now for 50%. Cancel anytime.

© Finimize Ltd. 2023. 10328011. 280 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 4AG