Can you honestly answer these questions? As a family business owner and advisor, I’ve had to address for myself and other business owners tough emotionally charged questions. Here are five questions that every family business owner must honestly answer during the Plunder Transitional Stage and beyond.
- How long can I, or do I want to continue to run the business?
- What would I do if I decide to “retire”?
- Who do I want to transfer management and ownership to?
- Can my successors, especially any family members, continue to run the business successfully?
- How do I treat most fairly family members both inside and outside the business, and deal with those who might have an entitlement mentality?
Are you putting off answering these questions? It’s human nature to make excuses for putting off addressing challenging questions, especially those which have emotional personal and family issues attached. My excuse consciously was that I was too busy with the day-to-day running of the business, and I used the rationale of “tomorrow” being there to find time.
Wrongly, I personally waited longer than I should have before addressing these challenging questions. In doing so I created unnecessary uncertainty and stress upon myself, my family, and my business team of professionals. Unfortunately, it also caused an estrangement between me and several family members.
It takes longer than you want to answer these questions. When I finally did allot the required time to answer these critical questions, I came to realize that underneath it all I was feeling uneasy about relinquishing management and ownership control. Moreover, I was uncertain about my financial security and independence beyond the business. Frustratingly, it took more time than I expected to work through all the complex transition and succession issues. The devil is indeed in the details! As a result, I wound up working longer running the business than I wanted.
You need to change your mindset. It took me a prolonged amount of time to realize that the psychological reluctance of transitioning away from a business is a harmful mindset that needs to be changed sooner than later in order to minimize uncertainty and to maximize the amount of wealth ultimately unlocked from the business.
What turned out to be most exciting for me is what happened when I adjusted my mindset. Opportunities I envisioned for living my life beyond the business began to manifest into reality. This motivated me to get serious about answering the tough emotional questions, and to accelerate implementing strategies to get to where I wanted to be.
Make your life the best it can be. Today, I’m financially free and do only things that I want to do with a passion. I reside comfortably on a beach location in Florida with my wife who is my soulmate and the love of my life. I travel extensively which I never took the time to do as a full-time business owner. I read, write, mentor, educate, advise, and giveback to help others. I do what it takes to rightly stay physically and mentally fit. I’m finally learning to play jazz and standards music on the piano. When I get good enough, I might even play in public and have folks “put bread in my jar” :-).
Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like help getting answers for your particular tough emotional questions, and how to make certain you fully enjoy life beyond the business.