Why does my Dad keep meddling?

 

So you’ve ‘officially’ taken over the running of the family business from your Dad. You threw him a retirement party, all your staff, customers and suppliers know that you’re the boss now. You’ve got the new title of Managing Director or CEO. Your Dad says he wants to do other things. He’s put the best years of his life into building the business. Your Mum wants her husband back so they can go travelling, spend more time with family and grandchildren. Your Dad says he trusts you (after all, you’ve been working with him for 10 years) and that he knows the business is in safe hands. He’s stepping back.

So why then, does he keep ‘popping’ in, trying to get involved?

You’ve got your own ideas and plans. You’re going to make changes to make the company more efficient, drive more growth, expand and diversify, embrace better technology. 

But he Just. Wont. Let. Go.

Always questioning your decisions, chipping away...

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Pressure to hire family members

 

As your business grows you might find your parents and other people asking if you could find a job for your brother, cousin, aunt, friend of a friend. You’re hiring people all the time so surely it wouldn’t be hard for you just find them a little something?

But, as much as we all want to help and support those around us, you and I both know that it’s a slippery slope – especially if the person in question has absolutely nothing to contribute and would be more of a hindrance than a help. However on the other side of the coin, there could be some real talent amongst your relatives and you don’t want to risk missing a trick. There are also situations whereby the family business can be a great place for someone to flourish who might otherwise have been overlooked. Perhaps a family member with learning difficulties or a disability. Or a young mum nervous about returning to work. But it’s a fine balance and you need to find a fair way to tackle it.

The...

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When will my parents hand over their shares?

 

One of the biggest challenges for any family business is the matter of ownership. When the person who founded your business started out, it wasn’t an issue. They owned all of it, they built the company up and they benefited from it’s success.

As family firms progress through the generations, it becomes a little more complicated. Shares are divided up, bought, sold, transferred… it can get tricky. So when you and your parents decided that you were the best person to lead the business after them, you might have assumed that ‘leading’ the company also meant ‘owning’ it.

Yet here you are, running the company; your parents fully retired and getting on with the next phase of their lives, and the majority of shares are still in their name. Yes, you are paid a salary (and they may have gifted you some shares), but at the end of every year, the profits that you worked so blooming hard for are carved up as dividends for your parents.

This can cause...

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Following in the footsteps of an amazing entrepreneur

 

This was one of the first ever videos I did because I have walked this path myself recently! When your Mum and/or Dad have been the king ding-a-ling for SO long, they’ve built a really successful company, been trail blazers in their industry, have an army of fans working for them and have an unlimited amount of energy and passion, it can be a really daunting task to take over the helm of their family business.

No matter how much belief and confidence you have in yourself and your ability to take the business to the next level, you’ll never have the same relationships with people that they do, you haven’t been there in all the situations they have over the years and you’ve never experienced some of the down-right awful things they have in their time as an entrepreneur building and growing a company. Imposter Syndrome is REAL. And if you let it, it will eat away at you.

Your first thought is the staff. They would lay down their lives for your Dad! He took them...

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Our family business culture is too unstructured

 

Family businesses are loved for being warm, friendly places to work. Like a giant ‘family’ in fact and it’s something that you always loved about it when you came to help your Mum or Dad in the office when you were younger. But now that you’ve taken the reins you’ve noticed how SUCH an informal culture - where everyone is great mates and nobody is really accountable – means that the business has lost its sharpness and isn’t making the most of opportunities for growth.

The first problem is the lack of accountability. Yes, there is some management structure in place and technically everyone has to report to someone else but when they’ve all been there for 20 years and have become good friends, nobody actually cracks the whip or holds people accountable. In fact most people just see your Dad as their real boss and he’s great mates with everyone! It would make things awkward and difficult if he were to hold people to task or fire...

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My sibling can't hack me being their boss

 

You’ve taken over the family business from your parents and now you’re working every hour God sends to make it even more successful. Your sibling also works for the company but had no ambition to be the Managing Director or CEO. For some reason they’re really struggling with the fact that you’re now their boss and their behaviour is getting you down. Sometimes you just want to scream ‘This is hard enough for me, I’d like to see you take on all this responsibility’ but you don’t because you want to preserve your relationship!

The family business can provide a fantastic vehicle for family members to grow and thrive in their careers. Perhaps they don’t fit the mould for corporate life or they’ve been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug of their parents.

But what happens when you AND your sibling work in the company, with varying levels of experience, competence, leadership skills and ambition? In most cases there is only room...

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My Dad won't talk about Succession

 

You’ve worked in the family business for many years now. Perhaps you got some experience elsewhere first and then came and joined your parents with a view to taking the helm one day. Or maybe you’ve literally been in the business since you left school or university. Either way, you know the company inside out, you’ve spent years and years training, learning, developing. Getting ready for when the time comes that your Dad wants to retire – step back and let you take the company forward into the future.

The only problem is…your Dad won’t talk about the future. He hasn’t shown any signs of wanting to retire or given you any indication that he wants you to prepare to take over. Every time you try to talk about it he just says ‘We’ve got so much going on at the moment, we’ll talk about that nearer the time’…. Or ‘Do I look like I’m ready to just sit back and spend my days playing golf?!’ 

...

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I don't want the family business to fail on my watch

 

If you’ve not heard the statistics, only 30% of family businesses make it from the first to the second generation, only 12% make it from the second to the third, and only 4% make it beyond generation three. So it’s no surprise that taking over a family business which has succeed for multiple generations brings with it a HUGE sense of responsibility and pressure.

First and foremost there’s the legacy of all your family members who have gone before you. From the founder who literally started with nothing and through sheer hard work and sacrifice built something to provide for his or her family, to their children who transformed the company into something bigger and every generation since who have, in their own way, increased the company’s success. It’s easy to question if you have the same entrepreneurial talent as them? Is the economy harder now than before? Is the business model still viable in today’s world?

Secondly there’s the pressure of...

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