Taking over the Family Business

Your parents are retiring and you want to take over the family business.  Mom and Dad have made a good income over the years.  They have put you and your siblings through college, have enjoyed a few holidays and now are able to retire – all by running the family business.  So now you think it will do the same for you.  You’re ready to take the leap – jump in with both feet.

Before you do, maybe it is time to take a step back and really evaluate this business opportunity.  Do you know what you are getting in to?

Owning and running a business is a big commitment.  And it is even worse when it is the family business.  Your parents are counting on you to keep the business running.  That is a lot of pressure for you to be under.

Well first things first – let’s step back and do a non-quantitative business assessment.  In everyday terms – that is a personal analysis of whether this business is right for you.
The first thing you have to decide is running a business right for you.  Does it fit with your personal goals?  Will running your family business allow you to accomplish what you want?  Not only in the short term but also over the long run.

Now that you know that the business will help you achieve what you want in life, the next question is – will you enjoy running the business.  Running a business requires lots of hard work.  You must put in long hours at time.  Remember, you are the boss, you are in charge, and responsible for making sure things get done, and done right.  At times that means staying until it gets done, or doing things you do not like doing.

As well, running a business involves a multitude of tasks.  From dealing with bankers, suppliers and vendors to filling out applications, ensuring you have the right licenses, that you are following all the rules, and that all the customers are treated well.  Another big job of running a business is marketing, finding new and innovative ways to bring in more customers, and sell more to your existing customers.

Are you up for this challenge?  Can you multi-task?  Do you work well under pressure?  Running a business takes persistence – first and foremost.  And a pile of patience!

Finally, you have to analyze your own skills, abilities, and your experience.  Can you actually do this?  Can you run the family business?  If you do not have the skills and abilities, can you learn them somehow, or can you hire someone with those talents.  And as for experience, if you do not have the experience, where else can you get it.  Seasoned mangers and skilled tradesman may be hard to come by, but they are one of the keys to a successful business.

Take a good hard look at yourself before jumping in to any business opportunity.  And with a family business take a double look.  Be sure it is what you want, and that you are up for the job.

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