Next Generation : family business future

Family Business Future: it’s down to you

There is only thing more personal than running a business and that is raising a family.  After your relationship with your partner, parenthood is the most personal relationship you will ever have.  As a parent you are responsible for the future of your children.  As a business owner you are responsible for the future of your business.  All clear so far?

As a family business owner you are responsible for the future of your family business as you navigate through internal and external changes.

The future of your family business relies on communications.  Family businesses have to face the challenges of ‘talking family’, ‘talking business’, ‘talking change’, ‘talking innovation’ and ‘talking leadership’.  These conversations have to get round all the assumptions people in families and people in businesses make. In family businesses these assumptions are either made by the parents or by the next generation.  So we all have to ask ourselves a series of questions to check our assumptions.

Questions from the parents perspective

Consider the role of the parent.  Here are just a few questions you may be facing:  As a parent, are you there to look after your child, to prepare them for the evils of the world to pass on your sagely knowledge?  As the family business owner/manager are you there to ensure the future of the family business? Or as a family business owner, are you there to allow your children to grow their wings and find their own place in the world?

You are probably facing a mixture of all of the above.  What you might be missing is who should be running the family business?  Is it time to pass on the leadership of the family business to the next generation? Or should the business be led by non family members?  Then the big question are you really ready to pass on leadership of the family business to your next generation?  Family business lives in the next generation ,will you genuinely allow them to take it in their direction?

Like all BIG questions we usually tend to avoid them.  We tend to ignore the inevitable fact that eventually we all have to be replaced.

Questions from the next generations perspective

Now consider the next generation. Here are just a few questions you may be facing: As the next generation you are  prepared for the modern world but do you have the skills and confidence to change or evolve the family business? Are you prepared to share your world view with the previous generation? As a potential family business owner/manager are you there to ensure the future of the family business ? Or as the next generation family business owner are you confident enough to allow the older generation to spread their wings and find their new place in the world outside of the family business?

You are probably facing a mixture of all of the above. What you might be missing is who should be running the family business? Is it time to pass on the leadership of the family business to you?  Or should the business be led by non family members?  Then the big question. Are you really ready to take on leadership of the family business from the previous generation? Will you genuinely allow them to support you as the business moves on?

Like all BIG questions we usually tend to avoid them.  We tend to ignore the inevitable fact that eventually our role as the next generation is to lead, transform, sell or close the family business.

Answers to the questions

Jacqui recently presented Thomas Jardine & Co’s family business story at the Fambiz Conference in Carlisle.  Whilst presenting her story she offered the audience a chance to consider what they would do at various points of generational hand over.  Jacqui is well experienced in supporting family businesses.  This includes the design and delivery of Lancaster University’s first transgenerational family business programme last year.  Jacqui is well aware that each transgenerational handover is a unique blend of family and business perspectives and interests.  There are common themes but no “cut and paste” solutions.

The best advice will always come from people who are walking in your shoes.  This is why peer group support is so important.  Jacqui is developing a solution with Be the Business and the Family Business Network.  This will bring generations together to find answers for themselves.  The first event from this partnership will be a ‘Next Generation Workshop‘ taking place on Wed 6 Nov at
Dunsters Farm in Bury.

This is your chance to talk about what you want to know about ‘communication’ in family business. You will explore with your ‘peers’….. those, who like you, are tackling or avoiding the elusive challenge of ‘talking family’, ‘talking business’, ‘talking change’, ‘talking innovation’, talking leadership and what really gets in the way of that highly productive conversation? What are all those assumptions doing there? What light can your peers shed on this challenge?

The future is bright if we let it live in the new generation.

If you are interested please get in touch.