Telling a child that they will not be taking over the family business can be a difficult and emotional conversation for any parent. It’s natural to want to pass down the business to the next generation and to see it continue to thrive, but sometimes it’s not the right fit for the child or the business. If you’re a current generation family business owner struggling with how to have this difficult conversation with your child, here are some tips to help guide you through the process.
Start the conversation early.
Don’t wait until the last minute to have this important conversation. If you’re unsure about your child’s suitability as a successor, start the conversation early and have ongoing discussions about their future in the business. This will give them time to consider their options and make an informed decision. Keeping focus on the Purpose of the Business can help with clarity of the right Pick.
Be honest and direct.
It’s important to be honest and direct with your child about your concerns and why you don’t think they are the right fit for the role. Avoid sugarcoating or trying to soften the blow, as this can only lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings later on.
Listen to their perspective.
While it’s important to be honest and direct, it’s also important to listen to your child’s perspective and take their concerns and feelings into account. They may have different ideas about their future in the business or may feel strongly about taking over the family business. It’s important to consider their perspective and try to find a solution that works for everyone. You do always need to be open to the fact that your vision of the future may not be in the long term best interests of the company…
Offer support and guidance.
Just because your child won’t be taking over the family business doesn’t mean they can’t be involved in other ways. Offer your support and guidance as they explore other career options or consider starting their own business.
Consider alternative succession options.
If your child isn’t the right fit for the business, consider other options for succession. This could include bringing in an outsider, selling the business to a third party, or passing it down to another family member. It’s important to consider all options and choose the one that is best for the business and the family.
Seek outside help.
If you’re having trouble navigating this difficult conversation or need additional support, consider seeking the guidance of a coach or even a therapist. They can provide valuable insights and expertise to help you through this process.
Telling a child that they will not be taking over the family business can be a difficult and emotional conversation. By starting the conversation early, being honest and direct, while listening and offering support and guidance, you can help your child navigate this difficult decision and find their own path forward.
But you might also be surprised by the conversations and start looking at things from a different perspective – it’s always good to keep an open mind.