Family Business Is Tricky
You are spending your whole life on this thing. Every ounce of sweat, every good thought, every great idea or perfect moment. All invested into ‘This’.
This thing soon becomes itself, an entity, it lives, breathes, sleeps, wakes, yawns, and ages. Yet this thing has the ability to live much longer than 78.74 years, so what does that mean.
How will I feed it, protect it, direct, guide, hire, buy, sell, and grow it. I can give it to my kids! They will surely love it, think through it, understand why it must live longer, and pass it along to their kids! But what if this is not so? It feels so whimsical! What if my children do not want it, cannot, should not, will not be the next me to this ‘thing’! So Who Is It Now?
Who is The Heir?
So you have a skill, a great business, something that you are exceedingly good at, but no heir. Well you might have an heir, per se, but he/she is not interested.
Long gone are the days when children grew up in the family trade, learned it from the ground up and then to succeed as owner. Nowadays, children pawn it, waste it, drive it into the ground, throw it away, and abuse it. No one is saying this is an improvement, but do we really miss the olden days?
I mean often times these successors did not have the drive of the founder and to compound that, they did not have the perspective, education, or ingenuity to take the family business well into the second generation. We wanted them to be our protégé, our apprentice, where we were Yoda and they were Jedi knight. What we forgot is we did not know how to mentor and the things that needed to be projected were not traits that are mentored into others. So Who Is It Now?
Businesses and artisans both have a question to answer. Who. Who is the protégé, the successor?
You see her. She has the same spark as you. That employee that sticks it out through thick and thin and believes in the cause behind the business. That kid that has worked for ‘it seems like forever’.
These are our apprentices. We must train and transfer our skills to them. These ones will feed, protect, direct, guide, hire, buy, sell, and grow that business or skill. For business owners, it is easier, because they can help that protégé finance and purchase the company from them when the time is right.
For artisans, it is trickier. As you cannot just transfer a talent and receive a final payment. On the other hand, has that just not been thought of yet? So Who Is It Now? It’s actually a good day, when finally realize that a triangular peg never fits in a circular hole.