Oh, for the days when the kids argued over what music to listen to in the car. They are grown now, and so too may be their conflicts. For you the business owner – and their parent – the kids’ disagreements may put a strain on your business, especially through the transition to the next generation’s control.
It is more common in family businesses than we like to admit: The owner’s children have conflicts with each other. Their personalities may conflict. Their outlook on life may conflict. Their approach to business may conflict. Your plan to one day turn your business over to your children may be impractical. Imagine the damage to your business if you have an odd number of children who disagree on how to run the business. No consensus, no business.
There’s no better way to instigate a war among your children or encourage them to form factions than to give them a business to manage without a long-term strategy. It’s bad for family and it’s bad for business.
So how do we deal with conflicting kids? How do we deal with the reality that their conflicts could hold the business back, or worse? The key, as in so many areas, is to plan ahead. What do we want to accomplish with the business? What do we want the business to look like? How do we get everyone to interplay effectively?
Is it appropriate to have one child manage the business on behalf of all? It might make sense to exclude a child from business involvement. Buy him out. Give her different estate assets. That is, treat everyone fairly at the time the assets are distributed but give each child the tools to move forward in life without sibling conflicts.
Think about that. What dreams do you have for your business and your family?
Then, no matter your children’s ages now, come up with a plan to put those dreams in motion. There is no one-size-fits-all plan. And it’s important to know that we can work it out, that we can deal with children in an artful way, and that your business can grow and prosper.
What’s your experience? Do you have children who have conflicts with each other involved in your business? Are you worried that will be a future problem? Join us in the comments below and let us know about your experience.
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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion, and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. Each case is unique. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Freeimages.com/photographer Erik Aravjo.
About the Author
R. Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment (www.rshawnmcbridelive.com/3laws), gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org or (214) 418-0258.
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