My Dad Wants to Sell the Business
I am a 40-year-old single mom who has worked in our family business for the last 15 years. My father has been approached to sell the business and is not asking for my input. I have always thought that I would take it over, and now I am worried that I won’t have the opportunity. What should I do?
Business-owning families are notorious for holding strong assumptions inside, but struggling to communicate openly about deeply held passions and beliefs. The busyness of work crowds out these important discussions. This is a wonderful opportunity to break that pattern and let your father know what is on your mind. Gather the courage to approach him and share your vision for the company, as well as your assessment of the leadership skills you believe you possess that can help achieve that vision. It may be best to schedule time away from work to have this conversation.
At the same time, it will be critically important for you to listen to your father’s reasoning for considering a sale at this time, and to understand the forces that are acting upon him in this stage of his ownership. Our experience has been that opening the discussion with general themes, and then working out the details over time, is often more effective than trying to resolve the matter all at once. If this is the first time your father has heard about your desire, it may take time for him to process the information you are sharing with him. He also may have input for you that you will need to consider seriously, particularly relating to your parents’ financial goals and aspirations.
Your passion and commitment to the business are both admirable; however, it is our experience that focusing on a realistic vision and qualifications evidenced by performance will carry the most weight in a decision to attempt family succession.
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