A comment was recently made at a Strategies in Succession Planning conference that the terms “succession” and “transition” don’t really capture the needs of family-owned businesses – and I couldn’t agree more!

Perpetuating a family business is really what's important.  A change in leadership, or even ownership, is simply an event in the lifespan of that business.  A business that is the product of hard work, investment and risk taking; a business that is more than just a source of income; a business that has a soul, a culture and takes responsibility for the livelihood of its employees.


What it takes to perpetuate a business and make it sustainable involves strategic thinking, like the Buehler family looking at competitive pressure decades into the future as they considered selling the grocery chain in 2012.  While the business is no longer owned by the family, they had its longevity and competitive position in mind when they sold.


What it takes to perpetuate a business is complex thinking about how to manage multiple opportunities and challenges.  Buying out owners, investing in technology, acquiring industry peers are things I commonly see companies grappling with.  These opportunities usually present themselves simultaneously, not conveniently one at a time. 


How do I increase the chances of success? What will it take to make this all work?

It takes alternatives and staggered decision points about who will lead the company next to perpetuate a business.  According to PWC studies, over the past four years planned transitions to the next generation have declined by 20 percent and sales to third parties are expected to be up nearly 300 percent. To ensure sustainability, businesses need to have multiple options for the future with defined time frames.


If you or one of your clients are looking for strategies to perpetuate a business, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us for a complimentary call or visit the What We Do page on our website to learn more.