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Business consultant & CEO advisor Jane Gentry lends her expertise in these articles on strategy and leadership.

So, You think You Want Your Child to Take Over Your Business?

Succession Plan for Your Family Business / Family business succession planning. Image shows a person sitting behind a desk stacked with papers and files, while another person stands in front of the desk. The first person has a talking bubble that says "Someday, son, this will be all yours!"

Succession Planning Tips for your Family Business

For many business owners, the idea of passing the torch to their children is not just a succession plan; it’s a legacy. It’s a way to ensure that the fruits of their lifelong labor continue to flourish within the family. However, before you decide to hand over your most valuable asset to your child, there are critical considerations to ensure that this transition benefits both the business and your family’s future.

What To Consider Before Handing Over Your Most Valuable Asset

Assessing Your Child’s Interest and Capability

When building your succession plan, the first step is to gauge your child’s genuine interest in the business. Have they shown a consistent desire to be involved, or is it an expectation rather than a passion? It’s also essential to assess their capability. Do they have the necessary skills, knowledge, and temperament to run the business successfully? And realize that although your child has enjoyed working in the business, that doesn’t mean that they have the skills or desire to run the business. Having a contingency plan in the event your child is unwilling or unable to take over the business will ensure that the business continues to thrive.

The Importance of Experience

Experience is invaluable. If your child has worked outside the family business, they can bring new perspectives and ideas. If they’ve only worked within the business, ensure they’ve had a chance to take on significant responsibilities and understand the operations.

Formal Education and Training

While not always a prerequisite, formal education in business management can provide your child with a solid foundation. Additionally, consider whether they’ve had enough training, both within the business and through external professional development opportunities.

The Dynamics of Family Relationships

Introducing family dynamics into business can be complex. It’s crucial to consider how your succession plan will affect relationships between siblings, spouses, and other relatives. Clear communication and defined roles can help prevent conflicts during the transition.

Financial Considerations

Will your retirement be funded by the business? If so, how will this transition affect your financial security? It’s also important to consider the financial implications for your child. Will they be purchasing the business, or is it a gift? How will this affect their personal finances?

Legal Considerations

A well-structured legal succession plan is vital. This includes updating wills, considering tax implications, and ensuring all legal documents reflect the new ownership structure. It’s also wise to have a contingency plan in case your child decides the business isn’t for them.

It’s about more than just keeping the business in the family; it’s about ensuring its continued success and growth and ensuring the success of your child.

Preparing the Business for Transition

For your succession plan to be effective, the business should be in the best possible shape before the handover. This means having clear systems, processes, and a strong management team in place. The goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible for employees, customers, and suppliers. 

The Role of the Current Owner Post-Transition

Decide on your role after the transition. Will you be available for guidance and support, or will you step back entirely? It’s important to strike a balance that allows your child to feel ownership while knowing they have your support.

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Handing over your business to your child is a decision that requires careful thought and planning. It’s about more than just keeping the business in the family; it’s about ensuring its continued success and growth and ensuring the success of your child. It can be a complex and emotional process. By considering both the desires of your family and what is best for the business’s continued success and growth, you can ensure that the business thrives under the new generation while honoring the legacy of the previous one.

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Meet Jane


Jane Gentry has had a successful 30-year career as a CEO, Business Consultant, Executive Coach, and Keynoter. Jane formed her practice in 1999 and since then has partnered with her clients to improve growth, profitability, client retention, employee retention, leadership capabilities and business value.

Jane leverages strategies including the proprietary Value Blueprint to enable business owners and leaders to successfully create healthy organizations, plan for succession or sell their businesses for the highest possible market value. Jane is considered one of the top voices in leadership and sales.