What happens when the kids say no?

In the normal scheme of things and this is no stranger to my very own family; whenever we are involved in family run businesses we almost always expect our kids to follow in our footsteps.  That is, to carry on the business of the day after we have either departed or retired.

This has been the case for my own family’s business and this is why we have been able to run our conglomerate of companies for almost 90 years.  A very long time indeed but at the best of times we have had to work very hard to convince the younger folks to return to the fold and continue the tradition.

It has not been easy and is not easy for those of us with family run companies.  Many family run businesses have magically been able to stay afloat despite the changing landscapes but for others it sure has been a struggle.

So many great family businesses have had to close their doors because the kids have decided to say no in response to the call for them to continue on.  Others have been forced to go public in order to stay alive while others continue to struggle between survival and death.

Should we expect our kids to continue the tradition?  Or should we be ready when they say no?  There was a time when the tradition was expected, anticipated, and realized but no more.  More and more kids are saying no to the call for them to follow in our footsteps.  They are choosing instead to strike out on their own and to carve out their own niches.

The world of family run companies is fast shrinking and I for one feel really sad about this but I do understand.  The world has changed so much over the past few decades and we need to accept this.

Just my two cents for today.

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