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The Family Business Oxygen Mask

By August 31, 2015July 12th, 2023Succession Planning3 min read

Like many of you, I travel – A LOT. Airports are like my second home. Every flight presents a new opportunity to finish up a report, read a book or meet a new person. It’s the latter that I love the most.

What intrigues me every time I board a plane is what happens – or doesn’t – during the pre-flight safety instructions. Few passengers pay attention. They’re busy getting situated, chatting with a friend or cramming in that last email or text before takeoff.

Unfortunately, many family business owners are also ignoring “safety” instructions that are critical to the life of their business. Plan or don’t plan, succession will find you. This really hit home on a recent flight.

While traveling back to Dallas, I sat next to a G1 family business owner. Sadly, he was battling an unexpected medical crisis. In between medical care, he was preparing his son to assume the helm of the family business. This situation caught him off guard and he expressed, “this transition has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face.” While I was able to offer some advice during our short flight, there was no time to develop a resolution that would alleviate the succession pressure-cooker he was in.

There are, however, a couple of important lessons to be learned here.

  • Pay attention. As a business owner, you owe it to your company to pay attention to the warning signs from professionals who understand the dangers that lie ahead. Like your flight attendant, who provides step-by-step instructions for emergencies, REGENERATION Partners can guide you through the succession planning process. We have worked in virtually every market segment and have addressed every possible succession scenario. Our team has more than 20 years of experience bringing family owners and future leaders together for a smooth succession transition.
  • Put on your oxygen mask. During pre-flight safety instructions, we’re told “…if there is a loss of cabin pressure…place the oxygen mask over your nose and mouth…be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others.” Your family business succession plan is your oxygen mask. If you don’t have a succession plan in place you will be of little help to those who assume leadership of your company once a transition is in play. There is no one-size-fits-all success plan. From family relationships to ownership, leadership and management, every business has its own set of unique dynamics to consider. Not only can our team identify the best transition path for your business, we will walk with you through the implementation of that plan.

They say death and taxes are inevitable. I’ll add to that notion the inevitability of succession for family business owners. Whether it’s a turn in the economy, your health, or simply the race against Father Time, every family business founder WILL FACE the reality of a changing business.

The survival of your family business tomorrow largely depends on how carefully you plan for its succession today. If you don’t have a succession plan, or if you are concerned about the effectiveness of a succession plan already in place, please reach out to REGENERATION Partners. We are here to help!