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February 24, 2009

Does gifting a family business destroy it?

Does gifting a family business destroy it?
With a large number of family businesses operating in North America, the idea that gifting a business to the next generation is mainstream thinking.
At a debate held by the Family Firm Institute in Toronto, Tom Deans was brave enough to contradict the wisdom of the masses. As the son in a second generation business, Tom went through the experience of joining a family firm and working hard to achieve a dream. Tom details the difficulties of conversations not had and questions not asked by family members destroys the family in the long run. In his best selling book, Every Family’s Business, Tom advices that every business should have a plan to sell.
During the debate, Tom explained that if both generations know there is a sale time and what the economic benefit will be for them, the trust will be high.
Trusted advisors need to understand that families shy away from these difficult conversations but that they could help. Using Tom’s 12 questions listed at the back of his book, every trusted advisor could be helping family businesses create the wealth that both generations deserve.
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