More than 80% of family businesses don’t make it beyond first generation. How can you avoid that? Allow your children to become successful in their own right. That’s very, very difficult for most businesspeople to do, but it’s something that has to be done. If you can’t do that, then you’re going to be limited in how successful you can be. Allowing your children to become successful, independent adult people is key.
One of the ways to do that, which is counter to what most people think, is to allow them to go out into the workplace and work for someone else. The children need to make money on their own. They need to be able to demonstrate to themselves and to everyone else that they have some ability to not only earn money but to get promoted in the workplace, to make themselves productive members of society. We recommend that the child goes out for three to five years, and in that time period, the child is able to develop independence from the parent. Without doing that, they end up being just adult children.
Bill Provett Facilitator Family Business Institute Raleigh, N.C.