by Eric Gilboord from his book 'Just Tell Me More'.
You may be fortunate enough to enjoy the opportunities that come out of a family business but some of the same benefits (experience, familiarity, and loyalty) can be garnered from employees and business associates who have expertise and experiences that are different from yours.
Lately, there have been many discussions in the media, around the boardroom table and even the dining room table about succession management. This situation occurs when the younger generation begins to take over the reins of a business and the older generation moves toward a less-involved, coaching type of role.
In some cases the new generation will continue to operate the business as it had been run in the past, a safe short-term measure.
This strategy may have worked for previous generations, but circumstances are changing at a dramatic pace. We are living in a time of new technology, new needs, and new ways of approaching problems. E-commerce, database marketing, social media, big box stores, branding, and many other new terms are not only entering our small business vocabulary, they are taking it over.
Running a successful small business is a little more complicated today than it may have been for previous generations. As a member of the new management team, you may find it necessary to fill in your knowledge and experience gaps with outside expertise. But don’t ignore the wealth of experience the older management group has. Instead, try to blend the outlooks of both generations.
The older management may be set in their ways, a little tired, and perhaps a little too comfortable with a particular style of conducting business that has provided them with years of triumph (usually tempered by a few bumps in the road). The younger management may be full of energy and have new ideas for reinventing the business. But you need to blend the best of both generations. Preserve the successes from the past, incorporate the new opportunities, and build for the future.
Whether you are handing over the reins or are the fortunate recipient of a mature business, here are some points to consider during the transition period. (A reminder to the older generation: not everything old is good nor is everything new bad. To the younger generation: not everything old is bad nor is everything new good. Take advantage of the opportunity and enjoy the best of both worlds.) The following tips work equally well for both a succession management of a business that has been running for years and for a fast-growing company that has been operating for only months.