"A life lasts a generation, the good name forever."
This site is aimed at SME owners who are considering a family succession of their business. The succession may be at a planning stage or may have encountered issues during the transition, such as conflicts between family members or incorrect initial assumptions. Indeed, human factors are extremely important such as the transfer of responsibility from the parent to the children and the professional development of the next generation of family managers.
Entrepreneurs will find many answers and suggestions on how to start, plan, correct, and complete a family succession in this website and the book "How to Manage the family succession in Italian SMEs", by Gian Andrea Oberegelsbacher & Leading Network published by WKI 2017.
We have seen first-generation entrepreneurs automatically fall into family successions without due consideration, driven almost as a moral and social obligation – to "give the scepter" to the children. There can be serious consequences to the company and the hard-earned assets if the next generation has limited competences, lack vision, and strategy, or even worse do not have entrepreneurial spirit and leadership.
It is necessary to start from a clear and honest analysis and vision, getting support from external managers with strong specific experience – such as Interim Managers specialized in family successions. The Interim Manager may help the entrepreneur develop the best strategy and tactics to achieve the desired result and satisfy the family. Last but not least, if there are no heirs or they are not up to the task, the company may be sold so that the owner can enjoy retirement, perhaps with an occasional commitment of representation. Thus preserving the work of its employees who in previous decades have contributed to his success and that of the company.
A carefully prepared Business Plan is indispensable and must indicate the necessary investments and how the resources (including children) will be committed to the future development of the company. An innovative component of the transition may be the children's entry into the company, which if they are smart, must be encouraged. Their growing motivation, professional development, increased responsibility, must be managed with the owner who, at the same time must let go.
We also suggest to entrepreneurs to "live" this experience as a time of possible growth and as an opportunity, adapting to the current Zeitgeist (spirit of the time), without being anchored to the past, both for the quality of their old age and because of the professional careers of their children.
At the same time, we suggest that their children study abroad, making them learn some foreign languages, but also pushing them to know different cultures, allowing them to open their minds to new horizons of thought and vision.
As we have seen, there are many things to consider before passing the baton; all must be evaluated with balance and detachment, without excluding any possibility and avoid being dominated or fatigued by poor planning and bad organization.
Source PMI, The monthly magazine of small and medium-sized enterprises - IPSOA Editore
Extract from the book “Come gestire il passaggio generazionale nelle PMI italiane”, by Gian Andrea Oberegelsbacher & Leading Network, published by WKI (Ipsoa) 2017