In the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to meet with several family business owners who are preparing for the transfer of their businesses to the next generation. Surprisingly, one of the toughest challenges these owners face is figuring out what they will do after they leave the business. For many, the family business has become an integral part of who they are and it has occupied so much of their time over the years. Trying to decide what they will do after they are no longer working in the business on a day-to-day basis can be so challenging, in fact, that it can slow down the entire transition process.
So if you find yourself facing this dilemma, what should you do? First, contemplate the level of involvement you would like to have with the family business down the road. You need to be mindful of the line between contributing your time as chairman of the board, for instance, versus hanging around so much that it undermines the authority of the new leadership.
Then, I typically suggest to clients that they spend some time thinking about the things they would like do right now, if they had more time. We often see a range of activities occupying the time of exiting leaders, from playing golf and traveling, to sitting on family boards of other businesses, to simply spending more time on hobbies. Whatever you choose, figuring out what you are going to do after you leave the family business is certainly a good idea before completing the transfer.
Steven E. Staugaitis is a director at Kreischer Miller and a specialist for the Center for Private Company Excellence. Contact him at Email.
Have you started thinking about what you’ll do when you exit your family business? Share in the comments!