The Business Transition Blog

The Gathering

At this time of year there are lots of soppy movies about Christmas and family, redemption and forgiveness. Some are inspiring and some are just bad. I don’t usually watch them, but The Gathering caught my attention, perhaps because Ed Asner was the star and I like him as an actor.

The movie could be summed up as follows:

  • Grumpy old entrepreneur father is told he has a 60-90 days to live.
  • His business was always more important than his family so he is estranged from his wife and children.
  • He hasn’t seen his adult children in years and doesn’t even have their contact info.
  • He wants to make amends before he dies.
  • His wife talks all the kids into coming home for Christmas – even the wayward son who is a draft dodger, moved to Canada, doesn’t have a phone but does have a pet moose.(?!)
  • In spite of past wrongs and strained relationships, they all have a good time and vow to get together more often. (Dad doesn’t reveal the elephant.)

All very sad and heart-tugging. The acting is pretty good. But then Dad does something really stupid. He invites his MBA son-in-law who has failed at running his own small business and his wayward son to come into his successful business and run it. Arghhh!!

Stupid but unfortunately, not unrealistic. Emotional decisions tend to trump logical decisions when it comes to family and business.

Clearly Dad didn’t have a business transition plan nor had he spent any time thinking about the long term health of his business. And now it is too late.

The statistics on companies passed on to the next generation are pretty dismal and yet many entrepreneurs would still like their children to carry on the business, regardless of their abilities, their interests or motivations. In cases like that, I feel sorry for everyone – the children, the rest of the family, the employees and if mom or dad are relying on the ongoing success of the business for their retirement income – for them. The biggest winners in that situation are probably the lawyers.

You can see the wayward son coming home here:

Merry Christmas!

Some Free Stuff – On Business Transition

Winter has set in and it’s almost the New Year so it’s a great time to sit back, reflect and make some decisions about the future. I’ve added some new items for those who are interested in business transition and succession planning.

First, here’s a link to an article in Inc. Magazine about a peer group that has started in the US. It identifies many of the issues we’ve been concerned with and gives a good look at the inside workings of a group of business owners who meet regularly to focus on preparing their business for transition. I’ve spoken with the owners of the company running it and they seem like great guys.

We’re launching a peer program in Canada in the New Year. For those interested in developing memberships or leading these sessions, we’re having a launch program on January 20, 2011 in the Kitchener, Ontario area. To get more information, you can contact Wayne by email or phone 519-894-4748 ext 385. For those interested in joining a peer group, get in touch with Wayne.

Here’s an introduction to the Business Transition Coach Forum in audio form. In this 24 minute module you’ll get an overview of the BTC Forum, why it was developed for Boomer Business Owners, 7 critical questions you need to ask to avoid catastrophe, some stories of your peers, and how to get started on preparing your business for transition or sale.

Introduction Module - The Introduction to The Business Transition Coach Forum (BTC Forum).

This booklet includes the information from the audio above, but also includes some exercises and additional stories. For those participating in the BTC Forum, this provides the first step in the program.

Now, what was I getting my wife for Christmas….