In this issue
Challenged to “let go” by members of the younger generation, many senior business owners come up with creative excuses for staying in the saddle. We've organized the excuses we hear most often into a Top Ten that probably would have amused David Letterman in the years when he was waiting for Johnny to retire, in hope of succeeding him on the Tonight show.
The Top Ten may elicit chuckles, and our responses below will unsettle a few business owners who find them all too familiar. We're sorry, but someone had to do it. Without further ado, here's the list:
Starting with an inheritance, Robert B. Pamplin Jr. made his first million in the stock market before he graduated college. He then parlayed his earnings by buying and selling timberlands and farms, making millions more. He earned eight business-related degrees, and became an ordained minister after completing the Baptist seminary.
Many successful family business owners put plenty of thought into estate planning. They grapple with complex, tax-driven planning techniques. They struggle with concerns about family-member relationships. They agonize over how to divide stock and voting control between active and inactive family members.
In my consulting career I have worked with many business owners who came from poor immigrant families and knew what it meant to be hungry. Most were not very well educated, but through a lifetime of hard work and economic sacrifice, they and their spouses had built their businesses and become wealthy. What was often hard to get across to these successful founders was that if they wanted their business to continue after them, they would have to devote considerable time and resources to accomplishing that goal.