Tips for a successful ownership transition

By Barbara Spector

In 2013, three of the four brothers who were equal owners of Kitchener, Ontario-based Flanagan Foodservice left the business and reduced their ownership stake. The remaining brother, president and CEO Dan Flanagan, offers these suggestions for those planning to buy shares from family owners:

• Start with trust. Build constant communication and transparency into the relationship from the very beginning.

• Don’t be selfish. Work towards a win-win result. Be willing to give and take a little for the greater good.

• Ensure you have a structured mechanism to allow those who wish to “take some chips off the table” to do so. Everyone must agree on the process for selling shares, which must be put in writing.

•  Take time to do it right. This is a big decision with many implications for the business and the family. Give it your attention, and don’t rush through it.

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