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Hard questions, big decisions

UC Goering Center news

Succession planning isn’t easy. The Goering Center can help.

When it comes to succession planning, family business owners face unique and considerable challenges. Contemplating a transition brings up hard questions and big decisions that affect everyone involved: 

How and to whom do I transfer owner­ship and leadership? When and at what price? How can I let go? How much income will I need? What will I do, who will I be, and what will my life be like after the transition?

Potential successors face related issues. They often ask themselves:

Am I ready? Can I do it on my own? Would I be happier doing something else? What is the business worth? How will I finance the purchase? Will I be accepted? Who can help me figure out all of this?

A proven path to success

The Goering Center’s Next Generation Institute is an eight-step program to prepare both generations in a family business for a successful transition of control and ownership. Founders/owners and their “next generation” successors identify succession planning issues and address them together.

Goering Center experts teach family businesses how to transition roles and ownership by creating a mutual vision for the com­pany while engaging essential advisors and peers. Side-by-side, with the support of seasoned facilitators, participants — a mix of owners, family and non-family members working in the business — learn valuable lessons on how to begin the path to transition together.

Since its start, the Next Generation Institute has helped more than 400 family business owners and leaders understand intergenerational succession planning and the related issues.

The Next Generation Institute sparked communication between me and my son, Luke. It helped him develop an awareness of how challenging it is to be an owner and we both learned how to avoid some really big mistakes that can be made during a business transition.

Jim Perry, President Perry Contracting (pictured above with son, Luke Perry)

Apprehensive? You're not alone

Studies show that many business owners fail to plan for their succession. When lead­ers serve as the head for both business and family, they may believe that their succession wishes will be carried out posthumously — simply assuming their family will know what they want to hap­pen after their death and execute their plans accordingly.

What leaders often do not anticipate is the strife that occurs when a succession plan is not clearly in place. Commonly, the family or management team does not agree with the wishes of the leader that has passed away, resulting in dissen­sion and chaos.

Succession planning can be incredibly difficult to navigate. These issues are most easily, and most effectively, dealt with when there is a true partnership between generations in creating and implementing plans using proven methods.

For a successful transition, it is also crucial for each party to place the interests of the business first, by operating in a collaborative spirit and recognizing that others are involved in the process.

Registration is now underway for the Next Generation Institute. The sessions kick-off in January 2021, and there is a complimentary, virtual overview breakfast and presentation streaming Nov. 10, 2020.

Learn more here, or by contacting Steve McLemore, engagement director, at 513-556-7409.

About the Goering Center for Family & Private Business
Established in 1989, the Goering Center serves more than 400 member companies, making it North America’s largest university-based educational non-profit center for family and private businesses. The Center’s mission is to nurture and educate family and private businesses to drive a vibrant economy. Affiliation with the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati provides access to a vast resource of business programing and expertise. Goering Center members receive real-world insights that enlighten, strengthen and prolong family and private business success. For more information on the Center, participation and membership visit goering.uc.edu.