Taking Over The Family Business? 4 Tips For A Smooth Transition

family succession planning

Succession planning is one of the most challenging tasks facing small business entrepreneurs running a family business. Emma Sturgis outlines 4 tips for making the process as smooth and as successful as possible.

Many people want to keep their businesses within their families, but these transactions are not always as easy as they would like them to be. In addition to the legal and financial concerns, families are often much more emotionally invested in companies that their loved ones have worked so hard to build.

Here are four tips that will allow you to make this transition as easy and stress-free as possible.

Start Working There Early

One of the most common mistakes new managers and business owners make is sliding into a company for only a few days before taking control. Many of the top companies in the world require new managers to hold different positions for weeks leading up to their official promotion. This will allow you to learn more about the company as a whole and the state of the market.

Consult With an Attorney

Just because it is a family business does not mean that you should assume everyone will be amicable no matter what takes place. Even if your family is very close, hiring an attorney, like the professionals at Alternative Law who can help you create a family business succession plan will make this process much less stressful. These plans are not just to protect you if there is a falling out, but they will also protect everyone involved if a major accident happens such as an individual passing away.

Build Your Reputation

Winning over your employees can be an incredibly difficult thing to do. They often dislike new managers and owners because they feel as if they got passed up for someone who is not quite as qualified. In addition to learning each of their jobs, you should also try to speak with them individually to get their feedback and begin building positive relationships.

Be Patient

Depending on the size of the business and where you are located, legally handing the company over could take a year or longer to complete. That is why it is so important to start the transition early and stay patient when you experience hiccups. Trying to rush any aspect of this process could result in a devastating mistake that impacts the company’s success for years to come.


Even when a business is passed between family members, it can still be a very stressful and emotional process. Taking the time to make sure everyone is on the same page during the transition will help you avoid many of the most common pitfalls that companies have to deal with.

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