If Rockers, Preachers and Flashers Have, How Can You?
What do Eddie Van Halen, Reverend Billy Graham, and Hugh Hefner have in common?
All three built award-winning multi-million dollar enterprises and turned them over to their children. Wolfgang Van Halen, Franklin Graham and Christie Heffner have all assumed control over what their parents started. Wolfgang can play guitar and arouse groupies as well as Eddie ever did. Franklin has expanded his father’s legendary church foundation and Christie ran Playboy Enterprises for 26 years. If these disparate families have all enjoyed successful transitions why can’t you and your child create the same success?
If you hear yourself say, but business and family is different, you may be right. Here’s why.
It may actually be tougher these days because not as many few children want their parent’s businesses. Assuming you’re not a rocker, preacher or flasher, your small business may just not be that much fun or as interesting. Would you go into your business if you had the choice to do so today? And with so much turbulence and uncertainty, would you make the same sacrifices or learn the new skills your business needs to profitably grow forward?
Many owners’ children I know have missed out on the benefits of a life of adversity, and while they enjoyed an adolescence of privilege, they understand they face a future full of unexpected challenges. But I am sure that Wolfgang Van Halen, Franklin Graham and Christie Heffner would say that it was the same for them.
So what lessons can we learn from these famous offspring? They:
Were never denied their heritage or status and when they decided it was time, they actively demanded leadership and were groomed for it
Took many of their best practices from their parents and clearly executed them in new markets and methods.
Faced crises their parents never did and restructured their organizations in order to take their businesses forward.
The simple lesson seems to be, that if and when your children want your business let them step up and ask for the responsibility and authority to run it. If you believe your child has the right stuff, hopefully they will come to believe it too and in time to let you plan to let you both plan for a smooth handoff. And while it’s unlikely they will be rockers, preachers or flashers, you never know and can only hope they make good choices like you taught them.