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Whether you’re ready for it or not, inheriting the family business is a big deal. The sudden shift into the most critical leadership position can catch you off guard if you aren’t ready—sometimes even if you are ready for it. It’s time to take charge, learn about your business, and put in the work to grow it into the type of business you want it to become. Take time now to learn what to do when you’ve inherited the family business and improve your management skills.
First: Do You Want the Business?
Before you make any changes to the business, consider your management role and whether you want to handle it. Maybe you’re not qualified to take on the family business, someone else has a better grasp of the company, or you’ve already drifted down your own career path. By no means are you obligated to hold onto a business, even if it’s doing well. If you want to let go of the company, consider selling it to someone you trust to run it well—such as a trusted family friend or long-time employee.
Keep Your Mind Open To Change
A shift in management is an excellent time to attempt changes that the previous owners may have been too afraid to try. If you noticed aspects of the business that would benefit from modernization, and your parents or the previous owners wanted to stick to their traditional ways, consult with the staff and consider the changes. You might decide to switch to newer technology or even change the hours of operation. Create a plan using your own business sense, and stick to it in a way that also honors the legacies of previous owners.
Make the Office Yours
If you’ve decided to take on the responsibilities that come with entrepreneurship and business management, adding your personal touches to your new office will help you cement that decision. Give yourself a clean slate by reorganizing the room. If the prior owners insisted on filing cabinet storage and hoarding papers, consider bringing your storage system into the 21st century by digitizing your documents. Upgrade the computer, add décor from your favorite sports teams, and do whatever it takes to create a productive workspace for yourself.
Learn Everything About Your New Business
Last on your list of what to do when you’ve inherited the family business is to learn the ins and outs of your family business—especially if you’ve inherited it quite suddenly. Speaking to the employees and asking for their opinions provides you with information and shows humility and the ability to manage as a team.
Remember: you want the transition of management to run as smoothly as possible for both customers and staff, so try to keep a healthy balance of change and tradition as you learn how to manage.