Family Business vs Professional Career

surface

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So the old man wants to retire and sell his business which is a niche little business that's been around for 90+ years. Its an old little gem, doesn't have a website / marketing, still works on manual stock cards but hey it's paid for what the family needed through our lives and gave us a comfortable life, nothing fancy or flashy. With some minor changes it could polish up and raise its chin.

I am at a crossroads. I am a professional doing a job I like, where I like, but I cant help feel sore that this business will go. I remember from tiny days running around in the factory and learning many little things, with no surprise I am in the business world working for a large company. I believe I have the acumen to do it, as I have over 10yrs experience in the business field so a little cc doesn't scare me.

I have been thinking, should I quit my professional finance job and give it a shot at trying to make something of this old machine, or should I just keep to my path and follow my career ? Is this my one chance to become my own boss, I wonder.... Any thoughts / experiences on this would be appreciated. I mean I will pay the old man for the business, I just wonder which could be more fruitful long term.
So many things to think about. You seem to have some understanding of old man's business and looks like you want to do it. It seems that you have normal relations with your father so chances are that he will help you out in transition if he is not too old.

But.

Would you have money left after you buy the business? What family commitments do you have? Would you be able to go back to corporate if something happens (not sure about your skillset)? Have you changed jobs often? (single steady job is useful but it might render you a bit useless in terms of adaptations) Have you spent enough time to understand current business and/or to draw tentative growth plans? Have you sat with your old man to understand his views?
 

Ishould_BeWorking

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So many things to think about. You seem to have some understanding of old man's business and looks like you want to do it. It seems that you have normal relations with your father so chances are that he will help you out in transition if he is not too old.

But.

Would you have money left after you buy the business? What family commitments do you have? Would you be able to go back to corporate if something happens (not sure about your skillset)? Have you changed jobs often? (single steady job is useful but it might render you a bit useless in terms of adaptations) Have you spent enough time to understand current business and/or to draw tentative growth plans? Have you sat with your old man to understand his views?
Good questions and all valid, useful to make an assessment. This is the crossroad. Risk in both directions. Havent sat with the old man yet, trying to get some views first.

Any time lost in the professional game is hard to gain back. We know the issues facing the corporate male, colour, relevance etc. Skin out the game can put u back and out fast in the corp world. Skill set, will still be there, relevance is probably the enemy.

Good position atm in terms of money, however about to start a life and just bought a new house off plan. The money was applied there but could be applied to this venture, I am ok where I live now and will be married in a few months. Funny how sometimes many decisions fall on the plate at the same time...the irony
 

surface

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Good questions and all valid, useful to make an assessment. This is the crossroad. Risk in both directions. Havent sat with the old man yet, trying to get some views first.

Any time lost in the professional game is hard to gain back. We know the issues facing the corporate male, colour, relevance etc. Skin out the game can put u back and out fast in the corp world. Skill set, will still be there, relevance is probably the enemy.

Good position atm in terms of money, however about to start a life and just bought a new house off plan. The money was applied there but could be applied to this venture, I am ok where I live now and will be married in a few months. Funny how sometimes many decisions fall on the plate at the same time...the irony
Sorry but I work in corporate. Last 25 years. Please let us not deviate this into color rant - especially when it is not true in private sector. Any myth is not going to be true just because one keeps on repeating it.

Mine was intended as a genuine advise and you tried to twist it.
 

WhiteRaven

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Have you considered putting General Manager / Operations Manager into the business to manage on your behalf? Keeping a family business doesn't necessarily mean having to head it up 24/7.
 

Ishould_BeWorking

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Sorry but I work in corporate. Last 25 years. Please let us not deviate this into color rant - especially when it is not true in private sector. Any myth is not going to be true just because one keeps on repeating it.

Mine was intended as a genuine advise and you tried to twist it.
Certainly not a rant, one has to just consider all factors that's all. I am sorry if it seemed I twisted it, that was not my intention
 

Ishould_BeWorking

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Have you considered putting General Manager / Operations Manager into the business to manage on your behalf? Keeping a family business doesn't necessarily mean having to head it up 24/7.
The business is not of a large scale, so owner run is best option to maximise returns. While it seems like an easy fix to appoint a person and also work, my job is demanding and there isn't room to dilute focus and have this humming in the background. Unfortunately these are mutually exclusive options for me.
 

juBa

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I had the same choice, family business paid for studies and post grad etc and when I was done I had to choose. Ended up going the family business route, the old man built a solid foundation and sold part of it to me. I brought in a lot of innovation and modernization to the way things are done which made everything more efficient and we expanded and aim to continue expanding, never looked back since then.

Some considerations though, how was business over lockdown? I doubt we will have another hard lockdown but good test to see how strong a business is if it managed well over all that.

Also, how many employees are there? Biggest issue with being your own boss is HR management. If there’s only a few employees then its not to bad but once you start expanding you’re gonna find yourself spending most of your time handling HR issues.

You mentioned you haven’t seen/ balanced the books yet. DEF start here, take a look at the numbers, obviously it has to make financial sense and there has to be more than enough to pay your Dad his money, for you to take a salary (the same you get now, as you’re starting a family, with room for expansion), to pay the employees, electricity etc.

What about the business premises, I assume it’s owned by your father since it’s a 90+ year old business. So no rent which is a massive plus. I’m not familiar with how you produce your products, lots of machinery or hand made? If machinery, remember electricity prices that are continually rising.

If you do take over, you have to be open minded and willing to expand and diversify. It may have worked out well for your family up to now but the business world is intense, I’ve seen a lot of people that had to shut down MASSIVE businesses, factories etc over lockdown, because they did not diversify and expand their operations. And they were more than capable of doing so, but they got “comfortable” with how business was and what they got in return. Never get “comfortable”! Be prepared to expand and most importantly be prepared to work, being your own boss is not a 9-5 it’s a 24/7. You’re not just gonna be responsible for your own families well being but the well being of all your employees and their families too.

Good luck man, it’s very exciting and can be very rewarding too!
 

Ishould_BeWorking

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Messages
395
I had the same choice, family business paid for studies and post grad etc and when I was done I had to choose. Ended up going the family business route, the old man built a solid foundation and sold part of it to me. I brought in a lot of innovation and modernization to the way things are done which made everything more efficient and we expanded and aim to continue expanding, never looked back since then.

Some considerations though, how was business over lockdown? I doubt we will have another hard lockdown but good test to see how strong a business is if it managed well over all that.

Also, how many employees are there? Biggest issue with being your own boss is HR management. If there’s only a few employees then its not to bad but once you start expanding you’re gonna find yourself spending most of your time handling HR issues.

You mentioned you haven’t seen/ balanced the books yet. DEF start here, take a look at the numbers, obviously it has to make financial sense and there has to be more than enough to pay your Dad his money, for you to take a salary (the same you get now, as you’re starting a family, with room for expansion), to pay the employees, electricity etc.

What about the business premises, I assume it’s owned by your father since it’s a 90+ year old business. So no rent which is a massive plus. I’m not familiar with how you produce your products, lots of machinery or hand made? If machinery, remember electricity prices that are continually rising.

If you do take over, you have to be open minded and willing to expand and diversify. It may have worked out well for your family up to now but the business world is intense, I’ve seen a lot of people that had to shut down MASSIVE businesses, factories etc over lockdown, because they did not diversify and expand their operations. And they were more than capable of doing so, but they got “comfortable” with how business was and what they got in return. Never get “comfortable”! Be prepared to expand and most importantly be prepared to work, being your own boss is not a 9-5 it’s a 24/7. You’re not just gonna be responsible for your own families well being but the well being of all your employees and their families too.

Good luck man, it’s very exciting and can be very rewarding too!
Thanks alot for the insight, great words and advice. I am totally with you on the HR Management issue, I cringe thinking of it, handling strikes, wage negotiations etc - that's the biggest test. I often have people tell me they love being their own boss but you can see that they never really rest because their mind is always working on their business. You make some very real good points !
 

NarrowBandFtw

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if it was my choice my thoughts would be:
- is the family business is in a good position?
- is it the kind of thing that will keep me engaged / interested?

if both of those are 'yes' I'd go for it, sadly no family business in my family at all, we're all salaried serfs :sneaky:
 

RedViking

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Instead of banning forum members, send them there for a week of history lessons and a Rain sim only.
 

Mortymoose

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I once heard an interview on Cape Talk, where the guest was stating that running your own business is not easy and that you will get scarred by it. It can be brutal and every single day brings a new problem or a challenge and you as a business owner need to solve it.... So it is not easy and you need to be committed 100%.

Now, the thing that I see as a huge benefit to running your own business is not the fact that you are your own boss but the fact that I get to decide when I will be ready to retire.

I am above the half century mark and a lot of my peers that work for the man on the mine are starting to panic about pension, property and having enough dosh to live during their twighlight years...

The added stress, "What are we going to do with all the time on our hands?"

I have seen old couples go on pension and wither away....

I can work on in my own business until Elon lands on Mars, but feel no pressure building as the mandatory "retirement" date approaches....

Just another angle to running your own show!
 

Ishould_BeWorking

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Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
395
if it was my choice my thoughts would be:
- is the family business is in a good position?
- is it the kind of thing that will keep me engaged / interested?

if both of those are 'yes' I'd go for it, sadly no family business in my family at all, we're all salaried serfs :sneaky:
Its not a tenbagger by any means, probably in dwindling years due to lack of man power an will as the old man isn't all that Tech'd up and entering his 70s, you can imagine the energy levels. Its a niche field which I find interesting. I see possibility (or pipe dreams). I am a salaried serf - makes life alot more easier and I sleep well - its a good life, just the soreness of potentially losing something like this tugs on the heart strings
 

Ishould_BeWorking

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Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
395
I once heard an interview on Cape Talk, where the guest was stating that running your own business is not easy and that you will get scarred by it. It can be brutal and every single day brings a new problem or a challenge and you as a business owner need to solve it.... So it is not easy and you need to be committed 100%.

Now, the thing that I see as a huge benefit to running your own business is not the fact that you are your own boss but the fact that I get to decide when I will be ready to retire.

I am above the half century mark and a lot of my peers that work for the man on the mine are starting to panic about pension, property and having enough dosh to live during their twighlight years...

The added stress, "What are we going to do with all the time on our hands?"

I have seen old couples go on pension and wither away....

I can work on in my own business until Elon lands on Mars, but feel no pressure building as the mandatory "retirement" date approaches....

Just another angle to running your own show!
Absolutely 100% agree with you ! That's one thing I saw that has kept my dad going working 70 strong. No forced retirement, and his mind kept busy, which has probably prolonged his life and vigour. Certainly a plus which I have seen first hand.

Seeing elderly folk being forced to take VSPs for companies which they were loyal to and put their lives in is not an easy sight. U empathise with them and the look in their eyes, hopelessness, betrayal, uncertainty.

I always thought that if that was ever me, I would open up a little boerie and burger stand just to keep my spirit up and going, one needs work to feel a sense of purpose
 

Mortymoose

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Messages
13,079
Absolutely 100% agree with you ! That's one thing I saw that has kept my dad going working 70 strong. No forced retirement, and his mind kept busy, which has probably prolonged his life and vigour. Certainly a plus which I have seen first hand.

Seeing elderly folk being forced to take VSPs for companies which they were loyal to and put their lives in is not an easy sight. U empathise with them and the look in their eyes, hopelessness, betrayal, uncertainty.

I always thought that if that was ever me, I would open up a little boerie and burger stand just to keep my spirit up and going, one needs work to feel a sense of purpose
I feel it and I see it, I have a 68 year old Butchery Specialist and a 73 year old Cake Maker working for me......
 
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