Q/A: How a Family Can Navigate a Successful Transition?

Q/A: How a Family Can Navigate a Successful Transition?

A Q&A with Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D


Q: Why would a family with a successful growing business want to sell it? Does a sale signal a failure of the family to overcome the curse of “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves…?

Q: Why is it hard for family members—both business founders and the next generation–to think rationally about selling the business?

Q:Why should the family discuss the possible sale with non-owning family Q: members before the final decision?

Q: How can a family make the best decision about whether to sell its business?

Q: What are the pitfalls for the family to avoid in making the decision?

Q: What changes can a family expect after it sells its legacy business?

Q: Immediately after the business is sold, what important steps should the family take? What key choices does the new business family have to make?

Q: How does a family de ne its identity after it sells the legacy business? What then uni es and de nes the family?

Q: How does the new business family make sound decisions about these things?

Q: What is the role of governance? Why must a family separate family from business/ nancial tasks and activities?

Q: What key services could a family office provide for a family? How can the family decide what it wants and how to organize their family office?

Q: What common mistakes do advisors make, and how can they avoid them?

When successful, a family business at some time has to face the dif cult question of whether to sell the business. This exchange looks at the different elements of this choice, most importantly the way for the whole family to approach the choice, and its effect on the family if they sell the business. The sale represents the beginning of a new chapter in the life of the family, and this exchange is a guide for how a family can enter it.

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