Family wholesalers must find leaders to preserve business

05/03/2011 07:37:15 AM
Tom Karst

Wholesalers and distributors who want their children to consider becoming part of the family operation should take the time to explain the business to them in fairly precise terms by the time they are 15 years old.

Building internal processes for improving skill sets of potential leaders is critical, he said. If family members aren’t suited for leadership roles or don’t want to take the challenge of learning new skills, he said executive talent should be hired outside of the family.

Panel members said it builds confidence to work outside the family business for several years before joining the company.

Challenges are steep to keep a family business successful from one generation to the next, he said. Salisbury said a recent survey showed that only one out of three first generation businesses make it to the second generation, and only 10% of those remaining business make it to the third generation.


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