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10 Things to Consider Before Joining the Family Business

POSTED: July 20, 2014 5:00 a.m.
Jay S, YouTube/

What your salary will be before moving your wife and five kids back to your hometown. Dad may say something like this, "There's plenty of work to do. Come on home and we'll figure it out."

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10 Things to Consider Before Joining the Family Business

1. What your salary will be before moving your wife and five kids back to your hometown. Dad may say something like this, "There's plenty of work to do. Come on home and we'll figure it out."

2. You may spend 25 years building the family business only to learn that you have to share ownership with all of your siblings; none of whom work in the business.

3. Your dad may live to age 100 and you may actually inherit the business 15 years AFTER you retire.

4. You will be compared to your father and never really be able to live outside his shadow.

5. Your family may have the “opportunity” to repurchase your own business thanks to a lack of estate tax planning and Uncle Sam wanting his portion upon your parent’s death. This is when you think, “Dad, I guess we should have listened to that life insurance salesman after all.”

6. Part of your “inheritance” will require you to personally guarantee all of the debts of the family business. Boy is your spouse going to be excited to hear this!

7. You will have to cut a check each year to your cousins you’ve never actually met because your Uncle John gifted them stock. And you will probably do it with a smile and not even a hint of animosity!

8. Everyone in town will assume everything you ever achieve was simply handed to you. You may even be referred to as being a member of the lucky lineage club, or something like that.

9. You will be on every community fundraiser call list and be made to feel like a miser for only helping some charities. Who would have thought being charitable to some would leave you feeling so guilty?

10. By joining the family business you may miss the chance to make some heartless corporation lots of money. Who knows, you might even like your work. In the end you may feel like you were robbed of the opportunity to go to a job you hate, like most adults in society do.

Oh well, I guess joining the family business isn’t for everyone. Go in with your eyes wide open and know what you are signing yourself up for!

Dave Specht was a professor of family business at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He owns Advising Generations LLC, a multi-generational family-business consulting firm. Dave also created the Inspired Questions App. www.inspired-questions.com.

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