Siblings and the Family Business

Siblings must accomplish four core tasks in the transition from the founding generation. It can take time and effort but sibling partnerships can develop very effective leadership of their enterprise and stronger personal bonds in the family through their collaboration on these tasks.

These core tasks consist of:

  1. Becoming an independent team. This is one of the first steps to begin a seamless transition between generations. This step is accomplished by developing a clear shared purpose for the business. Ask yourself, why are we in business together? What are we trying to accomplish? Where do we want to take this business, this year, in the next 3 years, 5 years? How will we communicate effectively and civilly with each other?
  2. Taking initiative as a successor. Initiative is a factor that can make or break the business because if one of you lacks the drive to run the business successfully it will spell disaster. Showing an abundance of business acumen will prove to the current leadership that both of you are responsible and that the business will be in good hands in the future. One way to successfully show that both of you are ready to lead is to manage a small project together and operate as a team.
  3. Developing a strategy to grow the business and make decisions for the company. The business functioned well and generated plenty of revenue for one family at a specific standard of living. Now you are trying to support two families at a similar standard of living and need to grow the business accordingly. Make sure to look for ways to expand the company into new channels to secure more revenue streams.
  4. Positioning the next generation for success. You and your sibling want to make sure that when the time for your transition happens, it will be even smoother than the one that you went through. Ensure that the business lives on by figuring out ways to make the next transition as easy as possible.

From the book “Siblings and the Family Business” by Stephanie brun de Pontet, Craig E. Aronoff, Drew S. Mendoza, and John L. Ward.

For this, or one of hundreds of books in our Center for Family library, contact us at 657-278-4182, or come by any time. We are happy to check these out to you.


About csuffamilybusiness

In 1995 Cal State Fullerton, the third largest business school in the nation, formed the Center for Family Business to assist family businesses in recognizing their common problems and in finding solutions to the unique issues that confront them. The Center's mission is to use education to help family businesses in our region grow and prosper and to keep harmony in the family.
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