Edge Retail Academy Blog

Family Succession

by Mark Kippenberger

Independent jewelry owners are predominantly owned / managed by baby boomers.

Consequently, the issue of business succession is a process looming ever larger for many independent jewelers. The issue is not going away.

For those family business owners lucky enough to have “next generation” kids already part of the business & willing to some day take over the business, your successor may be chosen, but typically many handover questions remain.

Traditionally a succession process has revolved around the transaction itself. Today succession starts a long way before any transaction, and begins with the all-important transition of management.

Is your family successor sufficiently skilled and experienced to continue to build business value or does the family risk erosion of business value? Does your successor have the appropriate management style to grow, motivate and build your store team? If the answer is ‘no’ to either question, you may want to build a grooming plan for the successor, including desired outcomes and measures to monitor progress.

The grooming plan for your successor would look something like this:

  1. Make sure you are truly ready to retire!
  2. Groom the business, so it is ready for the next generation to take it over successfully – make it the healthiest possible, to give them the best chance to thrive!
  3. Call a family meeting to discuss the succession
  • Respect, compassion and discretion are all key elements of these conversations
  1. Are there other family members not in the business that need to be considered?
  2. Clearly define each family member’s role moving forward – take into consideration their strengths and weaknesses, so both they and the business is set up to succeed
  • Keep leadership, professionalism and communication skills in mind
  1. Set up an organizational development chart
  2. Create employment contracts
  3. Talk about money/inheritance – don’t avoid these topics
  4. Work with an independent advisor to help with these plans and conversations if needed

As advisors to independent jewelers, the Edge Retail Academy team take a collaborative approach that includes interviewing family members from both generations. We assist the Founder generation and consider & define a series of guiding principles that are designed to clarify their thoughts on management transition, phase down scope for the founder leading up to a transition with detailed funding plan attached.

The inter-generational family succession is not a quick process, but needs to reflect the compromise between the founder’s aspirations and “next generation” expectations with a series of specific actions.

If you would a complimentary conversation about your succession plans or feel you need some additional strategies to help you achieve the best outcome in your succession planning, please reach out to The Edge Retail Academy, and we can help! Contact Becka Johnson Kibby at Becka@EdgeRetailAcademy.com or 1-877 569-8657, Ext. 1 today.

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