Joining the Family Business

Family business owners often are faced with the challenge of how to treat the next generation fairly when they want to join the business. One of the ways to do this is to establish early on (still in high school?) what the parameters are for joining the business and, of course, communicating those parameters to […]

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Trust and Communication

Trust is the basic building block of communication. Trust allows vulnerability to be part of the conversation and vulnerability encourages more communication. However, trust is extremely fragile. It can take years to develop and can be destroyed in a heartbeat. Trust and communication are opposite sides of the same coin. The more we trust the […]

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The Emotional Side of Retirement

We all know what has to be done when it comes to our finances for retirement…investing, saving and years of planning. But many entrepreneurs have not thought about how they will emotionally handle this new stage in their lives. Many definitions of retirement are similar to “the act of ending your working or professional career”. […]

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Whooooo Becomes Stressed at Christmas?

I think, to a certain extent, we all become stressed at Christmas. Some exciting and enjoyable stresses just come along with preparations for the season but other more harmful stresses may enter the mix as well. The sources of stress are different for each individual and family but quite often a major source of harmful […]

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Allowing Each Other To Be Different

Parents will often say they can’t believe how different their children are. Then they say they don’t understand why their children can’t get along with each other and/or the parents in the family business. If the long term goal is to keep the business a family business, generally the next generation of management will be […]

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“Soon”

“We’ll start succession planning soon”. So Mom and Dad think “soon” is in a couple of years. The children think “soon” is next month. Without anything further being said the stage has been set for conflict, misunderstanding and loss of trust. In this case, without context, each participant to the conversation will put their own […]

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The Power of Assumptions

“You wouldn’t believe the assumptions I made when I looked up and saw this cloud formation” Assumptions have tremendous power over the ability to communicate effectively in family business. Quite often assumptions are made in the absence of facts and people can get caught in self-justifying feedback loops where they ignore facts that do not […]

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Who Pays?

Is it a farm expense or is it a personal expense? When there’s only one family living on the farm whether it is a personal or farming expense is not usually an issue. It may be discussed and allocated appropriately at year end with the accountant. However, when more than one family lives on the […]

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Living Across the Driveway

For many farm families living close together is part of their way of life. Living close together can have many benefits including: – Physical and emotional support of other family members – Economic savings – Flexibility in the allocation of roles and responsibilities However, living close together can also highlight differences in generational attitudes and […]

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Communication and Housing

Housing in a family farm business is an area that is usually not at the top of the discussion list but is an area that quite often causes conflict for a number of reasons. Multiple families may live on the farm or on property owned by the farming operation. The more families there are the […]

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