By: Mark A. Roger
Could you imagine working day-to-day with you son or daughter? Would your father or mother make a good salesperson? Have you ever considered investing in your family’s future by owning a business together?
That’s right, the family-owned business is seeing a resurgence. Though popular 2-3 generations ago, the idea of working with family members lost its luster in the business building of the 1980s.
With a wealth of unpromising career opportunities in this post-recession economy, a growing number of job-seeking parents are partnering with their children to regain control of their professional futures. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average length of unemployment for workers over 55 is well over one year. Further, The Associated Press, in 2014, ran a study that found almost 54% of those with bachelor’s degrees under the age 25 were jobless or underemployed, a substantial increase in the past decade.
Today, a significant number of unemployed baby boomers are seasoned executives who are challenged to re-invent themselves and re-invest in their futures. Of course, college graduates are leaving school with greater tuition debt than ever before (debt that will impact their accumulating net wealth and, consequently, hindering their ability to purchase a business, a house, a vehicle for years to come). Couple that with a precarious job market for new graduates and you can understand why parents find value partnering with their children to invest in themselves either by purchasing a franchise or an existing business.
There are business models that work particularly well managed by a multi-generational group. Businesses that include inside management/outside sales and those that include multi-revenue streams providing varied tasks and work well. Franchising, in particular, is a very successful route to start a family business simply because it provides a practical business roadmap and a clean slate. Parent-college graduate partnerships find franchising:
· Offers proven and well established processes and easy-to-follow operating systems,
· Combines the benefits of local business ownership with brand name recognition and applicable good-will, and
· Provides ongoing guidance and support by an established franchisor so there isn’t a question as to best practices.
Regardless, if you are buying a franchise or existing business, identifying a business concept that allows everyone to leverage their skill set is imperative. Though there is no “best practice,” I have found that often parents handling tasks that require local connections while the children take care of day-to-day operations and online marketing is an ideal arrangement to begin the journey into entrepreneurship. Even in instances where the parent isn’t fully engaged in the daily business – leaving their child to run the operations – they should still have an interest in the concept and be able to utilize their experience or skills to provide support. Parent and college graduate, both, need to be making an impact and commitment to the success of the family business.