The Poison Chalice

Family businesses, especially second generation businesses, can cause a whole range of unique issues.

The majority of businesses are founded by a technician, someone who used to be employed by someone else who wants to work for themselves and therefore, sets up their own business and basically just continues to do what they did before in employment.

That decision may be bought about by

    • They are made redundant
    • The idea that they can do it better
    • They can make more money working for themselves
    • They want more freedom

So the prevailing mantra is work hard and long hours. Rather than wanting to build a business the  idea is to replace the income they have given up, perhaps even make some more.

The years go by, years of hard work and long hours, missing the children growing up. But that is what being a business owner is all about!

At some point the children realise that the expectation is that they are going to join the family business. Often there is no real choice. Unfortunately, all the hard work and long hours has never truly built long term sustainable wealth outside of the business.

The owners pension and future are tied up in the business. They need someone to take over the business. Who better than the children. You can trust family. The owners are the glue that holds the whole thing together.

They have not learnt how to build a true business.

Our definition of a business is

‘A commercially profitable enterprise that works without the business owner’

The alternative is a JOB. It may be a very well paid job but it is still a job.

The children take up their places in the business and they are taught to have a job. Work hard and long hours because that is what is expected of a business owner.

Unfortunately, they are going to have an additional burden once they have mastered the job- their parents pension and future.

The children have inherited THE POISON CHALICE. Years of hard labour.

There is a different way. The original business owner must learn how to build a true business and then pass on that knowledge and understanding. Now that is a true INHERITANCE.


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