Avoid catas­tro­phe and plan your fam­ily suc­ces­sion now

Irish Independent - Business Week - - BUSINESSWEEK -

QI am run­ning a fam­ily busi­ness with my two daugh­ters, who are in their thir­ties, I am 65 and have no plans to take it easy in the short term. Are there con­tin­gency plans I should be putting into place?

AAS you will be aware, mine was also a fam­ily busi­ness and we put a lot of work into suc­ces­sion plan­ning. To be hon­est with you, the risk is far too great to do noth­ing.

Typ­i­cally, it takes five years to pass a busi­ness smoothly from one gen­er­a­tion to the next, so my ad­vice to you would be to start that process im­me­di­ately. You don’t want a sit­u­a­tion to arise where you have to leave the busi­ness at a short no­tice and your chil­dren are not yet up to speed.

Start by hav­ing an open and frank conversation with everyone about your plans to grad­u­ally start step­ping back over a five-year pe­riod. In par­al­lel, start im­part­ing the knowl­edge that you have to your daugh­ters and do make sure you look at pro­vid­ing them with ex­ter­nal up­skilling where they might be lack­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge at the mo­ment.

Do put some thought into roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties go­ing forward. Some­one has to be in charge, as it would be im­pos­si­ble for both of them to have the same re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. What you would end up with would be a case of ‘everyone in charge but no one in charge’.

Some­times within a fam­ily, th­ese things can be viewed as sen­si­tive and are not spo­ken about. The net re­sult can be cat­a­strophic. The only one who can trig­ger this process is you and you need to start this conversation im­me­di­ately.

QI have opened a café and I am slowly build­ing the busi­ness. I am look­ing to find new and easy ways to en­gage with the lo­cal com­mu­nity to which I am new.

AWELL done on start­ing up the busi­ness. Be­ing part of the lo­cal com­mu­nity and en­cour­ag­ing its res­i­dents to see you at the heart of it is an im­por­tant as­pect. I have seen some lovely ini­tia­tives over the years and some might be ap­pro­pri­ate to you.

Many cafes and restau­rants now will en­cour­age moth­ers and tod­dlers to come in in the morn­ing time, when it is quiet, and they will have pos­si­bly re­moved some of the ta­bles in or­der to make room for bug­gies etc. I was in one café re­cently which even en­cour­aged a group of mums to book ahead of time, so that they could fa­cil­i­tate them.

You prob­a­bly close at 6pm or 7pm each even­ing and the venue is not in use. Why don’t you con­sider of­fer­ing the café to lo­cal char­i­ties as a meet­ing venue and th­ese meet­ings could be pre-booked at time slots that suit you?

I re­mem­ber meet­ing an­other café owner one morn­ing and when I en­tered the café, there were ap­prox­i­mately 20 ladies knit­ting. When I en­quired as to what was go­ing on, the owner told me that this was the lo­cal knit­ting club, who didn’t have a venue.

It suited her to host them one morn­ing a week, as it was a quiet time for her and it added a whole dy­namic and buzz to the café. The only thing she asked of them was that they might buy a cup of cof­fee each. It was a great win-win re­la­tion­ship for everyone.

You might also find it use­ful to run a few com­pe­ti­tions, ei­ther on so­cial me­dia or on sig­nage in the café or by part­ner­ing with a lo­cal news­pa­per. You would in­vite lo­cal cus­tomers to sub­mit recipes, then choose a win­ner that you would use on your menu for the fol­low­ing month, re­ward­ing the cus­tomer for same.

In sum­mary, look for op­por­tu­ni­ties to reach out and involve your neigh­bours and the lo­cal com­mu­nity. This is all the fun stuff that good busi­ness is about.

Q AWHERE did your pas­sion for cus­tomer ser­vice come from? MY fa­ther owned a hol­i­day camp in Red Is­land off the coast of Sk­er­ries. The main vis­i­tors to the site were UK tourists, who would ar­rive off the ferry and be brought out by coach. The model my fa­ther had built was that guests paid on ar­rival and ev­ery­thing was in­cluded, as he wanted to take the stress out of their hol­i­day. The whole ethos in the hol­i­day camp was for cus­tomers to re­lax and en­joy their stay.

From work­ing there at a young age, I quickly learned that be­ing gen­uine with the guests and tak­ing a real in­ter­est in their sto­ries helped to make their stay more en­joy­able. Fur­ther­more, I found I took great plea­sure when guests would ap­proach me on the last day and tell me that they had a tremen­dous hol­i­day and were go­ing home re­freshed.

The ethos was sim­ple. The cus­tomer was at the cen­tre of ev­ery­thing we did and all the de­ci­sions we made re­volved around them.

That be­lief fol­lowed me to Su­perquinn, where we quickly found that the same ethos en­cour­aged cus­tomers to come back, again and again.

To be hon­est, the risk is far too great to do noth­ing

Send your small busi­ness ques­tions to him­self@ fear­galquinn.ie

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.