Giving the Kids a Running Start Not Just a Hand Out!

“More and more families are funding new business starts for recent grads!”

As a boomer who socializes with other boomers I now skip the traditional dinner question – “how are the kids?” I was getting tired of hearing the sad stories of friends whose kids just graduated and are struggling to find: a job – let alone a career. This may be the real reason many believe we have not recovered from the recession.

In a recent FORBES article it was quoted that, “59% of parents provide financial support to their adult children who are no longer in school.” Based on my average conversation with friends I think the number is a bit low.

A FAMILY AFFAIR

In a world where the financial and business press loves to talk about Google, E-Bay, Microsoft and Apple it is easy to forget that 90% of the businesses in the US are family owned.  Many of the major business publications are starting to write success stories about families starting a business together to get their kids a running start.

Every month as I present at the HMI “Discovery and Training Seminar” I look for the father/mother son/daughter teams and enjoy interacting with them to learn their story. Invariably it sounds like this:

  • Dad/Mom ready to retire.
  • Son/Daughter a recent graduate with little success in finding a good job.
  • Families searching for a low cost of entry business they can start together to give the kids a running start and to provide Dad/Mom with a role to challenge them as they transition to a slower work pace.
  • Anxiety in: choosing the right business, risking precious savings, and maybe most importantly working together in a new kind of relationship.

THE MODEL

The scenario above is the perfect segway for me to talk about HMI.

  • Family Owned
  • Father and Son(s) working together

I have never really documented this but as a professional observer of family/business dynamics, the Cvetezar family at HMI may be the model.

  • Defined Role Definitions
  • Mutual Respect
  • Proper blend of challenge without personalization
  • Levering the experience of the patriarch
  • Aggressive but controlled experimentation of the NEW with youthful ownership
  • Laughing together
  • Success together

Those are the words I use when describing the dynamic of HMI management/ownership.

THE PROS AND CONS and TIPS FOR A FAMILY TOGETHER IN BUSINESS

Some time ago Nicole Carter published a great piece in Inc. Magazine titled “How to get your family to invest without drama?” This fast read offer some very pragmatic tips worth remembering as a family enters another level of relationship. Click Here to read the article

Her insights are sound and can be summarized as:

  • FORMALIZE IT – Prepare a solid plan and go into contract together as well as running the business as you would with anyone else.
  • THINK ABOUT THE ENTIRE FAMILY – Research tax and estate planning considerations that could affect everyone in the family.

THE TAKE AWAY

HMI offers a  nearly perfect business opportunity where parents can assist in transitioning  their children into business. The “Discovery and Training Seminar” is a low cost – low risk way to vet the potential. Parents can be partners too!

Paul DelFino is a principal of the consulting firm Opportunity Inc. For nearly two decades he has assisted entrepreneurs in growing their businesses, responding to economic downturns and merger and acquisition activity. He has consulted with HMI and Raise-Rite for over a decade. His publications include “Avoiding Skewed Entrepreneurial Strategies” available from all on line booksellers.