Your principal advisor has invited you to become an owner. Congratulations! The majority of next-generation advisors are energized by the demand for and the opportunity of succession planning, but most founders are stalled leaving successors frustrated. Your challenge as a successor is helping to make the process work for everyone involved. One important way to do that is to recognize the principal owner’s impediments and to help him or her understand the process and how accessible it actually is.
The Primary Obstacle
Like you, most successors—hamstrung by student debt, mid-stride in buying homes, building families, and still growing in their careers and earnings potential—don’t have money to invest in a business. Eager founders (“G1s” or first-generation owners) may seek to remove these obstacles by gifting or granting ownership, but this can taint the relationship as G1 may ultimately feel short-changed by giving away part of the business they built with their own sweat and toil. Beginning a partnership where one side feels cheated isn’t an ideal way to launch a successful, satisfying transition. There has to be a better way. In fact, many founders and successors come together each year with plans that are truly win/win. So where does the money come from? In many cases, the answer is the business itself.