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Updated: October 31, 2022

'Nurture relationships' and other tips for family-owned businesses

What do next-generation family-business leaders need to know about running a business? Two experts shared their tips with Mainebiz.

Steven Tenney Founding partner and CEO, Great Diamond Partners

Photo / Jim Neuger
Steven Tenney, Great Diamond Partners
  • Develop strong, open and regular communication with the prior generation so that expectations are clear. This helps to avoid misunderstandings that can lead to frustrations.
  • Learn all you can from the prior generation so you can carry on the legacy of the company — and develop your own unique abilities so you’re comfortable in your role and the company benefits from your fresh perspectives.
  • Nurture relationships with experienced people who are not part of your family and with people in a similar position in different companies and industries. You’ll find they face the same challenges you do, and their solutions will benefit you and your company.

Colleen McCracken Principal, CLMC LLC:

Photo / Courtesy of CLMC LLC
Colleen McCracken, CLMC LLC
  • Be your own kind of family business leader. Often, next generation leaders try to run the business as their parent(s) did. Authenticity as a leader is key to a leader’s success.
  • Don’t take the top family business leadership role for the wrong reasons.
  • Get outside support for a successful transition, A neutral party is key to the success of a family business transition. An outsider can provide structure to creating a succession plan and the discipline to hold everyone accountable to the plan that has been agreed to. Outside support can take the form of a trusted independent advisor and/or a trusted board of advisors specifically tasked with this responsibility.

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