A few years ago an unnamed member company of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) finally saw the changing of the guard as the second-generation took over its family-owned agriculture business. The father, as owner and founder, had finally turned over the proverbial keys, giving his son access for the first time to the company’s books. They had embraced succession and he was now at the helm of the family business.
Thing is, the son was 65.
Indeed, almost half of Canada’s family businesses anticipate an intergenerational transfer of ownership or management over the next five years, according to a recent KPMG Enterprise study, Family Ties: Canadian Business in the Family Way, though more than 80 per cent have no formal succession plan in place to manage family dynamics and prepare future generations to continue the business.
“That is one of the biggest issues in family business,” KPMG Enterprise partner Beverly Johnson said about the succession process. “It’s easy to procrastinate (because) there’s no crisis in your face.”