‘One day this will be yours’: Keys to the company handover

Handing over your business to the next generation should be done with caution and communication
  • Ideally, the likely transition is happening years before the actual event.
  • It is a good idea for incoming generations to have a high profile in their markets prior.
  • Make the transition a formal contract, not just a conversation.
  • Company founders can still make a valuable contribution by being the face of the company.
  • Patriarchs or matriarchs should step out of the way completely if their presence is causing confusion.

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Natalie and Al Rowe At 32, Natalie Rowe, the brand new team leader and broker-owner of Re/Max Advantage in Michigan, already knows that managing agents can be like "keeping frogs in a wheelbarrow," as she puts it. For the past five-and-a-half years, she has been on a succession path with her father, Al, a well known figure in the market. The news that she was taking over from her dad was announced to their community on December 30 on Facebook. It wasn't a shock to anyone. Al just turned 70. The pair had informed their agents of the plan to handover more than five years ago. The brokerage currently comprises one office and 39 agents. It's early January -- what has changed? The father and daughter have swapped offices -- she now has the biggest, he the smallest -- and he is not retiring yet, just easing off a bit. For all her youth, Natalie has been smart. She has strategically raised her profile in her community in the run-up to her succession -- she was recently p...