For some there is pressure, others an element of duty or responsibility, others express a desire from an early age, and others work elsewhere before returning to the family business. There is no right or wrong, but what is evident when talking to the next generation, it is not an easy decision to make.
Many next generation members struggle with the decision, possibly as a result of the family dynamic and wanting to do the right thing by Mum and Dad, but things can be somewhat easier if there is a process in place, and one that is clearly documented and communicated to prevent misunderstandings, misinterpretation or ambiguity!
Where there are agreed policies in place, there is an element of the decision taken away - first and foremost there are rules that need to be achieved, be it an MBA or an engineering degree, or at least five years experience away from the business first. The right qualifications need to be achieved first and without them, a leadership role may not be on offer.
A process helps to ensure that the next gen know what is expected of them but there can be no way to totally alleviate the difficult decision to join the family business or not. It really is an individual decision but one that can be made a little easier if there are certain criterion that need to be met.
But still, to join or not to join....
For some in auto retailing, joining the family business is a rite of passage. The Pritchards have to earn that opportunity, and when they do, they face a decision: formally join or not? "A lot of people think going back to the family business is an easy decision, but if you are in the family business, you realize it's one of the most difficult decisions," said Angela Pritchard Spiteri, now vice president of operations at Pritchard Family Auto Stores. Angela, 29, started her career outside the family business -- in the insurance industry -- and then became an assistant for her father, Joe Pritchard, owner of Pritchard Family Auto Stores. Joe requires that his children work for a company outside the business before they work for the family.