Guest Author: Matt Melinkovich, Timberline Training

If someone told you that about half the people who run fifty percent of America’s most active and inventive businesses will retire in the next five to ten years, would you care?

Ownership transition is deadly for the 90 percent of American small businesses that are family-owned or closely-held: by some estimates, fewer than thirty percent survive to the second generation and just five percent to the third. These small businesses are the very foundation of this nation, responsible for 45 percent of the United States’ Gross National Product (GNP). While 80 percent of them have 20 or fewer employees, they generate more new products, create more jobs, and contribute more to local communities than the large corporations. (The PricewaterhouseCoopers Family Business Survey 2007/2008; Making a Difference; Family Business Series

Let’s face it. The Baby-Boomer generation that created this growth is getting tired. Aging Boomers are considering their retirement options and many are reluctant to stay and fight through one more recession. This trying economy and uncertain market forecast are pushing many small business owners to step away from their role, resulting in one of the largest turnovers in management in the history of American family-owned business.

Family-owned and closely-held businesses endure or die out depending upon how effectively they plan for the future. With the help of professional service providers, community partner, those that survive the coming family business crisis will re-create the energy and wonder that fueled the original entrepreneurial spirit that made this nation great.

The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by the University of Wyoming and sponsored by the Wyoming Business Council. Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

ABOUT THE GUEST AUTHOR: Matt Melinkovich is the owner of Timberline Training. As a certified Innovation Growth Coach, a level two Family Business Advisor, and a Franklin Covey Speed of Trust facilitator, Matthew brings a wealth of knowledge and business experience on the topics of efficiency, innovation, leadership, and trust. Matt is a level two Certified Family Business Advisor with the Galliard Family Business Advisor Institute, and helps small business owners and their families create transition plans that secure the interests of the company, and provide a dignified and meaningful future for its owners and their families.

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