Provide an Heirloom for the Next Generation

Of the five life changing elements of value, this one is perhaps most distinct.  The focus is on an heirloom for future generations and not so much the business owner.

What is it?

My brother-in-law’s family have a Bible that is a few hundred years old.  They have a distinctive first name passed from generation to generation and the family inscribed detail of each person so named in it.  That’s an heirloom.

As Bain suggests, you can sell products to pass to future generations.  Items of jewellery, for example.  The value of an heirloom goes beyond its monetary value.  The fact that one or more ancestors used the item adds to its value, sometimes called sentimental value.

This is a narrow definition.  Legacy might be a better word because we can leave much more for descendants.

Value for the Client

My father never aimed to leave a fortune to his children.  He believed we would be better off learning skills to provide for our families.  So, note not everyone is interested in leaving an heirloom or legacy for their descendants.  However, legacy implies several possibilities.  Here are a few.

Equipping your children with the knowledge and skills they need.  Parents who pay for their children to study at University for example, are in effect leaving a legacy.

Parents pass on skills, knowledge and know-how to children.  If as a business person you know how to make money, these insights are of value to future generations.

Another legacy is to pass on your business.   My father hoped I would take on his business but my interests were elsewhere.  But where there is willingness to take it on, this can work.  To pass on the business early can mean you develop new interests while still available to lend a hand as the new business owner navigates unfamiliar waters.

Or else, pass on elements of the business.  If you are in property for example, you might leave a property portfolio for each child.

And of course, you can sell the business and leave money.  There are several reasons you might sell your business and legacy may have a minor role, as you may need to provide for immediate needs during retirement.  This is a complex area and if your business has value, you are likely to need professional help to sell it.

How to Get There

All these options have potential for business support.  They all benefit from specialist help.

Someone who wants to make provision for their children, must consider the best steps they can take.  One obvious point is children may have different needs and inclinations.  I admired and copied my father but I was never interested in the one thing he worked for.  My sister may have been a better bet to take over his business but at the time that was not something anyone considered.

There are many stories of wayward children who squander the family fortune.  Others may be willing but lack business sense or may resent a parent who interferes in what is now their business.

Where it works out, legacies can be of value but they need careful planning and realism.

Maybe in the end an heirloom is the best option!

Your Offer

There are opportunities for coaches or consultants in this area.  Simply working out the best strategy can be a real challenge.  So, can complex activities such as selling a business.

This is perhaps mainly the domain of financial advisors but the issue may come up for other coaches and consultants.  There’s no harm asking about legacies as a part of a business growth or marketing package.

This is the sixth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

Self-Actualisation

Motivation

Heirloom

Next:  Affiliation and Belonging

  • Emotional 10
  • Functional 14
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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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