Re-Bath franchisees provide 4 tips for creating a family business succession plan

Do what you love, love what you do, and love who you do it with.

Now, 5 years after running a business with my brother Levi after taking over our father’s Re-Bath franchise – expanded in 2019 to take over neighboring franchise territory – we couldn’t imagine handling things any other way.

All of our lives we’ve watched our dad, Mike Wood, run a successful construction business. He started this business in 1977 and took us with him to jobs, very slowly showing us the ins and outs of running a business. When we were around 8 or 9 years old he would ask us to help him clean up after a job – and quickly became known for having the cleanest jobsites.

All nine siblings have worked at the company at some point. But in the end, it was Levi and I who were left with a passion for the industry and a desire to learn more.

In 2000, our father opened a Re-Bath store in central Georgia. At first I spent time as an installer and in sales, and I wore many different hats. Levi followed in my footsteps and started working as an installer and design consultant before helping me manage Re-Bath and grow the business.

Around mid-2014, the succession process began and our father officially retired in 2016. Based on our experience, here are some best practices for a seamless family business succession planning process.

Educate yourself and seek professional support

Not wanting to be among the 70% of family businesses that do not survive the transition to the second generation, our father hired a business planner to help with the transition. The business planner basically coached him on how to coach us as we went through this time of transformation. Together, the three of us have spent many hours researching and reading books about the succession process and what it takes for a family business to survive.

Focus on family relationships

In the words of my brother Levi: “It would be very unwise to pass the business on to brothers and sisters who do not get along. Over the years, we have proven our ability to overcome conflicts, which started at a young age. As kids on a construction site, when we argued over little things, our dad always told us that when we were at work we should see each other as colleagues, not brothers. This advice really touched us, as we recognize that we have more to lose. At the end of the day, we’re still family, so it’s crucial that we maintain our relationship by always prioritizing family over business.

Communicate openly and regularly review succession plans

Communication has always been something our father prioritized with us. When we were growing up he would always show us the ropes and explain how things worked. He kept these lines of communication open throughout the succession process, starting with a clearly defined timeline. With the help of our business planner and our own research, we got a clear idea of ​​what to do and how things were going to go.

In drafting the trade agreement, the three of us were active participants, looking at each project in depth, making sure we understood the full scope. We were not afraid to express opinions or ideas during the process. There was a clear mutual understanding that transparency would lead to the best result.

We keep communication at the forefront of our partnership today. Once a month we sit down and discuss the business: how is it going, are there any issues, what goals have been achieved, what goals need to be set, etc. sides of our relationship.

Use your networks

Becoming a franchise owner means we’ve had the privilege of joining a network of other Re-Bath franchisees across the country. In franchising, an often overlooked part of succession planning is the network of owners you can turn to for advice on running the business. We call it our “Integrated Support System” and credit it for our success. The support of Re-Bath and countless franchisees has been key to our success. We usually meet with other franchisees twice a year and discuss best practices, coach and support each other. It’s like his own partnership in itself.

We have experienced phenomenal growth since our acquisition, growing by 50% last year over the previous year. This year, we will have doubled our sales in 2 years.

There are times when things get stressful and overwhelming, but once you’ve laid the groundwork for a smooth transition, it becomes great to watch the business grow.

Jordan Wood is co-owner of Re-Bath Middle Georgia. For years, he and his brother Levi Wood worked for their father, Mike Wood, who owned a Re-Bath franchise. When their father was ready to retire, they went through the family succession planning process, setting the stage for their legacy business.

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