Leaving a lasting mark on society is something many people wish to do throughout their lives. Whether it’s creating a foundation in the name of a loved one or starting a family business, leaving a legacy is a goal many people achieve. Franchising can be the path that helps people realize that legacy.

Many franchise systems are developed in a way that allows the owner to pass the business on from generation to generation. We all know of at least one business that has been family owned for decades. For franchisees, the path to creating a family heirloom can be less complicated than starting a business from scratch and sustaining it for generations.

in addition to brand recognition, franchises have built-in systems that provide franchise owners with the tools needed to be successful. With these systems in place, family members taking over the business will have systems to rely on and be successful. Plus, they’ll have a family of franchisees and executives at headquarters to ask questions.

My Family is a great example of a franchise that has grown and continues to establish itself as a legacy family business. My father opened our PostNet center in 1992 with the intention of creating a culture where it was important to establish a relationship with the customer, rather than seeing them as a means of closing a transaction. Today, some 30 years later, I have followed in his footsteps with my own goals and business vision.

Join the family business

When I was a senior in high school, I had two paths I wanted to follow: law enforcement or working in the family business. My father never hid his hopes that I would follow in his footsteps, but he never pushed me to join the business. While I had worked at the PostNet store since my early teens, the idea of ​​joining law enforcement was always an option. After my studies, I became a full-time employee of the company. Although I enjoy some aspects of the business, I always wanted to join the police. So, just under 2 years later, I went to college to pursue that goal.

A year and a half into my college career, I began to miss the day-to-day work at the store, as well as customer interactions. It was then that I chose to leave law enforcement and return to the family business. Shortly after, I became general manager and began to take care of the day-to-day operations of the center, with my father handling strictly the administrative aspects of the business. It was then that my foundation and my future in the business was cemented. It happened around 2001 or 2002.

Lessons learned from working with a family member

Part of building a family business is taking the lessons you learned from the previous owner and applying them to your projects. Working with my dad for the better part of two decades, I learned a lot of lessons about running a business. Building relationships was important to my father. As a 14 year old working in the company, I learned everyone’s name and addressed them accordingly. Building those relationships and developing that soft skill set laid the foundation that established the successful business we run today. Every day, I work to perpetuate this tradition, while striving to always perform and be better than the day before.

Strategies for creating an inherited family business

While maintaining a business that can be passed on is an important goal, certain strategies should be developed to ensure you maintain a good work/life balance. When working with a family member or spouse, it is important to develop boundaries. Work issues should stay at work to help protect your personal and family time. One should not bleed into the other. Although two people can work in the same space at the same time, if you let this consume every aspect of your professional and personal life, you could be heading down a dark path that could jeopardize your relationship.

For example, my fiancé and I had a long conversation before she joined the company. We decided that if we were going to discuss homework, we would set a start and end time for the discussion. In this way, we do our best to prevent the work from spilling over into our personal lives. We wanted time to process family situations and emotions without constantly thinking about the next work problem. This has gone a long way in ensuring that our personal relationship is unaffected by work.

Moving forward through the generations

Maintaining a profitable business and passing it on from generation to generation can be difficult. Times change year after year, so it is necessary to deal with these changes while keeping the family culture intact. My father was able to do this and I strive to carry on this tradition by continuing to grow the business every day. I want the business to thrive once I’m no longer responsible for it. My children being even younger (my eldest is 16), I don’t know what the future holds for them. They may not want to get involved in the family business. But even if a longtime employee decides to buy it, I still consider it part of our legacy, and I want to put them in a position to thrive and succeed. This is what building a legacy is all about.

Jerry Kahn owns a PostNet store in Lake Forest, Illinois.

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