Charles Ifergan, founder of Charles Ifergan Salons in Chicago.
Charles Ifergan, founder of Charles Ifergan Salons in Chicago.

As Charles Ifergan looks at turning over the reins of his namesake salon, with three locations in Chicago, Illinois, to his daughter Olivia and son Philippe, he shares five tips for handling a smooth generational transition in the following blog:

There are 2 very distinctively different ways to pass on one or multiple salon organizations to our children: when the salon owner still needs an income from the salon or does not need any income from the salon. They are both difficult, but I think my case is slightly easier. I will write about my experience because I don’t need to draw any money from the business.

To be successful, the succession plan needs a substantial amount of time, about 2 years.

  1. Let’s be honest: On the first scheduled meeting between the parent/owner and children, each must come with a written statement explaining the reasons why they want to take over the reins of the business.  During that meeting, the parent has to expose the emotional dangers and the possible breakup of the family unit whether the salon is successful or not. Promote an open and honest communication between all the working family members.
  2. Let's work hard: The children wishing to take over the business must first work as employees. During that time, through regular meetings, the parent must educate the children on all the daily activities: how to handle clients and employees; business problems, purchases, bookkeeping, etc… During that period, the children will realize “is this what I want to get involved in or maybe this is not for me. The parent has to announce the future plan of succession to the employees. They have to be aware of what’s going on.
  3. Let’s get deeper: By the end of the first 6 to 9 months, bring into the “Team” an experienced adviser that specializes in family business transitions, succession planning, and how to navigate family dynamics. The Team must create a business plan that is reviewed regularly to address where potential conflicts might arise or future risks.
  4. Let’s give up control: When the parent starts to feel comfortable that the kids have enough knowledge of the business, the parent must announce to the employees that children will start to totally run the business, wish some behind the scenes coaching and guidance from the parent. The parent becomes an employee of the salon and is paid as such.
  5. Let's say goodbye: Once the employees trust the children’s commitment to the salon and that their management skills will bring them employment stability and financial success, it’s the time for the parent to give up the behind-the-scenes management help and final financial control of the salon. The parent can stay and work without any responsibilities, as in my case because I still love doing hair, or choose to retire.   

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