by Meghann McKenna, CLU

New York Life Insurance Company

In my life, work and family are one. I am part of a family business, and one of the major challenges for many small businesses, including family businesses, is business succession: how will the business continue when the initial owner wants to retire? There are many important pieces to preparing for successful business succession.

In my case, we serve the financial needs of families and businesses; the challenge of understanding the needs of clients is of the utmost importance. My grandfather started the business over 60 years ago. he was a pro at understanding his clients’ needs and educating them on how to properly prepare their finances. How could my dad and I step in and serve the needs of clients who had established a close professional relationship with my granddad and continue the business?

“What is inherent in our business is that we serve families.”

On the surface this appears to be a challenge, but in my circumstance, it is what makes our business strong and prosperous. What is inherent in our business is that we serve families. So while my grandfather was able to work with families when he started in the business in 1949, those moms and dads had children, who naturally became my father’s clients. And those children had children and they became my clients. So, when I joined the business five years ago, three generations of McKennas were serving three generations of other families in our area. What I find is that I have a connection to families of my generation and can relate to their needs. They have demanding jobs, support a family, and/or have a mortgage, and find time to enjoy themselves in the fastpaced world of the 21st century.

Not only can I serve people of my own generation, but because of our multi-generational practice, we teach each other. I learned from my grandfather how to work with an older male who may not be used to women in the workforce. I was able to help my grandfather see that young single women today face many of the same planning issues that single men face. My father has been able to adapt with changing technology and communication styles between generations.

Having a single daughter as a business partner has made my father more knowledgeable of the younger generation and how to market to, and work with, them. So while I may rush home to fix dinner for my friends or struggle to find time to date, I have learned how to work with many different types of individuals.

This article has been sponsored by:
New York Life Insurance