Family Member Entitlement Attitudes Can Threaten Owner Freedom to Enjoy Life

Self-made, first-generation family business owners can experience frustration and disappointment when their children or grandchildren don’t appreciate all of the sacrifice, effort, energy, passion, and commitment it took to build the value and success of the business.

Family members who express demands for benefits which are incongruent with their contributions demonstrate a lack of respect for what efforts and sacrifices were made by the first generation owners to achieve the current success status of the business.

They feel “entitled” because they believe that they have rights to the fruits of production which extend beyond their contributions to that same production. This “you owe me” attitude of entitlement is potentially detrimental to both the family business value, and the owner transition to financial freedom.

3 Things Family Business Owners Should Do to Handle Attitudes of Entitlement

  1. Recognize and distinguish between inappropriate and appropriate entitlement behavior. Monitor, manage, groom, and reward accordingly.
  1. Implement structured, transparent, and consistent communication processes with interested-party family members situated both inside and outside the business. Regularly conducted family business meetings and family counsel meetings should be structured to facilitate communications about management, succession, and ownership.
  1. Decide realistically and fairly, but not necessarily with equality, family member participation in management, succession, and ownership strategies and policies.

The family component and entitlement issues differentiate a family business from a non-family business, and present a unique array of opportunities and challenges for building business value and transferability, and providing true owner freedom.

Doing the above can help produce new understandings and behaviors of greater appreciation towards the first-generation owners by and among interested-party family members. To gain an awareness about the 8 key drivers for building  business value and transferability as well as insight how to create an harmonious family component, learn more at