Margaret Sprout

Co-Founder, Spouse, Adviser
Two By Four Enterprises



Started the business with Bob, worked in the office until the kids came along
Minor issues

My concerns about passing on the leadership of Two By Four Enterprises.

It's time for Bob and me to retire and enjoy life, but I don't know if he can ever really let go. If we pass the business on to the kids, he'll always have a hand in it. That could be an issue for the kids too. How do they run the company if they're being overruled or second-guessed at every step? I don't want to see the kids out of a job, but sometimes I think we should just sell the business, take our money and enjoy what time we have left.

The issues that keep me up at night.

Our kids are wonderful. But, there is some friction between several of them. I honestly don't believe any of them have a realistic understanding of what it will take to run the company. I'm sure they can learn how to run the company, and how to work together. But, that won't happen overnight. They are all different, and there will always be issues between them. Also, Bob needs to start thinking about what he’s going to do in retirement. With the kids gone it will just be the two of us. I’m a bit worried about having him underfoot all the time.

Why my kids aren't ready to take over.

None of the kids has ever had the freedom to exercise their ideas or test their instincts within the company. Bob listens, but he doesn't always hear what's being said. In the end, he makes the decisions. Bob spent years learning his job. We need to give the kids time to learn how to lead, to stand up for their ideas with Bob, and to rely on each other. Nancy in HR is right. We have to invest in some training and ease the kids into more responsibility.

Read The Secret: What every founder must do for a successful transition