Skip Breitbach Feed & Seed: Pretty Soon?
In fall 2018, the 64-year-old owner of a small 5th-generation family business in rural Iowa has not begun succession or retirement planning. His older daughter asks to talk with him about possibly taking over the store someday; Skip defers this talk until after the busy harvest season. A few days later "Big Ag Feeds" (disguised) offers to buy his business; they want an answer by year-end. Skip discusses the offer with his wife. If he accepts it, ownership would transfer to Big Ag in four years, ending the family business legacy. Skip always assumed he would keep the business in the family, yet now he considers this option and three others: 1) Counter-propose to transfer ownership to Big Ag in one year ("clean break" to retirement). 2) Groom his daughter to succeed him as owner/manager; 3) Hire an outside manager to run the store (retain ownership). Seeing that times are changing (huge agribusinesses are replacing small farms, with repercussions for his business; emerging technologies and new government regulations bring other opportunities and threats) Skip believes the next owner/manager will face a tougher road than the rough road he traveled in his career journey.