Simplistically, a business is owned by its shareholders. For a Family Business, it could be Mum and Dad who own it, or whoever it’s been transitioned through to, within the family.
So who are the shareholders who own a ‘stake’ in your family business? There’s many – those people who have ‘financial’ shares, as well as those who have ‘emotional’ shares in the business. What do I mean?
Even though not all your family may hold financial shareholdings, there’s still an emotional tie – even for those that don’t work in the business. Their connection to the business is an emotional one and (regardless of the legalities) feel they have ownership… because they’re part of the family and it’s a ‘family’ business!
When you’re talking (and thinking) about who actually owns the business, you first need to differentiate between physical ownership and the deeper, heart-felt ownership. These can easily get overlooked by legal structures, but they need to be considered and navigated around when the conversation of’ ownership,’ comes up.