It is not always easy for an entrepreneur to give way to the next generation. However, it is necessary to know how to leave the playing field at the right time to ensure the success of the business transfer. Richard Tessier of Tessier Recreo-park made sure to do things right so that his daughter and son were ready to take over the management of the business through executive coaching services.
As for Claude Fournier and Sylvain Parenteau of Sixpro, they also had the chance to take their place alongside a transferor who knew how to give them space, which facilitated the transition.
A two-headed succession
“The two complement each other well. Marie, who is a graduate of HEC Montreal, assumes all the management side while Themselves Dispensable is more in the field. He is an entrepreneur at heart. He created a new department for the construction of game modules, a task that was previously outsourced, which works very well.
Tell each other the real business
It is not uncommon for a family succession to raise many issues between the transferor and the younger generations. Tessier was no exception. To settle them, Richard Tessier found it important to set up a family council to allow everyone to express their expectations and their frustrations Themselves Dispensable. Around the table, in addition to Richard, Marie-France, and Charles-André, there was also Martine, their mother, and business partner.
“It helped us a lot. This made it possible to put all the subjects on the table. For me, it was clear that the children should be equal parts of the company even if they had different training paths and roles. Everyone was able to share their point of view on this issue in order to agree”, explains Richard Tessier.
The Tessiers took the exercise even further by hiring an outside consultant who helped them get to the bottom of things. A process very strong in emotions, but which led to greater harmony. We said the real business, he adds. We got to know each other even better and understand each other’s roles. The secret is to be transparent, even if some subjects are more confrontational than others.
Richard Tessier left day-to-day operations management gradually. His succession being well in the saddle, he is today very little present in the company, only attending meetings of the management committee each quarter. It’s also easier to turn the page when you have projects. I now want to take on new challenges and above all slow down. Mentoring, writing a book on entrepreneurship, and volunteering are some of my current projects.
To hand over
It was in 2017 that Claude Fournier and Sylvain Parenteau took over from Richard Bourbeau at the head of Sixpro. The two men knew the company well, having worked there for 16 and 18 years respectively (a third person was part of the reliever team, but has since sold his shares).
For him, it was a good way to retain those he considered to be his best elements and to motivate them to always do better for the company.
The succession process got underway in 2010 when Richard Bourbeau decided to gradually withdraw from operations. From that date, Themselves Dispensable assumed the general manager after having held the positions of production manager and operations manager. At the same time, the transferor entrusted him with the management of the management committee.
In hindsight, the two men consider that the seller’s attitude contributed to the success of the business transfer. The fact that he largely ceded the land to us made things easier. We had the freedom to do things our way.
One last step to take
The two men had already joined the shareholders for several years, but they had minority positions. It was during a business lunch that Themselves Dispensable and Sylvain Parenteau expressed their desire to become full owners. Richard may have been taken a bit by surprise as he took some time to answer us from a motivational coach. He finally acquiesced to our request, so we started the process to proceed with the transfer of ownership.
A process that spanned nearly a year then began. There were several steps to go through: assess the market value of the business. Meet the creditors, negotiate with the transferor… The transaction was finally concluded. During the negotiations with Richard, this was my main point of discussion with the members of the club. They challenged me and made me think about things I hadn’t thought of. This made it possible to cover all angles.
Text written by Sylvie Lemieux
Sylvie Lemieux knows all about entrepreneurship! A seasoned journalist whose articles have been published in several publications including Les Affaires. Sylvie is interested in various topics related to the business world and innovation.