The Crossroads of Change

John let out a weary sigh, rubbing his temples as he finally tore his gaze from the glass facade of the Harrison Home Solutions headquarters, the Sunshine Coast skyline bathed in the golden glow of dusk behind it. He checked his watch instinctively, though he knew it was almost 7 PM. Elizabeth would be waiting at home to have dinner.

Gathering his briefcase, John took one last look at the familiar view of his corner office—a daily reminder over the past two decades of the empire he had built from humble beginnings. He switched off the lights and made his way to the elevator, exchanging casual banter with the security guard before driving home.

“You’re later than usual, is everything okay?” Elizabeth asked, greeting him with a peck on the cheek.

“Yeah, just a long day,” John smiled lightly, settling down at the head of the dining table.

Over a juicy steak and roasted vegetables, the conversation meandered through the usual updates on the kids, local happenings, and TV shows. But John was lost in thought, increasingly tuned out.

“John?” He snapped back to attention to find both his wife and the dog staring at him. “Where did you float off to?” Elizabeth chuckled.

“Sorry…I’ve just had succession on my mind lately” John sighed.

“Again with that? We’ve talked it to death…neither James nor Sarah want to take over. Can’t we just sell the company when the time comes?”

“And undo everything I built from blood, sweat and tears?” John retorted. “This is my legacy…I can’t just hand it over to some stranger!”

Elizabeth reached over and clasped his hand gently. “I know how much the business means to you. But we also have to be practical. Have you considered getting professional advice?”

Over the next week, John found himself increasingly lost in thought about what the future held. He had built Harrison Home Solutions at 35 with a small team of contractors. It began as a local company catering to small home renovation projects.

But his strong work ethic, strategic thinking and personal charm drove rapid growth. Major contract wins meant expanding to projects across Queensland. By 45, John had opened branches in Brisbane, Gladstone and Townsville. Today, Harrison Home Solutions was the leading renovation firm in the state, with a reputation for quality craftsmanship and community service built over decades.

Could he really identify someone worthy to take the reins? How does one begin to let go after so many years of steering the ship daily? John had tied so much of his personal identity and validation to the business that retirement—or even reduced involvement—seemed unfathomable. Confirmation that his children weren’t interested in joining the company further intensified an underlying fear about what his purpose would be post-exit.

After discussions with advisors who understood his predicament all too well, John came to realise that succession planning involves weighing several options depending on his priorities regarding legacy, financial security, family dynamics and personal ambitions in the next chapter of life. While the road ahead was undoubtedly complex, he felt a sense of relief in knowing support was available to confront the maze of legal, tax and emotional considerations inevitable in charting the course for his eventual exit.

Over the coming months, John’s journey will shed light on key questions confronting millions of baby boomer business owners across the country: Who can I trust to lead my company when I’m gone? How do I balance business realities with family expectations? What’s the best path to both preserve my life’s work while securing my future? How do I even begin letting go?

At Sajen Legal we have guided numerous clients just like John through this challenging transition period. Stay tuned as we explore his options and considerations from all angles—the legal formalities, tax implications, family dynamics and perhaps most complex—the emotional aspects of bequeathing your legacy to the next generation.

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