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Passing The Torch

March 18, 2014, 10:10 PM by Angela Kennecke

Passing The Torch

For many small businesses, it's all in the family but that can create its own unique challenges.  That's where the Prairie Family Business Association comes in. 

This week it holds a regional conference in Sioux Falls to bring members of family businesses together to tackle issues like keeping the family business going generation after generation.

One Sioux Falls family has a plan for business succession.  Well known Sioux Falls developer Craig Lloyd started this business from scratch in 1972.  Now at 66, he's ready to start slowing down. 

"I don't really want to retire. I just don't want to work the hours we've worked all these years to be where we're at," Lloyd said.

That's where the Lloyds' three daughters and nephew come in.  But this business patriarch isn't just handing over the reins. 

"None of them started out at the top. They all started from painting to cleaning toilets to doing whatever," Lloyd said.

"There was definitely quite a bit where I had to prove myself along the way," Lloyd's nephew Chris Thorkelson said.

Thorkelson is now the company's chief operating officer.  And he knows the family has big shoes to fill.

"We've been taking a lot of steps over the years, not only from the family side and the family business transition, but also for a strategic planning side of things within the organization," Thorkelson said.

Lloyd Companies started planning for succession nearly a decade ago with the help of the Prairie Family Business Association.

"Making sure they're aware of all the potential challenges any family business is going to face and then giving them the tools to communicate with their family so they can make good decisions and be prepared for that transition," Director of the Prairie Family Business Association Beth Adamson  said.

With only a third of family businesses successfully transferring to the second generation, the Lloyds want to make sure they're in the minority. 

"That's kind of what you dream of--there's another generation and hopefully the next generation," Lloyd said.

The Lloyds are up for the family business of the year award.  The Prairie Family Business Conference begins on Thursday.

Lloyd Companies even hired an outside facilitator to hold family meetings and help them plan for succession.

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