Daughter of Seller, Hurting Buyer’s Future

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about buying a family-owned business disapproved by daughter:

I am buying the business I presently work at. The owner and I are good friends. Her daughter works part time, when needed. When she found out her mother was selling to me, she has been a bitch and tells our customers that I will be a failure and do not know how I financially will be able to run the business. I have been the manager for the past seven years. I need to get rid of her. She creates ill will in the workspace with the other employees. I cannot in good business ethics keep her on when I take over ownership in a few weeks. Do I just say, when the paper work is final, “Don’t show up”?

Signed, Being Sabotaged

Dear Being Sabotaged:

You need to get legal advice about this matter. There may be a liability situation for the daughter and her mother, for purposely harming your future business. In addition, you need to get some control over how the business is handled prior to your taking ownership. Otherwise, your ownership will be a sinking ship!

Essentially, you are buying a business from someone who is allowing a family member to ruin it even before you take ownership. You say she is your friend, but a friend would not let this occur. If you think the current owner is completely and totally unaware of this situation, tell her immediately and demand that the daughter no longer come around the premises while the sale is in progress.

You have no way of knowing what she says when you aren’t around–and apparently you know enough to know she is torpedoing your reputation and the chances of you being successful after the purchase is complete. Apart from your future ownership, you are the manager NOW.

A part time employee, whatever her relationship to the owner, should not be bad-mouthing the manager of the business. That alone is reason enough to fire her.So, first talk to your real estate agent about your concerns and ask for referral to an attorney,, for find an attorney of your own. Don’t proceed further with this sale unless the destructive daughter is muzzled.

Talk to the current owner and say that you no longer want her daughter in the workplace because of her negative remarks and the damage she is doing to the business. If the daughter is shows up, meet with her and say that you want her to stop saying negative things about you and the future of the business. You can tell her that you are talking to an attorney about the matter–that might let her know you are serious. I want to emphasize that there is more at stake here than an employee who is negative. Your economic future could hinge on getting her out! Best wishes with this matter. And good luck with your future business. I have confidence you WILL do well, especially if you don’t have someone creating problems for you!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.