Robert Sprout

Founder, CEO
Two By Four Enterprises



8 years in manufacturing, started company with $10K. $42M in sales this year
Minor issues

My concerns about passing on the leadership of Two By Four Enterprises.

I have too many options and a few concerns regarding my kids taking over. Jasper is complacent. My daughter Janine doesn't see the big picture. She scares some people, me included. Charles is a free spirit. Megan has more business sense than the others combined, but with triplets, she's only been able to be an objective sounding board for me. Her husband, William, is a very sharp guy. The two of them are a lot like Margaret and me.

The issues that keep me up at night.

Ed Coalson and Chip Ogawa are critical to a smooth running operation whether I stay or retire. I have to keep them engaged and rewarded for their contributions. But, they disagree on what we need to do to stay ahead of the competition. If I just sell the business outright, I avoid all the personality issues between key employees and my family. However, I can't just cut and run, leaving everyone on their own. I worry about our vendors too. It's a dilemma, and I worry about making the wrong decision. I’m also beginning to worry about what I’m going to do with all my time in retirement.

Why my kids aren't ready to take over.

Frankly, none of them knows what I know or shares my perspective. Maybe I should have included them sooner in the day-to-day decisions, but there’s never enough time. Nancy, our HR Director, thinks we should train everyone to beef up their skills. She's probably right. I just don't know if we can get the kids up to speed fast enough to make good decisions on their own.

Plus, what am I going to do to fill my days after I leave the company? I can’t play golf for 60 hours a week. Maybe I could just keep my hand in by being an adviser to the kids.

Read The Secret: What every founder must do for a successful transition