Probably some of the toughest situations to deal with in having your own business involve making changes to your team, especially when the person is your relative or possibly… your mother.  Small business coaches Jack Mencini and Adam Sonnhalter, who are also co-hosts of Dirty Secrets of Small Business, discuss the very difficult situation of having to fire your mother in this week’s show.

We believe it’s never the desire of the children to disrespect mom and that mom really doesn’t want to get in the way, but often mom doesn’t quite know how to bow out gracefully.  As a transitioning business owner, it’s tough to give up being in charge and it’s also hard to let your children make their own mistakes in the business. You have to fight that natural parental instinct to protect both your children and your business.

One of the best ways to take some emotion out of a situation like this is to ask the simple question of “what’s best for the organization?”  You’d be amazed at how often the cloud lifts and the answer appears when you’re struggling with what to do in a tough situation.  Now the challenge becomes making the decision to execute on that decision.

As you might imagine, this topic of “firing your mother” doesn’t come up in a situation where everyone is getting along and in agreement for what is best for the organization.  So when’ it’s gotten to this point, here are a few options to consider to get the business unstuck from this very delicate situation:

  • Pay your mother to stay away: this is as simple as it sounds where you literally continue to pay your mother whatever you were paying her when she was working in the business with the caveat that you don’t want her to come to work any more. If she steps foot back in the company then the payments will stop.
  • Offer a buyout: one sure way to rid the company of your mother is to buy her out which would then put you in full control. Putting together an offer to buy her out might just do the trick.
  • Prepare for your own exit: if you can’t get your mom to agree to either of the above, then you might have to threaten to leave the business yourself. This option only works if you are integral to the business AND you are actually willing to leave.  Don’t go down this path unless you are truly ready to walk out.
  • Take her to court: this brings back images of Judge Wapner from People’s Court, but if you can’t negotiate another option, the last one would involve getting the lawyers involved and using the legal system to your advantage and make your case to an impartial 3rd party (just like Wapner!).

Another topic that is covered in this week’s Dirty Secrets of Small Business is How do I know if I am an entrepreneur? Tune in to this week’s podcast to see if you measure up as an entrepreneur.

Listen each week on Wednesdays at 7:30 pm (EST) on WINT Radio 1330 and the new 101.5 FM, the coaches invite listeners to be a part of the show and feel free to call in (440-946-9468) or tweet your question to @MaximumVP. Listeners can ask questions about their businesses or even debate the examples Jack and Adam share on the trials and tribulations of their clients and the dirty secrets of small business.

If you have a success story or a how question you would like to share, submit a question on their web site at, send an email to or contact Jack and Adam directly at 877-849-0670.

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