Ohio dealer Glenn Mears told me recently about a rule in his dealership-owning family: Before you could work at the family dealerships, you had to venture out on your own and work elsewhere first.
Glenn became a CPA and worked for a big accounting firm for several years before returning to the family fold. The time away helped him develop an eye for scrutinizing numbers. But after his return to the car-selling business, he also was more sure that he wanted to be a dealer.
It sounds like a great rule to me. It helps ensure that your kids really want to be in the business -- and it encourages them to discover their independence and accomplish things on their own, all of which helps develop leadership skills.
It's not the only way. I know plenty of successful dealers who started working with Dad right from the beginning. But I've also heard stories about dealers' kids who have struggled in the family business.
What rules have worked in your family? I'm also interested in hearing about the rules that didn't work.