Formalities commonly do not exist or are lacking in family business environments. For example, we often see no clear direction about what each person is supposed to do, how to get it done, or what they are getting paid for, which opens the door for underperformance and distracting conflict.

Consolidation amongst Public Groups and major national brands is putting pressure on smaller family-owned dealerships. The ongoing consolidation trend is providing bigger groups with efficiencies and cost savings, allowing the big brands to capture more and more market share of customers and talent. As such, smaller dealers are in the position to either buckle down on driving key performance metrics or get left behind.

Lack of formalities generally results in enablement, inconsistent policies, nepotism, and toxic family/business interactions, which impacts performance and will cause good and mediocre talent to leave your business for a better gig. Without people, family business owners will struggle to compete, and the value of the business will decline. So succeeding or selling out for the highest dollar depends upon an attractive culture that retains employees, has good standing in the community, and performs well.

Often the key ingredient found in high-performing organizations is Culture. You will stand out in your community if you are good to your people and customers. The following are a few core areas to focus on to professionalize your family business:

  • Develop job descriptions for all positions
  • Identify and live by core values
  • Create standardized processes and procedures

By professionalizing the family dealership and integrating standardized processes, you can run your business efficiently and replicate processes if you choose to grow through acquisition.

In this episode, Pete Theil with Haig Partners and The Rawls Group’s succession planner Champ Rawls discuss business fundamentals that must be formally adopted for family-owned dealerships to succeed.

Growth Strategies for the Family-Owned Dealership


If you’re ready to get serious about succession and planning to ensure your business’s future success, we can’t wait to see you at the 2024 NADA Show in Las Vegas.

4 Strategies to Maximize Your NADA Experience

  1. Schedule a Complimentary Consultation: Book a meeting at our Booth #2100W during NADA or schedule a free consultation.
  2. Complete the Growth & Succession Assessment: Get a custom report to focus on your strengths and opportunities.
  3. Attend the Annual Wine Event: Join us for wine, insights, and Q&A with our experts.
  4. Register to Attend the AutoTeam America Buy/Sell Summit: Gain insights and network with industry pros.

For more insight:

Visit the “Future Proof Your Business” discussion page or select one of the additional episodes of the series below:


  • Haig Report: Stay up to speed on the latest trends in auto retail, dealership values, and buy-sells.
  • Automotive News Expert Q & A: Alan Haig answers questions in this Automotive News Buy-Sell Expert Q&A about how smaller automotive retail groups and independents can future-proof their dealerships.
  • Buying or Selling Your Dealership: 5 Things You Must Consider
  • Succession Readiness Survey:  A 7-minute investment in time will put you in an informed position of opportunities many business owners overlook, impacting business value, growth, lifestyle, and ultimately achieving your vision.
  • Contact Us: We can help you with insights and other resources and see if it makes sense to work together. At the very least, in 30 minutes, you may get some ideas you can apply to your business immediately.

The Succession Planning Matrix

Many people put off succession planning because they think it means retirement, exit, and the end. However; succession planning is just the beginning. It gives the owner options in terms of what “their next” looks like, whether that be growth, philanthropy, or a new business venture. Our process focuses are addressing 10 key areas of what we call the Succession

Click the following link for more drill-down resources on The Succession Matrix, or check out our Facebook post.

Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to stay informed on how to overcome related succession planning issues.

We can help you with insights, other resources, and see if it makes sense to work together. At the very least, in 30 minutes, you may get some ideas you can apply to your business right away.