And I know of a few partners past their fifties who worry exactly that.
Small businesses is a subset of the old world, as similar as that old world grandfather clock that is supposed to last a few generations. Both were borne of an era when permanence was actually a thing.
We had enough people in the neighbourhood who knew how to service the clocks. We also had enough people who knew how to run small businesses because the nature of the jobs we have today, of working, regardless of the strata, within a big corporation is scarce back then. That availability of expertise is equivalent to the average everybody who knows how to use the internet albeit at varying levels. Society, by and large, always had areas where its people would have proficiency in, together as a people. But running small businesses isn’t one of them, at present, today.
Small business today would be more about an actualized ambition that one wouldn’t know what to do with at his deathbed, rather than a livelihood passed on to the younger generation in a family. The discontinuation, in a world where a business either grows till such point it gets listed, bought over, or discontinued despite its decent earnings, are for reasons of a lack of a successor. And in most small business contexts, familial succession is a problem.
Reasons for the offsprings’ unwillingness to continue a family business is rooted in economic reasons.
Sure you can start a business today, anytime. But what would you do when you have built it up and your offspring rejects it under the illusion of a better choice elsewhere?