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Inheriting a Business That Isn't Profitable

Increase your income without decreasing your parents' loyal customers.

This story appears in the June 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Q: My brother and I would like to take over our parents' business; they want to retire. Unfortunately, I have come to realize that they are making payroll, but leaving only a small paycheck for themselves at the end of every week. Our client base is strong, and we have a wonderful reputation in our community. I have no idea where to start making the necessary changes to support us all and be successful. What do I do?

A: Before you and your brother become dependent on the business for your livelihoods, we suggest you work with your parents to make the business more profitable, particularly if they also expect to be deriving revenue from the business after they retire. There are many ways to do this. The first step is to analyze the business's performance.

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