Peter Buffet: A Lesson in Responsibility to Grow on Your Own

Rachel Peachey

Son of famous investor genius, Warren Buffet, Peter Buffet has a very different gift from his dad’s: music. Instead of spending his time analyzing stock markets and investment trends, Peter dedicates himself to composing songs and playing instruments. 

Believe it or not, in his own way, Peter Buffet is supporting the family business! The ultimate goal of every family business is to grow into the future. However, not all family members are destined to take an active role in the business itself. 

An Apple That Fell Far from the Tree

When I met Peter Buffet in London on a trip, he told me a funny story about his youth. When he was 19, he received $90,000 worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock - something that today could be worth over $200 million - he cashed in. He used the money to support himself as he sought to begin his career as a composer. He dropped out of school and moved to San Francisco with the goal of becoming a professional musician. After a lot of hard work and effort, it paid off and he got his first big break with MTV. 

Peter Buffet certainly didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps and fell quite far from the apple tree. However, that doesn’t mean he didn’t succeed! All children should be given the chance to pursue their dreams as Peter Buffet did. 

Every Member of the Family Is Unique

Every member of the family has their own unique skills, interests, and abilities. Find your role in the business, whether you’re a cheerleader from afar or the CEO. Know your gifts, strengths, and weaknesses and use them for the good of the family business. 

Some family members support the business by going to work at outside companies and learning there. They can bring an important outside perspective back to the family business. 

Others support the work of the family foundation or simply participate in family meetings.  

Nepotism Has its Drawbacks

Each person who takes an active role in the family business should be highly qualified for the role. Rather than offering positions based on family connections, require family members to apply for jobs within the business just like anyone else would. This way, the success of the family business comes first. 

Nepotism creates a whole host of problems for the business. Here are just a few:

  • Low morale and dissatisfaction due to perceived favoritism and unfairness in the workplace.
  • Loss of productivity due to poor work performance. When family members aren’t qualified for the positions they hold, it holds everyone back.
  • Increased risk of lawsuits. Although there aren’t so many laws directly prohibiting nepotism, it may be perceived as discrimination or a hostile work environment. 

Instead, put rules in place that guard against nepotism so that you can ensure the prosperity of the family business. 

Need help with your family business’s policies? Follow Elaine King on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter for more strategies for intergenerational family businesses. Or, set up a consultation today!  

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Elaine King - Family and Money Matters™ 2021