Securing values and continuing the company's history with a conflict-free generational transition

We support families who want to transfer their company values to a new generation safely and without conflict with the holistic KERN family process. With consulting, moderation, coaching and mediation, we enable a secure future and the continuation of the company and family history.

The holistic KERN family process for generational change

Clarification of the status

Clarification of the intra-family status as well as concerns and goals in relation to the generational change.

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Individual and group talks

Individual and group discussions with all members of the family system to identify individual interests.

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Family conference

Development of solution-oriented measures. Integration of economic, fiscal, legal and emotional aspects.

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Initiation of a structured mediation process to resolve conflicts under the "win-win" principle.

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Consulting and coaching

Implementation of measures and support as needed through counselling or coaching. Your needs decide.

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Financing partner

Optionally, we support the financing of a generational change, the time and information requirements of which are often underestimated.

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How to make your generation change a success. The expert guide for family businesses.

Concentrated expertise and compact information. 30 KERN experts have summarised the most important information for your successful company sale on 150 pages.

Es hilft enorm, eine neutrale Persönlichkeit als Ansprechpartner für alle Mitglieder der Familie zu haben.

Our internal family succession and the coaching of my sons was handled very sensitively and with commitment by Mr Koerber. Many insights and activities would have been left out in our family without the KERN support of our generational change. It helps enormously to get an outside perspective and to have a neutral personality available as a contact person for all members of the family.

K.S., entrepreneur from Essen , Personnel service provider

Parents and children from family businesses have a very concrete benefit from this

Our clients are medium-sized companies and the challenges of generational change, company sales or emergency provisions are 'perennial issues' for us. We have been working with Mr Koerber and KERN for years and value his practical knowledge and the oriented training and coaching. Parents and children from family businesses benefit from this in a very tangible way.

W.S., further education institute from Rheda-Wiedenbrück , Head of a nationwide academy for trading companies

For us as a family business, the support provided by Mr Koerber was a great benefit

For us as a family business, combined with the many challenges of the future generation change, the support of Mr Koerber was a great benefit. Especially through mediation, we can now understand each other better and deal with conflicts differently. We recommend working with the experts from K.E.R.N. when problems arise in the succession process!

J.M., entrepreneur from Osnabrück , Manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade

I have enjoyed working with KERN very much

I have very much enjoyed working with KERN and, as a representative of the buyer side, am always pleased when sellers ? especially family businesses ? receive holistic advice and are specifically prepared for a sale.

F.H., responsible M&A manager in NRW , International services group

... Very satisfied and would recommend Kern at any time and without reservation.

Besonders gut an KERN und Herrn Ingo Claus hat mir der sehr professionelle und vertrauensvolle Umgang mit mir als Unternehmensverkäufer und den Interessenten gefallen. Herr Claus handelte stets lösungsorientiert und stand in einem ständigen Dialog zwischen mir als Verkäufer und den potenziellen Erwerbern. Auch wenn es am Ende zwar nicht zu einem Verkaufsabschluss gekommen ist, was äußeren Umständen geschuldet war, so bin ich mit der geleisteten Arbeit von KERN, Herrn Claus, sehr zufrieden gewesen und würde KERN und ihn jederzeit und uneingeschränkt weiterempfehlen.

M.B., entrepreneur from Lower Saxony , Owner of a property development company

After a lengthy selection process we decided on KERN

By its very nature, there are not multiple opportunities when selling a business. That is why choosing the right management consultant is so important. After a lengthy selection process, we decided on KERN and Holger Habermann. With great personal commitment, Mr. Habermann has successfully mastered all tasks, both in terms of content and management. I would particularly like to emphasise the wide-ranging expertise, the methodical approach, the objective, calm manner and the straightforwardness in the discussion.

H.K., entrepreneur from Bavaria , Owner of an information technology company

... We have achieved our goal and can definitely recommend working with KERN.

The KERN team was recommended to me as part of our company sale and, in retrospect, we are very glad to have received this tip. The negotiation process for the sale was complex, lengthy and sometimes threatened by emotional misunderstandings in the outcome. However, thanks to the great experience and skill of our KERN consultant, we achieved our goal and can definitely recommend working with KERN.

J.F. , Entrepreneur in the Osnabrück area , Trade and technical services

Especially the seriousness and professionalism gave me a secure feeling at all times

My pre-selection decision to 100% proved to be the right one. KERN did a really good job from the preparation of my company in an exposé, to the search for buyers, to the facilitation of negotiations and the complete implementation of my succession. In particular, the seriousness and professionalism gave me a secure feeling at all times. Our goal was successfully achieved in a good 8 months. I am happy to recommend KERN to others.

G.O.K., entrepreneur from Hamburg , Service provider with own branch locations

Without the view from outside, we would probably never have reached our goal so quickly and safely

In the context of my company succession, the merger with a competitor company was the ideal solution. The KERN team, and especially Mr. Koerber, accompanied us sensitively as a moderator and process facilitator and combined the interests of both negotiating partners well. Without the view from outside and the negotiating experience, we would probably never have reached our goal so quickly and safely!

J.K. Entrepreneur from Berlin , Trade and services

Known from numerous publications

Frequently asked questions about the generation change

When is the right time for a generational change in family businesses?

There is no clear recommendation for this. After all, for a generational change in family businesses, the right moment must be present on both sides ? for the transferor and the transferee.

What we can recommend from our experience, however, is that when the next generation is ready and the training steps have been completed, the generational change in the family business should also be seriously and concretely agreed upon.

Within the framework of a transition phase, both sides, the transferor and the transferee, can then implement the business succession project.

How do I basically clarify the possible generational change for our family business?

First of all, we recommend clarifying the inner attitude to this question. And for this, we believe as experts, freedom in this so important life decision takes precedence over the obligation of having to take on the succession for the family business.

Talk to your children or close relatives calmly about the options and perspectives of taking over a business through a generational change. This is not something you can just do on the spur of the moment. It requires time and a suitable framework.

If necessary, have a neutral expert accompany you in such a highly emotional discussion situation. ?
And give your potential successor or successors enough time to consider this offer.

There is a wealth of content that is important for such a clarification on a generational change in family businesses.

Take advantage of our offer of a free webinar on this special topic at

Book your place now!

What skills should my successor bring with him/her?

This question is about the future of the company. Not about a subjective similarity of possible similarities between the transferee and the transferor.

Ideally, check together for the generational change in your company which leadership qualities and focal points are important for the future of the company after the succession.

Or which qualities and positions may need to be filled differently so that the natural strengths and competencies of your successor can unfold their full effect.

For this purpose, KERN has developed an individual entrepreneur check with scientists and recognised potential analyses. In this way, people who want to take on a management succession in a company can check their potential online and uncover resources or develop characteristics in a targeted manner.

At you can get started straight away.

How can I, as the transferor, define or discover my new role after a successful generational change in the family business?

This important question probably has the highest priority for every transferor. A new chapter in life is beginning and this needs to be discovered and prepared.

We cannot clarify this for you optimally in the brevity of a few sentences.

What we can do for you, however, with our experience in this field, is to recommend a very special seminar to you:

In this seminar you will work concretely on this question.

Or you can read the relevant book and Amazon bestseller by KERN founder Nils Koerber on 'The Art of Letting Go':

Also available as an audio book, of course.

What are the effects of a change of ownership in the generation change of a family business on partners (customers, suppliers, banks, etc.) and in the public?

Probably predominantly a positive effect. Your customers, your suppliers or simply the public in the microcosm of your business environment tend to perceive the safeguarding of a company and its jobs as a good development and message.

In this way, structures, services and ties that have grown up are preserved and can continue to be used in the future.

Our expert tip: Use the generational change in your family business as a good public message and connect the regional media at all levels with this event.

How could the generational change and the transfer of the company be communicated internally as well as externally?

All employees in the company should first learn when there is clarity in the family about the planned generational change. This creates reliability and transparency for the periods of the handover phase.

And as soon as clear responsibilities change sides between the transferor and the transferee in the generation change, we believe it is also a good time for external communication.

How does a company's value come about and is it at all important in a generation change?

There are currently two relevant valuation methods for family businesses:

The capitalised earnings value method (IDWS1) and the AWH method (particularly suitable for craft enterprises).

With these recognised methods, the value of a company can be calculated and at the same time also serves as a basis for possible assessments by the tax authorities.

Expanded, such a valuation also makes sense, because with it, within a family and several heirs of a transferor of a business, transparency comes the different values in the assets of a family.

We at KERN carry out such valuations for family businesses almost daily. For a quick value assessment and initial, rough valuation, the multiplier method is also helpful. In this procedure, market-relevant values from other company sales are used and multiplied by the results of a company.

At you can carry out an initial value assessment online free of charge within 5 minutes. Use our company value calculator to your advantage.

What needs to be taken into account with regard to tax and legal aspects when there is a generational change in a family business?

The complexity of legal forms of a company, the tax constellations of company and persons makes an answer impossible at this point.

Expert advice is always necessary here. Especially with regard to inheritance tax and legal peculiarities, which should not be underestimated.

Since changes in the political framework of the legislation can occur on an ongoing basis, you should seek out an experienced advisor for this and seek advice tailored to your business and family situation.

What effects does a generational change in business succession have on a company's financing structure?

That depends entirely on the chosen construct of a company transfer. Will it be given away, inherited or sold?

Depending on the type of transfer, the transferor can and will ensure that he is no longer personally liable. The transferees of a company then often also assume complete liability in all financial matters of the company.

However, this varies greatly from case to case and should be weighed up with the advice of experts in the circle of the transferor and transferee with all the advantages and disadvantages. And this then concerns not only factual framework conditions, such as liability, but also the emotional aspects in the constellation of transferor and transferee in the generational change of a family business.

How do I find reputable advisors to accompany the handover process in the generational change of a family business?

Look for proven references and extensive experience. Having accompanied a generation change once does not make a consultant an expert.

When there is a generational change in the family business, three systems are touched: The families, the company itself and extended ownership structure.

And it is this complexity of the systems, the legal and fiscal framework and the emotional processes that a serious and experienced consultant should be able to provide as know-how.

So ask specifically for references from other families.

At KERN, we disclose a wealth of our references in very concrete terms. With well over 100 individual testimonials, you can get a good picture for yourself:

Which books are recommended for a business handover in the context of a generation change?

As we are convinced of our expertise, we are happy to recommend the books from our own partner circle at

What are the most common problems with a generational change?

As three different systems are involved, the complexity of family, company and ownership structure should not be underestimated.

When it comes to generational change in family businesses, one of the most relevant stumbling blocks is the internal ambiguity of the actors involved on the transferor and transferee sides.

It is the emotional backgrounds and very different functional logics of the systems concerned that cause problems.

And when conflicts arise, which is actually also quite normal, we recommend procedures such as mediation. You can find details here:

KERN Standorte 09/2022