AFTER two years taking Horsham's coffee orders, Ralph Polo hopes to sell his Firebrace Street-based Farmhouse Deli and Cafe soon.
Ideally, he would have his children take over, but he knows that's unlikely. Instead, he will be putting it on the market for the second time in a year.
"I've had enough," he said. "To run a small business, you have to answer if you want to work with yourself. Don't think your turnover is always going to be money in your hand, because there are always costs involved.
"The busier it is, the more hours you have to put in. It can have its rewards - when you start a business from scratch, you have to grow it and put long hours in; but if someone were to come in, they'd have more time off because it's established now."
Mr Polo's comments come after the release of the seventh annual Shop Small report on the future of small businesses in Australia.
Research in the American Express-led report showed less than half of all people surveyed, whose parents have a small business were interested in inheriting it. It also showed one-in-four business owners predicted to exit within three years, with the personal impacts of running a small business and retirement the most common reasons given.
Mr Polo has two children - Tanya, in Horsham, and Christopher, in Pakenham south-east of Melbourne.
"His wife works in the cafe industry. She would love to take over this business, but I don't think she would move from Pakenham," he said.
"If the kids took it over, the parents would still be there to help them out - that's how I look at it."
Mr Polo recently hired two new chefs and a casual waitress, taking his overall staff to eight.
He said keeping small businesses open was important, and handing it on, outside of a family unit, was not necessarily a detrimental move.
"The people who take it over might be great people," he said. "We've been here two years, but we came from Gippsland, so no one knew us from a bar of soap but they liked what we were doing. If you come across as a fair dinkum guy, people get to like you."
Goodyear Autocare Horsham's Ron Ward has recently welcomed son Brendan into the Horsham business.
Brendan began in May after 17 years as a payroll analyst at Wimmera Base Hospital.
"I started at the hospital before Mum and Dad took over the business, so I didn't really know which direction I wanted to go with my working life," he said.
"I helped them out on Saturday morning when they first took over 16 years ago, but (working at Goodyear) probably didn't cross my mind until the past five or six years. I still, to this day, don't know if it's the right move or not - but you don't know if you don't give it a go.
"It was a big leap for them to take on the business in the first place, so I saw it as a disappointment if he retired and the work he did just disappeared."
Ron, who has worked in the Horsham tyre industry for 45 years, said if Brendan did decide to take on the business, he felt comfortable that the camaraderie among his staff would continue.
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