25 years of service

By Barbara Spector

In the fall of 1989—when the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 2,752 and gas prices averaged $1.16 a gallon—Family Business Magazine made its debut. "This magazine is both about and for family businesses," our first publisher explained in that inaugural issue.

At the time of our founding, family enterprise was just starting to come into its own as an academic discipline. The Family Firm Institute, a professional association of family business advisers and researchers, had officially incorporated just three years before, in 1986. Family Business Review, the field's research journal, was launched in 1988.

We have been honored to help educate business families over the past quarter-century by presenting real-world stories of family companies' triumphs and missteps, their success strategies as well as their challenges and struggles. It has also been our privilege to provide a forum for family business owners to meet each other and share their stories in a "safe-haven" environment at our conferences. It has been exciting to witness the development of a community, rather than simply a network.

We are proud to be owned by a family company serving family companies. Family Business Publishing Company is one of the media and investment ventures of the Rock family. With third-generation members Bill and Tom Rock working in the office alongside their parents, Bob and Caro, and founder Milt Rock still coming in to offer insights, we live and breathe family business issues.

Some thinking in the field has evolved since the debut of our magazine. Our first issue noted, "Family businesses are in it for the long haul—dedicated to growth, customer service, and commitment to their community. Their major aim is to create a viable company that can be passed on to children, grandchildren, and beyond, while protecting the reputation of the family name." While business families still want to pass wealth on to their heirs and bring honor to the family name, it is now recognized that continuing the founder's original business is not the only route to family business success. Many entrepreneurial families are operating thriving ventures that do not include the legacy company.

We no longer use typewriters and blue pencils to produce our copy. But achieving enterprise success while maintaining family harmony is still challenging. As technology and globalization continue to alter the competitive landscape, we will be there to offer guidance.

Family Business has big plans for the future, including the expansion of our print, digital and conference offerings to present new and exciting educational opportunities to family business stakeholders. As we celebrate our silver anniversary, we are going for the gold.

Copyright 2014 by Family Business Magazine. This article may not be posted online or reproduced in any form, including photocopy, without permission from the publisher. For reprint information, contact bwenger@familybusinessmagazine.com.

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September/October 2014

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