Family Business Magazine Blog

A recent article in The Practitioner -- an online publication of the Family Firm Institute, an organization for professionals who advise and study family enterprises -- pointed out the difference between "firm survival over time" (continuity of a family business through the years) and "longevity of a family enterprise" (a family's ability to create wealth and value over generations).

The Practitioner article -- by Pramodita Sharma, the Sanders Professor for Family Business at the University of Vermont's School of Business Administration and a visiting scholar at Babson College -- argued that family enterprise success can be defined in ways other than leadership transfer from one generation to the next. "Both the creative destruction of firms and pruning of the enterprising family are integral parts of longevity of an enterprising family ....," Sharma wrote. "Recent reviews of the research on succession, governance, professionalization and performance all point in the same direction -- that one size does not fit all and the overarching numbers of ‘success' are insufficient to capture the complexity and heterogeneity of family enterprises and their pathways to success."

Family Business Magazine's cover subjects for May/June 2014, the Power family, sold J.D. Power and Associates to McGraw-Hill in 2005....Read more

Free Feature Article

Scott Moorehead took over his parents’ cellphone store chain in 2008 at age 30. Since then, he’s grown revenues from $137 million to more than $2 billion. He and his family are also investing heavily in philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. 

The year was 1982. After an antitrust lawsuit that had dragged on for eight years, the U.S. Department of Justice mandated that AT&T Corp. end its vertically integrated monopoly on telephone service in the United States and Canada. For most Americans, the breakup of Ma Bell meant confusing choices and even more confusing bills. But for family-owned, Marion, Ind.-based Moorehead Electric Co., it was the start of an evolution from a local industrial electrical contractor to one of the nation’s largest retailers of mobile phones.

“Suddenly Ma Bell stopped at the wire outside, and different companies could take the wire inside and [install] the phones,” recalls Phyllis Moorehead, 70, a former second-generation owner of Moorehead Electric who is now retired.

Phyllis says her husband, Steve Moorehead, 79, “figured if electricians could run electrical wire, they could run telephone wire. So as part of Moorehead Electric Co., we started Moorehead Communications.”

About the same time, cellular phone technology was becoming commercially viable. Early car phones were expensive and required professional installation, but consumers snapped them up anyway. By 1990, Phyllis and...Read more

Feature Video

Todd Immell, Principal, Ernst & Young LLP discusses robotics processing automation operating models for family offices. Final installment in a 4-part series.