Article Library



Seven Habits of Highly Effective Companies

Published May 30, 1998 Francois de Visscher |

Why do some family firms thrive, while others merely survive or even wither away and die? Many reasons, of course. However, in my experience, successful family firms are distinguished by their attent...


Cain and Abel's Siblings

Published May 30, 1998 Kenneth Kaye |

The callers were two sisters in a family of nine siblings ranging in age from 35 to 53. Only two of their brothers had taken over Dad's business, and the two brothers were taking each other apart. Fo...


The States, Too, Demand Their Pound of Flesh

Published May 30, 1998 Thomas C. Sturgill |

As family business owners age, they spend more time investigating various strategies to reduce estate taxes. The techniques—and the consultants who recommend them—often focus exclusively ...


A Granddaughter's Noble Quest

Published May 30, 1998 Deanne Stone |

Growing up, Myiti Sengstacke took for granted that The Chicago Defender, the newspaper that had been in her family for 93 years, would always be there. Myiti was the eldest of six grandchildren of Jo...


Generation Skipping

Published May 30, 1998 Mike Cohn |

Until Congress enacted the generation-skipping transfer tax in 1986, passing assets to grandchildren was an excellent way to help keep a business in the family. Under current law, wealth transferred ...


Investing in Wealth Creators

Published May 30, 1998 James E. Hughes Jr. |

"Shirt-sleeves to shirt-sleeves in three generations." This well-known proverb claims that a family will not preserve its wealth for more than three generations. Of course, few families in business b...


'We The People... to Form a More Perfect Union'

Published May 30, 1998 Dennis T. Jaffe |

Families like to see themselves as informal and free-form, so their usual first response to the suggestion that they create a family constitution is that it seems utterly pointless. "Who needs it?" t...


The New Frontier in Asset Protection

Published May 30, 1998 Howard Muson |

To protect wealth from the claims of creditors, litigious spouses, and the rulings of courts, Americans in recent years have moved billions of dollars in assets offshore. Some 17 jurisdictions, from B...


How to Fuel a Family Feud

Published March 30, 1998 Dennis T. Jaffe |

Every day, it seems, the business press reports on another family squabble that has led to the downfall of a dynasty. While such tales spread gloom in many quarters, feuds do have a bright side judgi...


High Flyers on the Small Screen

Published March 30, 1998 Kelin E. Gersick |

Sex! Scandal! Crime! Money! Good guys and bad guys and plenty of conflict between them! No wonder television seems like a natural for family business. “Dallas,” “Dynasty,” eve...


The Ritual Dance of Succession

Published March 30, 1998 Mark Fischetti |

Paul Mazonson came to work at his father’s insurance agency in 1975 mostly because he didn’t want to go to graduate school. He had just finished a psychology degree at the University of V...


A Wakeup Call on Disaster Insurance

Published March 30, 1998 Michael A. Lusardi |

With so many disasters in the news these days—tornadoes in Florida, floods and mud slides in California, ice storms and power outages in Canada—one might expect business owners to keep their prope...


Why Lee Delp was Right for MOPAC

Published March 30, 1998 Kerry Pechter |

In a restored one-room schoolhouse not far from his family’s meat-packing plant, Curtis F. Moyer had called one of the most pivotal meetings in the Moyer Packing Company’s 120-year histor...


How High is your E.Q.?

Published March 30, 1998 Deanne Stone |

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is the largest car rental company in the United States—and growing. In a tough market that has left its competitors barely holding their ground, Enterprise has racked up 2...


The Chief Financial Peacekeeper

Published March 30, 1998 Francois de Visscher |

By his own admission, Jeffrey Block is not a chief financial officer. Trained as an accountant, he worked for five years in the tax department of a Big Six firm before joining his family’s comp...


Money and Mortality

Published March 30, 1998 Daniel Golden |

At 74, Warren Syer decided it was high time to face an issue that no family really enjoys talking about: inheritance. Last summer, the retired publishing executive and entrepreneur, and his wife, ...


Budgeting for Continuity

Published March 30, 1998 Glen R. Ayres |

No business can sustain its market position, let alone grow, if its capital base is dramatically diluted each time the mantle of ownership shifts from one generation to the next. The perception of ma...


One Way to See if the Future Works

Published March 30, 1998 Ivan Lansberg |

As we better understand family companies that manage to stay in business through generations, it becomes clear that many share one outstanding quality: They tend to be run by families that place a hi...


A Do-It-Yourself Way To Go Public

Published December 30, 1997 Tom Stewart-Gordon |

In 1993, William Rowe, president of Wichita-based Willie C's Cafe and Bar, left the day-to-day operations of his two-restaurant concern and raised $950,000 for his business in 20 weeks. Rowe had sold...


Prisoners of Distrust

Published November 30, 1997 John L. Levy |

It is often said that wealthy people create trusts for their heirs mostly out of distrust. They do not trust the beneficiaries to use the money wisely and avoid exploitation by unscrupulous people. L...