Article Library



Business Owners on the Couch

Published November 30, 1997 Leon Danco |

It seems that at least once a week these days I get a phone call from a psychologist or some other therapist asking for advice on how to get into family business consulting. The therapy business appe...


They Put Hammond Back on the Map

Published November 30, 1997 Stephen J. Simurda |

When I first visited Hammond Inc. seven years ago, the company had barely managed to fend off a pair of serious, unwanted takeover attempts. The fourth generation fought fiercely to retain family own...


A Smart Use of Retirement Funds

Published November 30, 1997 Mark T. Watson |

Mark T. Watson & David P. ZaudtkeBusiness owners often have a substantial amount of wealth invested in a variety of retirement plans. The balances in these qualified plans may be more than the own...


The Best Investment a Family Will Ever Make

Published November 30, 1997 Ivan Lansberg |

A successful entrepreneur once told me, “No amount of business success ever makes up for a family failure. If the family is not working right, sooner or later it will bring down your business.&...


Personal Benchmarking

Published November 30, 1997 Joachim Schwass |

Reinhold Würth led his family’s company for 40 years. He made Adolph Würth KG, in Kuenzelsau, Germany, the largest supplier of assembly products in the world, with subsidiaries in 44 ...


A Cutting-Edge Merger Abroad

Published November 30, 1997 Shu Shu Costa |

Some of the best marriages begin with a surprise proposal. On a cold February day in 1996, at a Paris trade show, Greg Wahl, 45, received an astounding proposition. The third-generation chief operati...


Orchestrating the Growth of ProMusic Inc.

Published November 30, 1997 John A. Davis |

A new book, just released by Harvard Business School Press, contributes substantially to our understanding of how the family business grows and changes over time. “Generation to Generation: Life Cyc...


Kmart's Family Roots

Published November 30, 1997 Mike Henning |

Born to modest means, Sebastian Sperling Kresge was taught to count his pennies. He worked as a farmer, teacher, and tin salesman before taking a half-interest in a Detroit novelty store. In 1899 he ...


Morris Speaks for Himself

Published November 30, 1997 Morris Housen |

In my top drawer, I keep a black-and-white photograph of myself at age 12 standing inside a smokestack before it is to be hoisted into position above Erving Paper Mills. Since that day, I have planne...


Surviving Creative Destruction

Published November 30, 1997 James E. Barrett |

Sixty years ago the Harvard economist Joseph A. Schumpeter wrote about long–running forces that gradually but inexorably shake up markets and cause upheavals in the economy. Schumpeter saw what...


Succession at Erving Industries

Published November 30, 1997 Charles B. Housen |

A year ago, I told my son, Morris, that it was time for him to “learn my job.” He replied, “I know you will be disappointed, Dad, but I don’t want your job.” Instead,...


Seeing Bonuses in a Larger Framework

Published August 30, 1997 James E. Barrett |

Barbara Fredericks, CEO of a chain of small department stores in the suburbs of Seattle, has been informed by her accountant that $50,000 will be available from last year’s pre-tax profits to b...


The Pursuit of Self-Interest Undermines Trust

Published August 30, 1997 Ivan Lansberg |

For all the lip service given to the importance of trust, it is still a relatively scarce commodity in family businesses. By trust, I mean the certainty, confidence, or faith that someone we depend up...


Too Much Pruning Kills the Family Tree

Published August 30, 1997 W. Clifford Atherton Jr. |

My mother was a High. That meant something in Tallapoosa County, Alabama. It meant that you owned land. Good, rich, red dirt that yielded lots of cotton. Of the 1,200 acres that comprised the High far...


A Welcome Tax Break, If You Can Qualify

Published August 30, 1997 Harvey J. Berger |

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 represents Congress’s first tentative step toward accomplishing true estate tax reform. The Act will provide relief for some family businesses, potentially saving a m...


How Brass Key Opens Doors in Asia

Published August 30, 1997 Deanne Stone |

This past June, Judy and Bob Mullins of Brass Key Inc., a toy manufacturer in Federal Way, Washington, journeyed to Hong Kong to join their staff in marking the historic handover of the British colon...


The Marshmallow Effect

Published August 30, 1997 John Stepek |

I am the son of a second-generation managing director—the CEO of our family’s retail electrical business—and I know only too well the emotions that besiege potential successors. The...


Arming Your Firm Against Crises

Published August 30, 1997 Bonnie M. Brown |

A business owner I met several years ago told me about a “fire drill” he holds at his company. Once a year this man walks into corporate headquarters and says to the first person he sees,...


Ethical Dilemmas of Right-vs.-Right

Published August 30, 1997 Edwin A. Hoover |

It is often not hard to resolve an argument between two people when the choice is right versus wrong or good versus evil. But what happens when the choice is right versus right? When two “right...


What Else to Look For in the New Code

Published August 30, 1997 Mark Fischetti |

Accountants and tax lawyers are still poring over numerous changes to the tax code made by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. Besides the new family business exclusion and a gradual increase in the uni...