Article Library



Funerals R Us

Published June 1, 1990 Harvey D. Shapiro |

There are no sample products in the lobby of Service Corporation International's highrise headquarters on the fringe of Houston's downtown. Nor are there pictures of SCI facilities, or testimonials f...


A Contrarian's View on Retiring: Don't Do It

Published June 1, 1990 Donald J. Jonovic |

If a business owner retires at 65, plays 18 holes of golf a day, 365 days a year, until the day the actuaries predict he'll join the Eternal Cash Flow, he'll have to flog 660,000 golf balls off the e...


Why We'll Never Go Public

Published May 30, 1990 Samuel C. Johnson |

There are distinct advantages to being a family corporation, especially when you are competing against public firms. Public companies do have some advantages, principally, unlimited access to the pub...


They Foresee the Future and it Works for Them

Published May 1, 1990 Louis Moscatello |

The cycle of life starts every Monday morning at the publishing firm called The Kiplinger Washington Editors. It's then that Austin Kiplinger and his son Knight sit down with their 18 editors to disc...


Comes the Revolution at Dexter Corp.

Published May 1, 1990 Jayne A. Pearl-Hommel |

"If I thought it was better for the business to have a family member in it, I'd find one somewhere," insists David Linwood Coffin Sr., chairman of The Dexter Corporation. "I think the family has done...


Using an LBO to Keep a Firm in the Family

Published May 1, 1990 Mike Cohn |

John Kramer's recent success created his current dilemma. As a building materials distributor, he had seen sales jump from $5 million to $20 million in five years. Now, at age 60, John was pleased ...


To A Son, On His Entering The Business

Published May 1, 1990 Family Business |

"Advice is seldom welcome," Lord Chesterfield wrote to his son, "and those who want it the most always like it the least." And yet generations of fathers have, like Chesterfield, offered words of wis...


The Smart Way to Cast Off That Shadow CEO

Published May 1, 1990 Edwin T. Crego Jr. |

Too frequently, naming Junior as the company CEO is a purely symbolic act. In these cases, the title of chief executive officer sounds important and prestigious, but it signifies nothing. The reaso...


Hire Who? What? Pass the Spinach

Published May 1, 1990 David Graulich |

When business schools teach case studies about family business, a favorite technique is to create a scenario at the family dinner table. Unlike managers of other businesses, who have their big meetin...


Spinning Off Some Company Assets: A Capital Idea

Published May 1, 1990 Francois M. de Visscher |

Capital needs of a family and its business can clash, as CEO Dave Watkins learned at the last meeting of the 17 family shareholders of Watkins Construction Company in Dublin, Idaho. All but two wante...


The Politics of Family Boards

Published May 1, 1990 Peter Davis |

One of the boards I serve on engages regularly in a kind of ritualistic jousting with the founder and CEO. We try to show him that he can't continue to violate the most basic of management principles...


Hooray for Our Team!

Published May 1, 1990 Neil Cohen |

Watt Powell Park is an old concrete and steel ballpark that sits humbly on the banks of the Kanawha River, which runs through the center of Charleston, West Virginia. Beyond the center field fence lo...


How to Benefit from Creative Use of an ESOP

Published May 1, 1990 David L. James |

An employee stock ownership plan is not just a way to reward longstanding, loyal employees with a stake in the business. Creatively employed, it can bring significant tax benefits to owners and emplo...


Just Sell High, Buy Back Low, and Watch Your Sales Triple

Published May 1, 1990 Dan Rottenberg |

Like many other family businesses, Ram Golf Corporation arrived in 1974 at a seemingly inescapable fork in the road. For 26 years, under the direction of three Hansberger brothers, the suburban Chica...


A Death in the Business

Published April 1, 1990 Dan Rottenberg |

Until he got married at the age of 40, Alan Hassenfeld's friends and colleagues wondered whether he'd ever settle down. While his buttoned-down older brother Stephen ran Hasbro Inc., the Rhode Island...


How to Negotiate a Compensation Plan, Painlessly

Published April 1, 1990 Donald J. Jonovic |

"McElvany's asking too much," Sam Bensen told me. Sam was founder of Bensen Steel Co., a steel service center in Illinois. Jack McElvany, his controller, had been with him for eight years, and had sta...


Can You Keep A Secret? Maybe You Shouldn't

Published April 1, 1990 Kenneth Kaye |

It was unusual for my old friend Walter Waitingame to phone at 8:30 on a Sunday night — unusual and inconvenient, just when the kids are getting their second wind and it's my night to give them...


What the Levys Learned from Disaster

Published April 1, 1990 Barbara B. Buchholz |

The business started out as a junk shop on New York City's Lower East Side, founded by two brothers-in- law, John Ginsburg and Isaac M. Levy. It grew into one of the nation's most distinguished antiq...


Customer Service, Family Style

Published April 1, 1990 Howard Muson |

Stew Lenard, watch out. The Kowalskis of St. Paul, Minnesota, may steal your crown as the champion of customer service among the nation's grocery markets. Jim Kowalski and his wife, Mary Anne, boug...


Why We Failed at Succession: A Son's View

Published April 1, 1990 James C. Farah |

My father has not wanted to see me or speak with me since August 1988, and my last board meeting. Although I left Farah Inc. first in 1977, so I would not to have to directly oppose my father, he h...