In this issue
Are you constantly bombarded with interruptions and distractions that leave you with a shortened attention span?
Back in the 1990s, a seller of a closely held business generally expected that investing the proceeds in public markets would provide enough income to support his family’s lifestyle and enough growth to keep up with inflation and to supply a nice legacy for younger generations. A seller’s major considerations were how much to reserve to invest in a new business and how to diversify low basis stock received in the sale without paying taxes.
Most family businesses can note a specific moment when one generation steps back from management and the next takes over. But at Chicago-based manufacturer and distributor Magid Glove & Safety Manufacturing Co. LLC, the generational transition has been going on for seven years —and it’s not over yet.
Sustainability is serious business. A well-developed sustainability plan will help your company to mitigate risk and will position it to leverage opportunities for value creation. Sustainability is particularly relevant for family-controlled businesses, which are strongly connected to their communities and are oriented toward preserving wealth and ensuring success for future generations.
David Packard and Bill Hewlett, two engineering grads from Stanford University, founded Hewlett Packard, the IT giant, in Packard’s garage in 1938. They flipped a coin to see whose name would go first. Packard won the toss, but both decided that Hewlett Packard had a stronger ring than Packard Hewlett. That brand, and the partnership it represents, is now a household name worldwide.
Recruiting senior management is a very delicate and complex process, especially in family-controlled businesses. Beyond the traditional recruiting criteria—determining whether a candidate has the needed skills, leadership acumen and business maturity—there is a whole other layer of complexity to consider. This involves cultural alignment and, ultimately, power and control.
Olympic figure skating champion and film star Sonja Henie credited her success in the 1935 world championships to ice skates made by Strauss Skates & Bicycles. In a handwritten letter to the store’s founder, John Strauss Sr., Henie wrote, “I would not even dream of going into the Championships unless I was wearing your skates this year.”
Leaving the comfort and safety of a well-established family business and starting a new career can be a risky venture. In September 2010, at 52 years old, I stepped out of my comfort zone to follow my passion. I left the construction business founded by my great-grandfather in 1917 to teach at the university level.