In this issue
A family enterprise is one that, by definition, engages in some degree of nepotism. Most of the time, nonfamily employees accept this as a fact of life. But can nepotism ever cross the line of accepted practice and become discriminatory behavior in the eyes of the law?
Though all founders of family businesses are entrepreneurs, not all entrepreneurs become founders. Founders are typically intuitive and emotional people. They obviously have the drive and ambition to build a great business. But they also have a feeling about the place, a love of what they have created that makes them want to perpetuate it through the generations.
To paraphrase an old adage, "Greater loyalty hath no executive than to give up his job to the boss's son."
If you're the CEO or key manager of a family-owned business, and you're not related, you know you may be out of a job one day. Almost inevitably, a member of the next generation will come along to leapfrog you or, perhaps, relieve you of your current spot on the corporate ladder. The only questions are when and how. If you're smart, you'll be involved in answering them.
When Leonard Wolf approached a bank to finance his seasonal candy-cane business, he was startled when the loan was approved almost immediately. His son Stevan, a stockholder in the candy factory located in Westville, New Jersey, solved the mystery: Stevan's wife taught school with the loan officer's wife. "Since the officer knew our family and felt we were trustworthy, it really speeded things up," he says.