In this issue
Imagine a family business where each family member, regardless of competency, feels entitled to a high-paying position. In such situations, business needs are eclipsed by family members’ desires, and confusion results as the roles of both the family and the business are left undefined.
Such situations are not rare. Conventional wisdom often dictates the decision to separate the family from the business—to build a wall between them or do whatever it takes to keep the family’s whims from derailing the business plan.
What is Sheetz? To motorists in the six states where the Altoona, Pa.-based company operates, it’s a beloved convenience store that offers made-to-order food. According to a survey sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Sheetz is one of the best places to work in Pennsylvania. But for the eight family members involved in the 61-year-old company, Sheetz is a family business ready to make a leadership transition.
A lot is known about how to help the next generation enter the family business successfully. While each family and situation is different, there are some “exemplary practices” that yield success. For example, internships for next-generation family members during school vacations help them learn about the company and gain valuable experience. And completing a post-high school degree and seeking work experience outside the family business prior to joining full-time build professional credibility.
It’s a game changer. The audit process for wealthy families, particularly business owners, has taken on new meaning as the Global High Wealth Industry (GHWI) Group within the IRS begins to hit its stride. Created by the IRS in 2009, the GHWI Group focuses specifically on complex returns, such as those filed by business owners or family offices with complex entity structures and intra-family transactions.
Working with relatives requires a different set of rules than most jobs, and departing from the family business should also be handled with care. Unlike at another company, you’ll have to see these people again. A lot. When you leave the family company behind, it’s never just a business decision. Treading carefully is a must.
Family business owners and directors joined with stakeholders in closely held and private equity-owned businesses for the inaugural Private Company Governance Summit, sponsored by Directors & Boards and Family Business magazines. The summit took place May 15-17 at the Fairfax at Embassy Row in Washington, D.C.
A welcome reception on the evening of May 15 kicked off the event. The next morning, attendees packed the hotel’s Fairfax Ballroom for a full day of presentations, keynote addresses and workshops.
Transitions East 2013, the sixth conference presented by Family Business Magazine and Stetson University’s Family Enterprise Center, brought together more than 230 people in a confidential atmosphere of learning and sharing. More than 77 family enterprises were represented at the conference, which was held April 17-19 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. The theme of the event was “Transitions by Generation.”
On a frigid early February morning in Westport, Conn., some 50 family members, employees, friends, local politicos and business leaders crammed into a covered tent at the foot of Gault Energy & Stone’s unusual three-and-a-half-story Barn III, also known as the Gault Family Homestead. Built in three stages between 1911 and 1913 from scavenged materials including wood, cobblestone, fieldstone, terra cotta and brick, the eclectic arched structure was about to be inducted into the Connecticut Register of Historic Places by the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.
When a family owns a business, its members can contribute in many different ways: Usually only one runs the business, but others work there or participate as shareholders. The family owners of Nucraft, an office furniture manufacturer based in Grand Rapids, Mich., have worked hard to navigate the tricky boundaries between employee and owner—and to help those involved in other family businesses do the same.