In this issue
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced business families to make decisions with sweeping ramifications. Steps taken to ensure business survival have had to be balanced with precautions to avoid health risks.
“My values haven’t been tested, but my ability to live by them has been shattered,” commented one listener during an April 14 webinar presented by Family Business Magazine and CFAR, a management consulting firm.
Whether they aspire to work in the family company or take a leading role in governance, NextGen members of business families often struggle to find their niche. In addition to acquiring the experience and education they need to fulfill their roles, NextGens must establish credibility with family members, employees and other stakeholders.
When a family business fails, most people suspect that estate taxes or incompetent advisers led to its demise, but that’s rarely the case. Even before the estate tax exemption increased at the end of 2017, it was rare to find a family who couldn’t keep their business afloat because they needed to pay estate taxes. There were even fewer instances in which poor professional advice led to failed family enterprises.
Pivoting to make a new product quickly has always been a hallmark of Lacerta Group Inc., a family-owned plastic packaging manufacturer based in Mansfield, Mass.
Soon after a family business recruits the first independent directors to its board, the business owners commonly marvel, “I am impressed that such remarkable and accomplished people would join our board of directors.” Within twoyears the same owners often remark, “Adding independent directors was the best thing we have done in our recent history.” The upgraded board has become an extension of management’s capability and a source of confidence for shareholders.
When COVID-19 began to spread through the United States, the Sessler family saw an opportunity for one of their businesses.
For decades after COVID-19 finally fizzles out, scholars in many disciplines will be analyzing the lessons learned from this crisis. We don’t need the advantage of hindsight, however, to recognize one key point: The businesses that so far have been best able to withstand the economic and public health emergencies are those that could implement change quickly.
Never in my wildest nightmares did I think we would still be in partial lockdown as the July/August issue of Family Business went to press, but here we are.
The family owners of A. Duda & Sons — a diversified enterprise based in Oviedo, Fla., with operations in farming, ranching and agricultural management, real estate development and commercial properties — share a strong Christian faith.