In this issue
Many entrepreneurial families who have big dreams for their companies understand that non-family employees can help them make those dreams come true. A smaller percentage of family business owners have taken this logic a step further —they’ve hired non-family employees to run the place.
Building a successful business takes dedication and a lot of hard work. Like anything of value, your company must be protected—not only against risks such as fire or theft, but also against less tangible hazards, like the loss of an owner or a key employee.
When family business leaders contemplate succession, thoughts usually turn to the next generation of family members. After all, isn’t this prerogative one of the principal reasons for owning a family business in the first place?
The problem with this line of reasoning is that succession is often viewed as an event, not as a process needing to be nurtured. Too many times, it’s allowed to happen by accident or as a passing of a birthright. But it shouldn’t be a given that future leadership will stay in the family.
Family firms’ successes and scandals
Dynasties: Fortunes and Misfortunes of the World’s Great Family Businesses, by David S. Landes
Viking, 2006, 380 pp, $25.95