In this issue
A family business with many shareholders from disparate family branches often has a hard time satisfying the competing needs of active and inactive owners. Inactive shareholders who collectively own a controlling interest in the company may veto the family managers’ strategic plans. And as the family and its business grow, maintaining active lines of communication becomes more challenging.
The question has hung over our family for as long as I can remember: Who’s going to take over the store?
Generation of family ownership: I’m first generation. The second and third generation also work at Cabela’s.
Company revenue for 2008: $2.5 -billion.
Number of employees: More than 13,000.
Years with the company: 48. I founded the company when I bought some fishing flies in 1961 to resell. I placed a classified [ad] in a local paper and another in Field and Stream magazine a few months later.
The platform for modern communication has radically changed over the past decade. Countless articles and opinions have been offered on how to best reach your audience, in particular a younger audience. A whole new set of communication verbs and nouns have emerged in our vocabulary: “blogging,” “social networking,” “Web 2.0” and, most recently, “tweeting.” This new vocabulary is a testament to the changing landscape of information delivery.
How will the history books describe the first decade of the 21st century? Will it be known as the decade of the great financial boom and bust? The decade of the global financial crisis? The decade of the great financial scandals?
I believe the 2000s will be referred to as the decade of greed, self-interest and pursuit of financial rewards at the expense of long-term stewardship. To me, the most important financial lesson of the past decade’s economic roller coaster is that it underscored the merits of being an owner and not just an investor.
Léon Danco, the pioneering family business adviser, once wrote, “The toughest thing for the entrepreneur to realize is that time is constantly running out. Most owners don’t plan because they don’t think they are ever going to retire or die.” If you don’t have an exit plan, the future of your business, your personal financial security and your employees’ jobs will all be at risk.