In this issue
As I write this, the U.S. is reeling from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina and the poorly planned rescue efforts that followed.
The stereotype of the highly unified ethnic business family—serving their customers with the grandparents' old-world ideals while the grandchildren learn the business from the bottom up—does not reflect reality. Ethnic family businesses with immigrant founders don't have an easier time negotiating intergenerational differences. In fact, they may find that conflict resolution is harder.
Your family business is growing each year. Your estate plan stipulates that each of your children will inherit a share of the business when you and your spouse die. Now your eldest child is getting married. You like your child's intended, but if the marriage doesn't work out, will the ex-spouse own part of your business?
Employee turnover tends to be high in the food service industry. But Jean Griffin, the second-generation vice president of Wash's Catering in Pleasantville, N.J., says she feels awful when has to lay off an employee, even if the furlough is only temporary. “You feel like you're losing a friend —like you're betraying people,” she says. Griffin, 67, recognizes the effect of such a drastic measure on an employee's family. And her company suffers too, she notes.