In this issue
Most people who aren’t involved in a family firm equate “family business” with a mom-and-pop shop. They don’t realize that huge private enterprises like Cargill and Koch Industries are also family businesses, and so are giant public companies like Wal-Mart and Comcast.
Things are a little scary in business right now. Wall Street has experienced its most precipitous daily decline in many years, gasoline prices are high and news reports are drawing comparisons not only to 1987, but also to 1929. What should the family business leader do in this atmosphere of relentlessly downbeat news; increasing anxiety among customers, suppliers, lenders and employees; and overall gloom and doom? Here are a few tips that, individually or collectively, can help business leaders and their companies refocus on coping, and maybe even prospering.
To many people on Wall Street, a CEO is a gray-haired man, so imagine the shock when I walk into a meeting. As the 39-year-old female CEO of our family-owned institutional brokerage firm, I face these challenges daily in an industry dominated by mega-firms with men at the helm. I don’t fit their mold, and neither does the firm my father founded some 30 years ago. And that’s our greatest strength.
Building a family brand
Family companies can enhance their competitiveness by leveraging their family status to create a brand identity, according to research recently published in the Journal of Small Business Management. If marketed correctly, a family brand appeals to consumers, the investigators reported.