Omaha Steaks’ 10 Success Tips

How the Simon family’s business, now 100 years old, keeps delivering.

Omaha Steaks has endured as a successful family business for 100 years, going from custom butcher to direct-marketing powerhouse.

The company is now a $450 million enterprise that employs nearly 2,000 full-time workers, ships some 14 million pounds of meat a year and has 3 million active customers annually.

What’s the secret of the Simon family’s success?

“The sign of a successful family business is not to let the family part affect the operations of the business,” says Bruce Simon, the fifth-generation CEO of Omaha Steaks.

Here are 10 lessons from the Simon family's story:

  1. Put the interest of the company ahead of family members’ desires.
  2. Don’t stifle creativity and be sure to innovate. Try new products and services.
  3. Know what you don’t know and continually educate yourself. Tap experts.
  4. Test family members, even youngsters, to see if they have the goods to become managers, leaders. Make them start from the bottom.
  5. Accept when it’s time to pass the reins to younger family members.
  6. Be involved in the day-to-day business; walk the halls and participate in meetings.
  7. Employ and empower non-family managers.
  8. Don’t let unresolved issues lie; lock family stakeholders in a room until there’s resolution.
  9. Have a clear chain of command.
  10. Set established norms for how the business operates. Make space for family participation while gleaning innovative ideas from a strong professional staff.

For specifics on these tips and to read about the Simon family’s 100-year journey, click here. (Subscription content)