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Navigating the Family Business Through a Time of “Dangerous Change”

A surprising statistic published in May, 2011, by the United States Small Business Administration was that family-owned businesses account for 90% of all businesses in the United States (large and small) [www.sba.gov]. From two-person shops to the largest family businesses in the U.S., there are family dynamics and family challenges that don’t surface in day-to-day […]

Family Business Issues and some Tools to Help – Theory vs Real World

Universities are studying “the family business”. Fairleigh Dickinson University, in New Jersey, established the O. Berk Company Family Business Forum in 1992, to support local family businesses with breakfast presentations for members, covering such topics as “ Emotional Intelligence and Resolving Conflict”. The focus is on exchange of ideas in a small group (20-25 member […]

Keep your family business from becoming a “Petrified Forest” (Still Standing, but Fossilized)

What does an awe-inspiring national park in the sunset-hued Arizona desert have in common with a family-owned business? Quite a bit, it turns out. The Petrified Forest National Park is a protected area in the Arizona mountains, first by declaration as a National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, then as part of the […]

Competition for the Best Family-Owned Business – Learning from the Winners!

Family businesses are not just “businesses”. A key government agency is monitoring this subsection of “business” in the United States, to find out how they operate and how they can flourish, or fail. Every year, each state chapter of the United States Small Business Administration grants an annual award for “ Family Business of the […]

Sibling Rivalry in the Family Business

Can brothers and sisters really work together? Or is there always an underlying rivalry, dating back to the worst of childhood rants: “Mom always liked you best!”!!! Sometimes, the family business is on the line. Family businesses can function as well with family members, as with non-family, except when siblings are not in harmony. One […]

Family Business Series – 6 – Addiction

When the second generation son is taking over the family business from a founding parent, and the son has a serious drinking or drug problem, who is going to confront him? One out of two American family businesses will have to deal with a family-related addiction problem within the company, according to a 2012 study […]

Family Business Series – 7 – Europe

McDonalds, circa 1749? Walmart, est. 1665? Not really, but not so unusual in Europe. While American family-owned and operated businesses tend to be entrepreneurial, according to The Economist, European family businesses tend to be older, multi-generational and extensive — parents, brothers, sisters and cousins, looking to operate the business as an extended family-sustaining enterprise, to […]

Family Business Series – 8 – The Australia Study

American businesses, especially family businesses, are a patchwork of sizes, types, business models, and cultures. Working out of living rooms as well as boardrooms, corner cafes and highrises, from smartphones, offices, laptops and garages, there is no “model” family business owner in the United States. Australia, however, wants to change the game for Australian businesses […]

Family Business Series – 9 – The Australian Survey

How are Australian family businesses doing, cents and (Australian) dollars? After the official Australian governmental report was issued: Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services: Family Businesses in Australia — Different and Significant; Why They Shouldn’t be Overlooked [March 2013], The accounting firm of KPMG/Australia partnered with Family Business of Australia [FBA] to conduct […]

Family Business Series – 10 – Outsiders – When to Bring Them in

When a gap in leadership for an iconic French luxury goods brand threatened the welfare of the family owned company, immediate best interests of the company required outside assistance — and an outsider stepped in as CEO. Family businesses can successfully incorporate non-family members in key roles in the company, without sacrificing control. When is […]

Sibling Rivalry in The Family Business: The Dark Side

Bad blood and litigation-a mixture that brings to mind the modern term: “toxic family”. Successful and long-lived family businesses can deteriorate when the next generation is given the reigns and the deterioration can be ugly and public. One of the oldest family businesses in the United States has spent the last thirty years embroiled in […]

Family Business Series – 12 – Succession And Modernization

In the hit romantic comedy, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”(2002), Fotoula “Toula” Portakolas, an unmarried, 30 year old daughter of Greek immigrants, conspires with her female relatives to trick her traditional father into allowing her to work in her aunt’s travel business. Toula has changed her hair, started wearing makeup and modernized her aunt’s business […]