Having come from a family construction business, my own environmental management business working with the marina industry, having worked with numerous businesses in developing team leadership and organizational strategies, and now teaching a course on family business management I am learning a lot about what makes family businesses successful and those that do not.
Family businesses have a lot of competitive advantages, many referenced by others who have responded to your recent article “Family is Everything,” such as a consumers perception of trustworthiness, deep understanding of the business developed across generations, shared values, a long-term perspective and an appreciation for patient money. But rarely do we hear about the 70% of businesses that fail in the transition from founder to second generation.
“Family is everything” was the headline of a recent ad by the S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., makers of well-known products like Ziploc®, Windex®, Pledge®, Raid®, Glade® and many more. The company is located less than 20 miles from where I live in southeastern Wisconsin. The ad included a message from Fisk Johnson, the 5th generation Johnson. He wrote, “Family is everything, a thought that is with me every moment of the day. As a father – as a 5th generation Johnson. For years, we’ve said the SC Johnson is a family company – but I just want to take a minute to explain what that really means.” Continue reading Family is Everything→
Over the years, I have known a lot of second and third generation dealers in the boat business. But I recently realized that three aftermarket distributors I have known for years are third and fourth generation in the industry. All were started with an entrepreneurial spirit. And all three are doing well despite the economic mess we have been going through. How are they doing this? After talking with all three, I concluded they have survived and done well by working harder and smarter. Here are some brief stories about these three. Continue reading Third & Fourth Generation Marine Distributors Going Strong→