Thursday, August 23, 2012

How to Maintain a Healthy Family Business!

US/CANADA: 877-925-5149 INTERNATIONAL: 1-617-500-3110

With the right dynamics, some family businesses can be extremely successful. However, when families are dysfunctional and can’t find a rhythm that works, it can be anightmare for all who are involved. Families are torn apart and the business suffers.

Family members offer a level of loyalty, trust, commitment and vested interested in the business’ long-term success that’s not usually expressed by those who are non-family employees. Along side these positive qualities is jealousy,resentment, entitlement, greed and other emotions that can get in the way of sound business judgment when working with family members. When problems arise, and more and more family members become involved, the situation at hand gets progressively worse.

Here are a few critical tips for family businesses who want to maintain a healthy family owned business and sustain strong family relationships, courtesy of James Cassel inan article published on!

Plan Ahead – It’s a good idea to work with qualified legal and financial advisors to develop appropriate agreements for the business. This will help to keep issues to a minimum and all of your family members out of court.

Communicate – Lack of communication is one of the main reasons most family businesses fail.Communication is a key to success. Family members need to express their issues and concerns and reach a consensus.

Be Picky – Not all family members are a good fit for the business. The term “There’s always a place for you here” is not always one that should be used in the family business world.

Implement Safety Measures- Require all of the same training for all employees and a screening process for new family hires and before giving any promotions.

Think Creatively –You don’t always need to follow the same traditions and business practices as prior family members used to run the business. Often times, young family members have many great new fresh ideas!

Do you think these tips can be applied to your family business? Let us know on our Facebook page, linked HERE!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Would You Recommend Hiring Your Mom?

US/CANADA: 877-925-5149 INTERNATIONAL: 1-617-500-3110

As a business owner, would you consider hiring your mother as an employee? Maybe you've already hired your mom as an office manager, bookkeeper or account manager –would you recommend hiring your mother to other business owners? 

Surprising to some, many entrepreneurs have made the decision to hire their mother, and are happy they did so!

Joshua Simon, a young entrepreneur from Scottsdale, Arizona hired his mother as a full time employee at his real estate firm. He says, “There is no bond stronger than a mother to their child, so I have the best person at the helm where the money is.”

Book publisher Jay Nedeau is another entrepreneur who brought his mother on staff, as his editor! Business founders gain much more than an able-bodied worker when choosing their mothers for co-workers. They “reap loyalty, honest feedback and an often-mature perspective– as well as an employee they can trust with office keys, bank account passwords and company secrets,” says Wayne Rivers of The Family Business Institute. 

Perez Hilton, famous for his celebrity blogging site, is another entrepreneur who brought on his mother as a personal assistant to take care of his personal tasks that he’s unable to complete due to his hectic schedule. Hilton reported that having his mom on his team allows for him to spend more time focusing on his business while spending more time with his mother, who’s helping him complete personal tasks.It’s a win-win-win!

Even though hiring your mom as an employee has its benefits, it isn't always smooth sailing. Wayne Rivers notes “Children stop being children at some point, but parents never stop being parents.” This can make it difficult for a mother to take direction from her child, resulting in conflict. 

Would you consider hiring your mother as an employee? Do you already work with your mother? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page, linked HERE! To read the complete article, follow this LINK.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Successful Ways to Guide Your Family Business During Hard Times

US/CANADA: 877-925-5149 INTERNATIONAL: 1-617-500-3110

Today’s struggling economy has affected many businesses, especially those that are family owned and operated. Demographics, technology and economics are now converging problems, leaving businesses with questions like “where did all the baby boomers go?,” “how can I compete with technology?,” and “how do we battle external challenges?”  

Is there a successful way to guide your family business through tough and changing times? Of course! Here are a couple of steps to follow to help guide your business in the right direction, courtesy of

Step 1: Ask a few questions – Is your business stable? Figure it out by asking a few question like, “Are we generating or burning through cash?” “Are we losing key internal resources through competition, or market obsolescence eliminating lines of business or key staff departures?” “Is the business value flat, increasing or declining?” “Are there key things the business needs to add to remain stable?” and “Will investments need to be made just to maintain the business?”  

What type of questions do you ask when evaluating your business? 

Step 2: Companies that are currently unstable, should use this step to figure out who really owns the business.

“The stark reality is it is that person’s sole responsibility to stabilize the business. This could involve injecting money into the business or other hard choices. This may not be as simple as looking at the shareholder agreement or list of current shareholders with family-owned companies. Until the business is stable, you can’t look too far into the future generations seeking responsibility to address current challenges,” (

This is at the core of most problems plaguing many western countries: no one wants to own the problem of “crushing debt burdens and social decline,” therefore, no one is truly invested in solving it (

To break this vicious cycle, the actual owners of the business must work to stabilize the business and solve the current challenges. Why is this important? “Passing on an unstable business to the next generation is equivalent to tossing them a grenade after the pin has been pulled,” (

Is there a problem you've been avoiding to correct because it doesn't directly concern your future? Is there an issue someone higher up is refusing to address? 

Step 3: Create a decision-making mechanism by any means. “Once the state of the business is understood and the decision making body is assembled, how does this group make decisions to attain stability? Unanimous agreement? Democratically, one person one vote? Or corporately, one share one vote? Or does one person or camp take control, either with the acquiescence of the others or in a more hostile situation?” (

Don’t allow your company to become paralyzed and end up a victim of circumstance. Hard to specify what movement is needed, but decisions need to be made, and there is no perfect template – figure out what works best for your structure.

How does your business make decisions? Who holds the most weight, or is every one's voted equally weighed? Does your company have a decision-making mechanism already in place?  

Do you think these tips can help your family business? Answer our questions and let us know on our Facebook page, linked HERE.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Look Into the Best Family Companies According to Forbes!

US/CANADA: 877-925-5149 INTERNATIONAL: 1-617-500-3110

Are you a family business owner? Is it a dream of yours to see your family business still successfully operating over 100 years from now? has put together a list of some of the best family companies in the US, in terms of both size (revenue) and longevity (year they were founded), with each variable equally valued. 

Here are a few profiles of those currently in the driver’s seat of some of the oldest and largest family companies around the US, including “words of wisdom” from their fathers. The following profiles are from the article The Best Family Businesses, published by on June 17, 2011. To read the article in its entirety, click HERE

Thomas M. Belk Jr., CEO and Chairman 
Company: Belk (department store chain) 
Relationship: Grandson of founder William HenryBelk
Advice: Everyone is important and special in some way. Two stories come tomind. At receptions Dad would introduce me to nearly everyone. Sometimes theexperience was awkward, being taken around the room, but it was alwaysuplifting. He didn't only treat me, his son, this way; he did this for manypeople, and they remember him for it. He was a people person, and he reachedout to everyone. Another memory is traveling to stores. My Dad shook hands witheveryone as he walked into the store. This made everyone feel important, and Ido this today because he taught me. People want to be recognized; take care ofthem, and they'll take care of the customers.
How does your family make everyone feel important at work?

Jim Perdue, CEO and Chairman 
Company: Purdue (poultry processing)
Relationship: Grandson of founder Arthur Purdue
Advice: My dad always said that quality should be your No. 1 value.
Is quality at the top of your family business’ value list?Do you know SC Johnson & Son?

SC Johnson & Son 
Year Founded: 1886
Founder: Samuel Curtis Johnson Sr.
Revenue: $9 billion
Run by fifth-generation family members, SC Johnson & Son makes and sells household goods and products for home cleaning, home storage, air care, personal care and insect control. Itswell-known brands include Windex, Pledge, Glade, Shout, Saran, Ziploc, Edge,Scrubbing Bubbles and Raid.
Does “SC Johnson, a Family Company” ring a bell? This slogan is repeated at the end of most commercials for SC Johnson products and is recognized around the country. Does your company emphasize the family aspect when marketing?

Answer our questions on the Continuity Family Business Consulting Facebook Wall, linked HERE

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to Leave Your Family Issues at Home

US/CANADA: 877-925-5149 INTERNATIONAL: 1-617-500-3110

Often times, it can be difficult to work with your family members in a family owned business.Personalities tend to clash and personal life gets brought into the business and issues arise.

Is your family business struggling to keep your personal family issues outside of the family business? Here are a couple of tips that can help you to do just so.

Be Professional – It’snot only in family business that employees don’t get along, it happens in all types of businesses. Remain professional in your business environment and treat everyone with respect in order to get the results you’re looking for.

Don’t Take It Home-Leave your family business issues at the office. Bringing those issues into your home will only make it more difficult for all parties to resolve whatever the issue may be.

Structure Management and Career Paths to Avoid Confusion- A common problem found in family businesses is that many family members wants to be involved in management. This usually isn’tpossible. To decide which family members should take on specific roles, develop articulated career paths, objective measures to determine promotions and compensation policies so everyone knows what is expected and how to move up the corporate ladder.  

Be Sure All Employees Have the Skills to Do Their Jobs- If your family business requires certainskills or craftsmanship to get the job done, it is only fair to place people in positions to which they are qualified for. If someone in the family is claiming they have the ability to get a job done but you’re not sure, check their qualifications.

Do you have any additional tips on how to keep your family issues apart from your family business? Let us know on our Facebook page, linked HERE!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Rhode Island General Store Closes After 224 Years of Business!

US/CANADA: 877-925-5149 INTERNATIONAL: 1-617-500-3110

Gray's General Store in Adamsville Village, RI, brought in customers for years with its old-fashioned marble soda fountain, cigar and tobacco cases, and Rhode Island Johnny cakes. Having opened their doors in 1788, this Rhode Island landmark may be the oldest general store in America, and one of the oldest family businesses. Gray’s shop closed last Sunday afternoon after 224 years of business! 

Owner Jonah Waite inherited the shop last month after his father suffered an untimely death due to cancer.  He said Saturday that this was a very hard decision to make, to leave behind all the family history and tradition and close the shop. A few deciding factors that led Waite to his decision were the unstable finances and the newer supermarket down the street which has siphoned away business. 

Waite is only 21 years old, and will be a senior at the University of Hartford in Connecticut in the fall with hopes to pursue a career in sports journalism.  "Obviously, I understand the historical aspect of it, and I would really love to keep it the way it is, but it doesn't seem to me that that's the most feasible option," Waite said. "With the economy ... the place has lost its attraction, lost its luster."  Waite says he is not sure whether he will keep the property or try to sell it.

The shop has been in Waite’s family since 1879, for seven generations and comprises the front part of his home.  He said his father, who died at age 59, loved selling cigars and candy to his costumers.  His grandfather owned the store in the early 1900’s and ran a gristmill to make his own corn meal that was sold in the store.  In 2007, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and then-Gov. Donald Carcieri issued proclamations naming Gray's as the oldest continuously run general store in the country. More customers have been gathering at the store lately to say their last goodbyes. Waite said that although the shop has been in his family for such a long time he thinks his father would support his decision to sell. "He's trusting that I'll do the right thing and what's best for me," Waite said. All good things must come to an end, and after 224 years this historic shop will as well.

Do you have a family business that has been passed down through multiple generations? Share your stories with us on the Continuity Family Business Consulting Facebook page, linked HERE

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New York Family Businesses Moving in New Directions!

US/CANADA: 877-925-5149 INTERNATIONAL: 1-617-500-3110

In 1975, long before the Upper West Side became one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods, Joe Goldberg inherited a shoe retail business from his father Harry. 

It was then called Florsheim Shoes, but over time it became a New York City fixture: Harry’s Shoes.  This past March, Joe passed away at the age of 83, but not before he helped his son Robert and daughter Randi open a newly expanded Harry’s Shoes, which will be more than double the size of the existing store. 

This is a great accomplishment for the Goldberg family considering only about one-third of family businesses make it to the second generation, and about half of those make it to the third.  Harry’s shoes is not only beating the odds but expanding and moving in new directions. 

What’s the secret to their success? - Common goals, strong family ties, and a willingness to listen to a new generation.  "You can't stand still," Robert Goldberg said. "The secret to business is constantly reinventing who you are." 

The ability to change with the times and communicate amongst all generations allows family businesses to be successful.

For more information, please visit