7 Lessons Family Business Owners Need To Know
This post comes to us courtesy of Anisha Vikram Shah of Weber Shandwick, the global public relations firm.
It's old news that small businesses are facing plenty of challenges, but imagine owning a small business and you need to discuss a problem employee ... and it's your little brother.
More than 70 percent of all U.S. businesses are family-owned, and their proprietors often say that success means being one part entrepreneur and one part family psychologist. To gain deeper insight into what it takes to successfully manage a family-owned business, MassMutual has conducted a study, FamilyPreneurship: What Every Entrepreneur Should Know Before Starting a Business with a Family Member. After speaking to over 500 family businesses around the country, MassMutual identified seven lessons that family business owners need to know:
It all starts with the intangibles. Passion for the business and trust between family members and advisers were cited as the two most important critical success factors by current family business owners. You have to be 100 percent confident your partners are going to be with you through thick and thin, and that your advisers are knowledgeable and steadfast.
Divorce-proof the business. Regardless of whether the business is owned by a husband and wife team or not - a partner's divorce from a spouse uninvolved in the business can still have disastrous consequences. Of the 15 percent of respondents whose business had experienced divorce, fully 44 percent had a negative experience. More than a third have never given the possibility of divorce and its impact on the business a thought.
Who's next? Most family business owners have inadequate or inflexible succession plans. While most are worried about how a death would affect the business, and nearly half are worried about how a disability would affect it, many either have no succession plan in place or have one they consider inflexible.
Don't lose it all to Uncle Sam. More than a third of respondents have no plan in place to deal with estate taxes, which can hurt a family's ability to continue the business and can also erode inheritances.
Communication is the key. Respondents said that communication is one of the top elements to success because it helps maintain good relationships with family both in and out of the workplace and leads to more effective decision making.
Decide who's the boss and how to make decisions. Clear definition of roles and responsibilities is critical, enabling the business to run efficiently and ensuring that it avoids paralysis due to confusion over leadership. Each person has to do what they are best at. Decision making and disagreement resolution process is also critical to avoid arguments that can stymie the business and hurt morale. Some businesses adopt a majority rule process. Others assign decision making responsibility for particular areas to each partner. And others advocate for a negotiation process.
Strike a balance. It's easy to get consumed by work demands and to let them invade family life. Most family business owners discuss work at home and home issues at work, but most say they don't consider this to be a big problem.
These seven lessons are good to remember in this troubled economy. With America's small businesses having created 65 percent of all new jobs in the last 15 years, the impact of the future of family owned business is more important than ever.
Andrea Closing in on the 50-Pound Mark
This week I lost .5 pounds for a total of 45.9 pounds lost. Although .5 is not a huge amount to lose, I'm satisfied with it because I was on vacation all last week. During my last vacation, I gained some pounds that stayed with me for two months.
My family and I planned to camp, which I thought might present some food challenges. In the past I can recall wolfing down more than my share of s'mores and polishing off the leftover Hershey bars and graham crackers once I returned home. In my mind, s'mores are the consummate campfire snack and a delicious compliment to whatever camp meal I make.
This trip, I gave myself permission to have a s'more and looked forward to enjoying it. When I ate my s'more I thought, "what is all the fuss about?" I didn't enjoy it, despite my marshmallow being toasted to perfection. It was dry and the chocolate wasn't the good quality chocolate I would like to use my points on. So that was it for me and s'mores. There were a few restaurant meals during the week but I made good choices when we were out. That combined with the exercise camping requires made it possible for me to actually lose a small amount.
Meanwhile, I checked out the WW newsletter we received at this week's meeting. There are always inspirational articles and recipes in the publication so I make sure to read it from cover to cover. I eyed the "Grilled Veggie Pocket with Fresh Herb Pesto" recipe with interest and because of the huge amount of fresh basil that is growing on my back porch. I decided to give it a shot and it was delicious and filling. I tallied points for all the ingredients (despite my using only half the pesto and half the veggies) and this sandwich is only 3 points.
Here's the recipe:
Grilled Veggie Pocket with Fresh Herb Pesto
1 c. thinly sliced red onion
1 small zucchini, cut into thin strips
1/4 c. packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 garlic clove
1 T. reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese
2 T Weight Watchers Plain Yogurt (can substitute Dannon fat free)
1/4 t. lemon juice
2 t pine nuts
1 Weight Watchers 100% Whole Wheat Pita Pocket, toasted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange red onion and zucchini in a single layer across baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables soften, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat promptly and set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, to make the pesto, combine basil leaves, garlic, cheese, and yogurt in a food processor and pulse on medium-high speed until smooth and well blended. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and stir in lemon juice and pine nuts. Add vegetables and toss to coat. Spoon vegetable-pesto mixture into a pita pocket, wrap securely in foil, and take it with you. Yields one sandwich with 1 T pesto. Enjoy. See you next week. -AV
Discover Affordable Maui
Maui has been the top island on Conde Nast Traveler's list of reader favorites 15 out of the last 16 years, and for good reason. Maui is steeped in history, beauty and possesses the best beaches to be found anywhere. Think you can't afford all this? Think again.With new, well priced direct flights from the Bay Area and a little creative planning, you can have it all. So give up the cheesy luaus, the packed tour buses and all the things that break the bank and experience the Maui of your dreams these ten ways:Rent a condoAfter staying in hotels for years all over the island, we rented a condo. Our hosts, Leon and Gail own four units in Wailea and treat you like family. At ours, "Treetop", we were greeted with an Aloha note on the door and were serenaded each morning by tropical birds. It was bliss from there on out. The condo not only supplied a kitchenette where we could enjoy our own breakfast and Kona coffee, but was stocked with beach chairs, umbrellas and a cooler. Every day we packed a lunch with treats from a local farmers market and saved enough money to enjoy great dinners every night.www.waileaescape.comVisit UpcountryA trifecta of Upcountry towns, Makawao, Pukalani and Kula offer ocean breezes, unbelievable views and a feeling like being in Napa or Santa Barbara. The main street in Makawao, once a cowboy town, is home to art galleries, restaurants and a bakery right out of the 1930s. We watched a glass blower at work and strolled with home made lemonade. Situated on the slopes of Haleakala, this area is the Maui of days gone by.Enjoy a cocktail at a Wailea resortWith all the money that could be saved by not having to pay for breakfast and lunch, put on your best Aloha shirt and splurge for a Mai Tai and appetizers at the Four Seasons or Grand Wailea Resort. The service is top notch and for one evening you'll live like the other half lives. There is nothing more romantic than sunset here.Go with Pacific Whale Foundation's Eco AdventuresThis organization's snorkel dives and whale watching are the best on the island. Not your typical outing where you may see more flippers than fish, their environmental guides are knowledgeable and they can take you to locations off limits to other companies. All profits are donated to local environmental groups, so not only do you have fun; you help preserve the underwater beauty for future generations.www.pacificwhale.orgFeel the manaTo Hawaiians, mana describes all manner of the supernatural or divine power. Iao Valley is the place in Maui where this is most apparent. Once a place of political importance and a site to honor the gods with sacrifices, the name means "supreme light" and is named in honor of the god Iao. One of the most beautiful spots on the island, Iao Valley is four miles west of Wailuku. Come very early or very late in the day as the light hitting the pinnacles at these hours give it an ethereal glow.Volunteer on vacationAn idea that's catching on worldwide, this is the most rewarding way to vacation. It doesn't cost you a penny and you'll go home with great memories. Volunteers may work with locals and visit off the beaten track locations. Whether picking up trash on the beach or pulling invasive weeds, you'll see areas off limits to the general public. A typical day consists of a one hour orientation and about three hours of work. Call (808) 249-8811 (ext 1).Go stand up paddlingEasier and less taxing than surfing, stand up paddling has gained a huge following since it was invented about 60 years ago. It's not complicated and in the early mornings when the wind is down, the sea is like glass. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, colorful fish and the occasional monk seal while you enjoy this peaceful sport. Instruction and rentals are available all over the island.Learn about MolokaiMaui is unique of all the Hawaiian Islands in that other islands are very close by and accessible. A day trip to Molokai is an adventure you won't soon forget. There are no stop lights and you can drive for miles without seeing a soul. Take a mule ride to Kalaupapa National Historical Park, separated from the rest of the island by a 2,000 foot wall of green mountains. In the late 1800s Father Damian treated victims of Hansen's disease (leprosy) here and in 2009 was canonized for his work. The park contains over 300 historical buildings and 1000 grave markers.Head for a wineryTodeschi Winery is Maui's only vineyard and one of only two in the whole state. Located 2,000 feet up the slopes of Haleakala, the main cottage dates from 1874. There are wine tastings and you'll have the chance to bring home a very special Maui souvenir.Life's a beachWith over 80 beaches, Maui has one tailor made for you. From sunning to sitting under a palm tree with a book, from snorkeling to body surfing, there is a beach that's just right. Walk along the stretch of sand at Kaanapali or Big Beach, or climb over lava flows to a pristine hidden cove. There are beaches for kids and sandcastles or secret areas that are clothing optional. Just don't forget the sunscreen.For more great ideas on Maui:www.101thingstodo.comwww.visitmaui.comwww.maui-info.com-SEW
Enjoy Small Plates At Nibblers
When the Four Mile River Pork Slider with chipotle barbaque sauce and house made pickles ($10) were sold out, we ordered the Grilled Meyer Natural Hangar Steak ($11), a tougher cut of meat. But the mustard sauce tenderized it and made the meat succulent to sink our teeth into.
Nibblers also prides itself on wines, of which there is an exhausting selection.
Once again, not to fear.
Are We A Flip Flop Nation?
Traditional or Modern Father Knows Best?
I've been racking my brain for weeks about what to write for a Father's Day story. I have searched for an interesting story about my own dad, a funny situation, a remembrance of a childhood happening. Should I write a loving tribute to my Dad or should I write of his influence in my life and what I have become?