Family-owned businesses are central to the American economy. Approximately 90 percent of American businesses are family-owned or controlled, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Leaders of family owned and operated businesses have a daunting task in trying to be successful now while positioning their organizations for continued growth. Customers seemingly want things faster and cheaper than ever before. New technologies offer great promises but come with much risk if you are on the bleeding edge. Processing all of this can be overwhelming. Business leaders need to see what’s coming down the road, assess their business’ strengths and weaknesses, and take action quickly to remain one step ahead of the competition.
We are second and third-generation family business owners and have weathered these challenges and more throughout our 88-year history. What have we learned along the way?
For starters, we see being a family-run business as an advantage. Our corporate culture is one that places an emphasis on treating employees well and values their contributions. They feel they are not a number and quickly come to understand everyone knows their name and cares about them on a professional and personal level. That approach goes back to when the company was founded in 1927. We have always made it a priority to work with people to help them grow and improve. The company is even known for giving people second chances. So our people-first culture remains ingrained in us to this day.
This translates into longevity and dedication from the employees, many of whom have been here 20 or 30 years. Simply put, if the employees do well then the company will do well, too.
Continuity is another clear advantage for family businesses like ours. The values that serve as the foundation for how our company conducts its business are our family’s values, passed from one generation to the next. Unlike publicly traded companies where leadership often comes and goes, we are here for the long haul. Our culture impacts what we do and how we do it.
Even after we make the transition from one generation to the next, the previous leadership will be there to help when we need it. We can bounce ideas off each other and discuss the business to make sure we are on the right path.
Accountability is another attribute that will help a business withstand the tests of time and ours is no exception. Somebusiness people view their organizations as being there strictly for the benefit of their families. We feel the business is here to benefit everyone that works here. We have to hold family members to the same standards as everyone else in the company.
Along with these tricks of the family-run-business trade, relationship management is at the core of our success story. We function as a team because we see value in that trait of our business’ culture. And after almost 90 years, we’re not only confident in our approach but also enthusiastic about the future.