July/August 2023

Issue Title: 
Innovation July/August 2023

In this issue

  • Shift your mindset toward innovation

    Throughout the lifetime of a family enterprise, there are moments when a need or opportunity arises to evolve one or more of the businesses. Perhaps the core products and services have had a long life and there is concern that the value proposition may be compromised, or it is at risk of being eroded by competitor innovation. Or an industry trend may be heading away from the importance of the company’s core product(s) because of changes in consumer preferences.

    8 Entrepreneurial Family Businesses

    Entrepreneurship may not be the first thought that comes to mind when considering legacy family businesses, but today’s NextGen leaders recognize the value of bringing the start-up spirit to their family firms. Here’s a look at eight entrepreneurial strategies that these executives say are making their businesses better.

    Focusing on Product Development

    Is your family business entrepreneurial?

    When I hear the word “entrepreneur,” it triggers images of a trailblazing pioneer with a great idea, unrelenting self-belief and a tireless work ethic. The most successful of these founders become heroes, immortalized through portraits hanging on office walls and legendary stories of their grit and tenacity.

    Change is good

    In1916, Italian immigrants open a bakery, which grows into a thriving, wholesale business through the determination of two subsequent generations. Now, the fourth generation has joined  leadership, and the bakery is facing COVID-19, which knocks out wholesale business to restaurants almost overnight.  Will G3 and G4 be able to embrace the innovation needed to adapt, stay true to their legacy commitment to quality and service, and help the business thrive?

    Leading with purpose


    Generation of family ownership: Fifth. I started in my family’s firm, McKissack & McKissack, at age 12 in 1973. In 1991, while still working for our family firm, I incorporated the McKissack Group in New York City. In 2000 I acquired the family company, then named McKissack & McKissack Architects and Engineers Inc., as sole owner, and soon after closed the Nashville, Tenn., and Alabama offices. That move made me fifth-generation owner.

    Company revenues: $45 million.

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