In this issue
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
Last month, having reached the end of my term, I stepped down as a member of the board of trustees of Jefferson Health, a system comprising 18 hospitals with more than 42,000 employees in Philadelphia, including Thomas Jefferson University.
Growingup as the children of commercial fisherman in Beaufort, N.C., both Virginia and Charlie Hardesty always knew a thing or two about good fish.
Here in our nation’s capital, we watch, analyze and help family businesses avoid getting soaked with potentially harmful legislation. Here is an insider’s view of what’s affecting family businesses as Congress gears up for its fall session.GET READY FOR YOUR AUDIT CLOSE-UP