Monday, October 19, 2015

The Family Values Behind the Business of Hardcore Pawn

Les Gold never imagined that life would change so drastically at 59 years old. He's the author of a New York Times bestseller "For What It's Worth," and television star of an international hit show, "Hardcore Pawn." He runs a family business, American Jewelry and Loan, with his two children, Seth Gold and Ashley Broad (Gold). The Gold family are the stars of the reality series, and are changing the way viewers think about the pawn industry.

The pawn business is multi-generational.

Monday, October 12, 2015

This Third-Generation Family Business Thrives on Service

Greg and Joshua Owen, a father and son team, lead their third generation family business, Tri-Modal Distribution Services. The company is based in Southern California and provides global logistics. warehousing and distribution services to retail shippers. Greg, the dad, is the head coach and sets the vision, while his son, Joshua, oversees the day-to-day affairs of the company.
Bill Owen, Greg's dad, started City Transfer, Inc. in 1947, later City Freight Lines, which he sold to his employees in 1984. Bill started with one truck servicing the Port of Long Beach. He picked up luggage from families returning from vacations and transported it to their houses. Greg remembers sitting in his dad's truck when he was 3 years old. He became president at age 27, making him one of the youngest owners of a major trucking company. He left in 1982 to start Tri-Modal.

I met Greg at the Rotary International District 5400 Conference, where he was a special representative to Rotary International's president. He has an extensive history of service with the organization, and uses his family business to help improve the lives of others around the world. Here are some key lessons from Greg, a coach/dad, running a business with his son.

A coach may be better.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Aging in Idaho: Help for Those Living with Pain

Senior adults facing a terminal illness often endure pain, shortness of breath and nausea. Watching a loved one experience these symptoms hurts.

The Palliative Care Program at St. Luke’s Magic Valley is designed to meet the physical (ex: pain management), emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their families when dealing with a life-limiting illness. Dr. Daniel Preucil is the Medical Director of the Program. In-patient services began on March 16th, and out-patient services will begin in the next few months.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Aging in Idaho: Who You Really Are

The quest for discovering who you are is often left to those who need to make decisions about marriage, family or career. The assumption is that once you overcome an “inevitable” mid-life crisis, you find yourself. I’m not quite sure what the cut off age is in most people’s minds. Do you magically know who you are at age 50? Does the search for “self” stop once you start collecting social security benefits or retire?

Aging in Idaho: Life Lessons for Graduates

In his book, “30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans,” Dr. Karl Pillemer compiled advice from more than 1,500 senior citizens on work and relationships. With all the recent graduations, this might be a good time to discuss life lessons with your loved ones. Whether the young people in your life are starting a new job, moving abroad, launching a business or going to college, the following lessons from Dr. Pillemer’s book are worth reviewing.

Monday, September 28, 2015

This Boutique Father-Son Investment Firm Thrives By Ignoring Conventional Wisdom

Martin "Marty'' Sass and Ari Sass are a father-son team of an investment management firm in Manhattan. Marty started M.D. Sass in his basement apartment over 40 years ago, and now Marty and affiliates employ more than 80 people and manage $7.5 billion for Fortune 500 companies and wealthy individuals. Marty takes an unconventional approach to investing, pursuing targeted opportunities versus broad diversification of assets. Here are some insights that Marty and Ari shared about their success:

Being a contrarian pays off.

How do you go from zero clients 43 years ago to an investment firm that garners top-tier investment performance? Be yourself, even if it means being a contrarian.

Marty referred to "the herd instinct" that many investment managers follow, which is to invest in index funds, exchange traded funds and government bonds. He believes these investments are the wrong direction if you want to achieve superior results, but that that many investment management companies are satisfied with producing mediocre results. Marty believes that his forensic research experience of companies is what sets him apart.
"I have learned over all these years that focusing on companies that you really know well with strong management, buying them at a significant discount from their intrinsic value, and focusing on only a few companies that meet that stringent criteria, is actually safer and produces superior returns with less risk,'' he said. "It's safer than wide diversification."

Marty did not build the business based on the conventional wisdom and has achieved results well above market benchmarks. It's his secret for going from a start-up with no money and no contacts on Wall Street, to achieving success. Ari is fully on board with his dad's approach to being a contrarian in this industry.
Read more about this family business

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Aging in Idaho: Seniors Are Heroes in Intergenerational Communities

Marginalizing senior citizens seems to be the norm, but it’s the antithesis of the way I grew up. In Liberia, communities are often led by elders. Many immigrants and Americans whose parents and grandparents grew up in different countries share a similar experience. Around the world, becoming an elder elevates your status in community, not the other way around. It’s great to see the various socioeconomic models in this country that are trying to give senior adults opportunities to become positive solutions for pressing social problems. An intergenerational community is one of them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Aging: A Plea from Fatherless Sons

One of the most beautiful memories I carry is watching an older white male “adopt” some of my high school classmates. I attended high school in a low income neighborhood, and most of the students were African-American or Latino. I don’t remember his name, but I remember his good works. He lived a few houses down from the school. He would sit on his doorsteps and talk to students when school was out. He did this every single day when the weather was warm enough. The teachers knew and loved him.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Timeless Lessons From a Fourth-Generation Family Business

The Cassim family owns and operates Fashion House based in Johannesburg, South Africa. This family business is celebrating 75 years of supplying textile wholesale to resellers, along with ready made curtains and blankets. Mahmood (father), and sons Abu and Yusuf, shared the following lessons that apply to many family businesses, anywhere.

Planting roots has it's advantages.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Q&A with Cornfields, Inc

1. What is the name of the business?
Cornfields, Inc. (a private label healthy snack manufacturer and producer of the G.H. Cretors and Hi I’m Skinny brands)
Where can we find info about your family business online? What is the city/state?
Waukegan, IL
2. What makes your business a family business? (w/ spouse and/or children, siblings...)
Claire Cretors is the President of the Company and her mom Phyllis is the CEO. Husband J.B. Weiler is Executive V.P. of Sales. Annie Bailey is Claire’s sister and the Midwest Sales Manager, and Annie’s husband Jeff Bailey is the IT Director. The family business’ roots, however, go as far back as Claire’s great-great-grandfather Charles Cretors, who invented the popcorn machine in 1885.
3. How did you come into the business? (transferred, hired by parents? Founder?)
Cornfields, Inc. was founded by Claire’s father, George Henry Cretors in 1991. He was a great-grandson of Charles Cretors, inventor of the popcorn machine. When George Henry passed away in 2004, Phyllis came out of retirement to lead the business and Claire left her job at a DC-based consulting firm to join the Company.  Claire began by learning about all aspects of the business – manufacturing, finance, etc. A few years later, she took over as President and helped spearhead the launch of G.H. Cretors (named after her dad), the Company’s first direct-to-consumer brand.
4. What makes your family business experience unique? How is it different from running a "typical" small business?
Claire Cretors: My entry into the family business was perhaps a bit unconventional. I was not “groomed” for taking over a family business.  In my case, our family was faced with the loss of my father (the Company’s founder) and I didn’t hesitate for a moment to come home and help. I was motived to not only sustain but build upon my father’s legacy. When I arrived, I discovered that the energy within the walls of Cornfields was distinctive and undoubtedly helped drive our growth.
5. What do you love about family business?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Aging: Entrepreneurship or Retirement?

Did you know that some major corporations, including McDonald’s, were founded by adults over age 50? Individuals age 50 and older are developing new business ideas to supplement their income, explore their passions or to transfer wealth to the next generation. Your idea may be the next great success story.

If you were to ask me to describe myself using one word, it would be” entrepreneur.”
Who is an entrepreneur? According to Entrepreneur Magazine, “Entrepreneurs are focused on building and growing an enterprise, whether it’s a brand-new business or transforming an existing company through innovation and making the most of opportunities hidden to others.”

Monday, September 14, 2015

This Family's Business Is Turning Tragedy Into Triumph


Laquita Conway and Aaron Baker, a mother and son team, are co-founders of The Center of Restorative Exercise (C.O.R.E.). This family business was birthed as a result of a catastrophic injury. Aaron was a professional motocross racer who broke his neck during a training accident. That injury rendered him a quadriplegic. Laquita could not find a facility that offered ongoing therapeutic exercise for conditions like Aaron's. She decided to open one that would focus on rehabilitation through restorative exercise for individuals suffering a catastrophic injury or illness.
Laquita shares these insights about building a family business:

Turn tragedy into triumph.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Q&A with founder of Café Prima Pasta

What makes your family business experience unique? Everyone in the family plays some role at the restaurant, whether it is officially, such as my father in the kitchen or unofficially with my brother working on our web site and social media. 

How is it different from running a "typical" small business? With a family business, everyone is deeply invested in the outcome but not for personal gains. In a family business you get to spend time with your loved ones, share an incredible experience and have a lot of fun.

What do you love about family business?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Aging: The Power of Many Cultures

We’re living in a community where there is a mix of cultural identities. There seems to be an intellectual awareness that other groups exist, but in many ways, we are segregated. We have a unique opportunity to learn from each other and solve some of the economic and social problems we face. Many senior adults have the time, social network, resources and compassion to create more unity in the community. The benefits are huge.

Monday, September 7, 2015

This Family Business Sees Opportunity Solving a Big Problem in Education

I'm a huge fan of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. There are STEM education advocates in non-profit organizations and school systems, but what about leveraging business to promote it? Gary and Shaun Tuch own and operate Professor Egghead, a family business and STEM education franchise. They provide real, and sometimes messy, learning experiences as a way to teach science and engineering. Their franchise model is just as creative as the services they offer.

STEM on wheels.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Q&A with Perfecr Bar

What makes your business a family business?

Perfect Bar is family business that’s owned and operated by the king-sized
Keith family. Myself and 8 of my siblings work together across all
departments and facets of the business. We range from 19-32 years of age
to 19 and founded the company in 2005 with the hopes of sharing our family
recipe with the world.

How did you come into the business?

My dad, Dr. Bud Keith created the original Perfect Bar recipe. He was
renowned nutritionist and fitness industry pioneer. In the mid 1990’s, he
was searching for a healthy on-the-go snack for us Keith kids—13 in all. We
hated taking our whole food vitamin supplements, so dad thought he could
hide the taste in a delicious blend of organic peanut butter and honey.
Needless to say it worked, we loved them, and the Perfect Bar recipe was

By 2005, my dad’s health began deteriorating rapidly from skin cancer and
he was no longer able to provide for the family. I was attending College of
the Redwoods and my parents were desperate to make ends meet. As the
oldest, I knew it was going to be up to me to help save the family. I
convinced my mom to sell the only piece of property we owned and used that
money as start-up capital for the family business. The first few years
proved quite challenging, but we persevered, and the rest is history!

What makes your family business experience unique? How is it different from
running a "typical" small business?

I come to work everyday with 8 of my 13 siblings to make and sell the
freshest and healthiest nutrition bars ever created from a recipe bestowed
upon us by our late father. We never in a million years thought we’d ever
be where we are today—an Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies in the U.S.
For us, it’s not about a job or simply a career. It’s about growing,
learning and building. It’s about making our own personal impact on the
world, fulfilling our potential each and everyday.

What do you love about family business?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Q&A with Huy and Van Phan

1. The names, relationship (ex: wife or brother), titles of all family members being interviewed. Names of other members who are a part of the business, but not being interviewed. What is your city/state or Country?

o   Huy and Van Phan (Husband and Wife) – Gilbert, AZ

2. What makes your business a family business? (w/ spouse and/or children, siblings...)

Husband and wife

3. How did you come into the business? (transferred, hired by parents? Founder?)

Our business is a franchised location of The Goddard School. The location was transferred to us when we had the opportunity to buy an existing school to make it our own.

4. What makes your family business experience unique? How is it different from running a "typical" small business?

We really think of the children and families who attend our school as an extension of our own family and that is how we run our business.

5. What do you love about family business?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Is Refugee Labor the New Fair Trade Issue?

Fair Trade refers to just compensation for farmers and workers who produce the ingredients we enjoy in various products. With a Fair Trade label, consumers can identify which products were produced in an ethical manner. The main goal of Fair Trade certified products is to encourage the economic growth of disadvantaged communities in developing countries and to improve the quality of life for farmers, workers and their families. It's conscious consumerism, because buying Fair Trade products makes you aware of the origins of the products you buy. What if those farmers and workers are brought here?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Q&A with Tom's Tiny Kitchen

1. What is the name of the business? Where can we find info about your family business online? What is the city/state?
Tom’s Tiny Kitchen Pimento Cheese based in Memphis, Tennessee. Our website is

2. What makes your business a family business? (w/ spouse and/or
children, siblings…)
It is run by the husband-and-wife duo of Tom and Jill Flournoy. Their son Ross Flournoy is also very involved with the business.

3. How did you come into the business? (transferred, hired by parents? Founder?)
In 2009, Tom was suddenly laid off. At age 61 – and at the height of the recession – finding a new job proved impossible. Never content to sit still, Tom developed a passion for cooking, and started tinkering with his mother's pimento cheese recipe. He began making it and sharing with friends, who were bowled over by its flavor.
Encouraged by the response and in need of an income, he started making small batches and selling at a Memphis farmers' market in May 2011. Word spread fast, and by July 2011 he was selling out every week. Tom’s Tiny Kitchen (TTK) was born.
TTK has since developed a rabid following. It’s now available at Whole Foods in Memphis, at most Kroger Grocery stores in Memphis and DeSoto County and at several local specialty grocery stores. TTK is currently expanding into more Kroger stores in Arkansas and Mississippi and plans to be available in these areas in winter 2014-2015.

4. What makes your family business experience unique? How is it different from running a "typical" small business?
The closeness and intimacy of family make running a family business quite different from running a ‘typical’ small business. The trust, bonds and affection of family make it a more intense — and, ultimately, a more rewarding — experience.

5. What do you love about family business?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Why Companies Getting Tax Breaks Should Help Fight Senior Poverty


Is your town or city experiencing growth? Economic development can be a great gift to residents. The creation of new jobs and the amenities that local government officials offer to attract corporations can increase property values and improve the quality of life for residents. Some officials offer major corporations tax breaks as an incentive to move all or portions of their operations to the area. These tax breaks and other incentives can total millions of dollars for one corporation, while some senior adults in those same communities suffer because they do not have consistent access to food or transportation.

Monday, August 24, 2015

This Family Business Begun in a Basement Has Gone Big Time

Julie Smolyansky, president, CEO and director of Lifeway Foods Inc, is the next-generation leadership of a family business whose co-founders, Michael and Ludmila Smolyansky, immigrated from Russia. Her mother is the chairman, and her brother, Ed Smolyansky, is the CFO and treasurer. Lifeway is the first company to go public by Russian immigrants. The foundation of her family business was bringing kefir, a traditional cultured milk product common in Russia and Eastern Europe, to market in the U.S. The business that was begun in 1986 in a basement in Skokie, Ill., recently acquired a 200,000 square-feet dairy. Because I am also from another country, Liberia, I've been thinking about entrepreneurship and family business as a tool for empowering refugees and immigrants. Julie's story is an example of how a family business is an option, no matter where you're from.

Starting with nothing.

The Roots of This Family Business Reach Back to the Original Popcorn Machine

Cornfields, Inc. is a family owned and operated healthy snack manufacturer and producer of the G.H. Cretors and Hi I’m Skinny brands. Claire Cretors is the president of the company and her mom Phyllis is the CEO. Her husband, J.B. Weiler, is the executive V.P. of sales. Annie Bailey is Claire’s sister and the Midwest sales manager, and Annie’s husband, Jeff Bailey, is the IT director. The family business’ roots go as far back as Claire’s great-great-grandfather, Charles Cretors, who invented the popcorn machine in 1885.

Overcoming tragedy to build legacy.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Daphne Mallory interview with Dr.Jo Anne


Daphne Mallory, Esq. is an Entrepreneur Magazine Contributor, media personality, & international speaker and trainer on Family Business and Real Community Development. She blogs on family business and entrepreneurship education. Billboard Magazine described Daphne as “Engaging Fans… Forging a New Path.” Her work & life have been featured on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, The Dr. Oz Show, Self Magazine, Woman’s Day, Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise & more. Daphne is the talk show host & producer of Family Business with Daphne. She’s also appeared as a guest expert on other television & radio programs, and has written 1,000+ articles for national and web publications.

Daphne is originally from Liberia, one of the poorest countries in Africa. Her father was sent to Oxford University by his company which paved the way for her to attend school in London. She learned to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and leadership skills to survive in three different countries: Liberia, England and the United States. Daphne is passionate about training low-income families, older adults, individuals with developmental and physical disabilities, refugees, and other “invisible” members of communities in leadership and business skills.
To listen to the full interview CLICK HERE

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Benefits of Launching a Family Business in Your Golden Years

The golden years are synonymous with retirement. I collaborate with and advocate for many senior citizens in my community, and the stereotype is that most senior citizens are not interested in entrepreneurship. The idea that older adults can and should start ventures as a viable solution to some of the economic challenges they face seem foreign to my peers and “experts” who want to help.  
When Tom  Flournoy was laid off at age 61 at the height of the economic recession in 2009, he was unable to find a job. He turned to family business. He tinkered around with his mom’s recipes and today Tom and Jill, his wife, own and operate Tom’s Tiny Kitchen Pimento Cheese based in Memphis, Tennessee. Their son, Ross Flournoy, is heavily involved with the business, while their daughter, McKenzie, works for them on occasion. Here’s some advice from Tom for all of us:

Develop strong character traits no matter what your age.

Friday, August 14, 2015

My Interview With Russell Simmons - Spirituality & Business Success

Most entrepreneurs are able to find information on how to build a business. It's easy to drown in too much information about running a small business. At the same time, many entrepreneurs are not achieving their dreams. It's not for lack of knowledge. It's not for lack of effort, in most cases. What's missing?

Can spirituality make the difference in your business? 

I asked Russell Simmons about his recently announced investment in Celsius®, a negative calorie, fat burning beverage that contains no preservatives or artificial flavors, and is low in sodium. Simmons is a highly successful entrepreneur with brands and properties that span the entertainment industry. He also writes books on wellness and happiness, and owns a yoga studio. It's clear to me that Simmons success in business has come from within. There's a correlation between his spiritual practices and his effectiveness in life and in business. Here's his take on spirituality and business success:

Buy what you believe in.

Day 1 ... The Dream of Breaking into TV

"That girl is always talking about becoming a television producer." That is pretty much what my law school classmates remember about me. I have had great adventures in law, from clerking for a State Supreme Court Justice, to working as a prosecutor, to doing a stint as an associate for a large Boston law firm, to working in a free legal clinic for immigrants. I did what I thought I had to do to honor my family and others who provided an opportunity to come to America. Even as a student at Brown, my happiest moments were running WBRU and hosting radio programs and concerts, and interacting with musicians and celebrities. Becoming a lawyer is a golden status for immigrants, and I was sure that I did everyone proud. None of it was for me. I would spend many years repaying a debt that I thought I owed to those I left behind in a war torn country...Liberia.

Then I woke up...

I have decided to be and do exactly what I have always known. I was created to serve humanity by helping in the fight against poverty. My avenue of service includes television production, philanthropy and advocacy. I have created 4 unscripted television shows, and I am pitching them to  networks, studios and production companies.

But I live in Twin Falls, Idaho...

Remember when I said, "I woke up." I no longer live in fear. Now anyone who knows me understands that it's really strange to have Daphne and fear in the same sentence. I have to admit though, I have lived in fear. I have feared "being an outsider to Hollywood", "not having an agent," "not having connections" "living in a rural community, seemingly far removed from where one should be if they want to pursue television." I have had a scarcity mindset...until now.

This post is to encourage you and I, who have dreams of serving through television, to hold fast to the dream and go forward. It is to encourage those of you who have "made it" to spread love, seek collaboration, mentor, be proactive about giving others access.

I will keep a journal on this blog about my journey into television, in written, audio and video formats. My dream is to help make your dreams come true. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

#23 - College Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

College freshmen, Sabya Mallory and Hannah Cameron, ask questions about college and entrepreneurship. You'll learn how to enter college with your eyes wide open so that you can leverage every opportunity to become a successful entrepreneur. You can also download and listen to the episode here.

Daphne Mallory Interview by Jeff Steinmann

To listen to the full interview CLICK HERE

Daphne Mallory is an immigrant entrepreneur and producer, family business owner and philanthropist.  She is the founder of the Daphne Mallory Foundation, and host of "Family Business with Daphne"​ on 103.9 FM KDKI.

She was born in Liberia, West Africa. Her father was sent to Oxford University by his company which paved the way for her to attend school in London after his return, as a child, and alone. She learned to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and leadership skills to survive in three different countries: Liberia, England and the United States.

She leverages the media to tell stories about entrepreneurs as vessels of love, the value of senior citizens, and the power of family business. She writes for Entrepreneur Magazine, The Huffington Post, Times News Magic Valley and Idaho Family Magazine. She appears on television and radio, and speaks at conferences. Billboard Magazine described Daphne as "Engaging Fans... Forging a New Path."​ She has been featured on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, The Dr. Oz Show, Self Magazine, Woman's Day, Essence Magazine, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Brown Alumni Magazine, Black Enterprise, and more.

Her mission is to eradicate poverty through quality television productions and philanthropy. Daphne believes that entire communities can turn around: through family businesses and entrepreneurship education; when economically disadvantaged students can obtain a college education; when we implement Real Community Development goals; and when we honor senior citizens.

She is a member of Rotary International.

Some Awards Include:
***Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the House of Representatives, In Recognition of Making a Difference and Having a Positive Impact on Your Community
***Rhode Island Department of Elderly Affairs for serving the Highest Traditions of the Legal Profession by Contributing Legal Services to the Senior Citizens
***The North Carolina Bar Association: Pro bono work for low income families

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

# 20 How to Execute Community Development Priorities

On last week's episode, I talked about how to set community development priorities for your family business. Today, I share how to execute Listen and learn some strategies that may those priorities to make a difference.

You can download and listen to this episode here and/or watch/listen to the Video


Monday, August 10, 2015

3 Key Agreements Every Family Business Needs in Writing

Family business law is not family law. The latter deals with divorce, child custody, alimony and related issues. Family business law deals with starting, growing and transferring your business. The tricky part is, there isn’t a body of law called “family business law” (although I hope to change that). It’s an intersection of many practice areas, including business law, trusts and estates, property law, securities, non-profit law (ex: for family foundations) and yes, even family law. When looking at legal agreements, you have to borrow from these practice areas and apply them to your family business.

Family business agreement.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Q&A with Fundrise

1) What makes your family business experience unique?

Ben: I worked with my father for 10+ years in commercial real estate development, and then started a new business with my brother Dan in 2009.  Together, Dan and I built a decent-sized real estate company, which almost naturally led into a high-growth technology company, called Fundrise.

Family business is rare in innovation-driven sectors.  Usually family businesses grow out of the opportunity to leverage generational wealth, reputation, and infrastructure, like in real estate, for example. Success in tech depends on a compelling product that solves a problem in a new way. Product-market fit is what ultimately matters. Fundrise is unique in that it sits at the intersection of technology and real estate. Our experience is unusual as we need both a powerful product and a deep network.

Dan: Our father was a pioneer in real estate development in his day, and we’ve continued the same legacy of identifying creative solutions to real estate problems. In our case, we used the Internet to innovate the way real estate projects are financed, by giving individuals the opportunity to participate for the first time ever. We’ve brought tech to an antiquated, slow-moving industry -- we’re doing to real estate what Tesla is doing to the auto industry.

2) How is it different from running a "typical" small business?

Ben: With a family business, every decision has another layer of complexity to consider, like the many sides of a diamond. How will this affect the family? If you are busy or stressed, it’s easy to miss a facet. Work associates come and go, but family is forever.

3) What do you love about family business?

Ben: I love the complexity. It adds more facets to the diamond. Every triumph is richer as a result.

Dan: There is a built-in level of trust in a family business. As we’ve scaled from funding a single, $300K project to dozens of multi-million dollar developments around the country in four short years, this foundation of trust has been critical to our rapid growth.

4) What do you hate about family business?

Ben: The complexity! Managing a cutting-edge, high-growth business means managing complexity -- the family aspect adds another layer to an already challenging business.

5) What's a myth about family business you'd like to debunk?
Ben: Many people will say family business is difficult. Others seem jealous of the leverage family can bring. No matter what, each day is a new opportunity to make good things happen. You have to work at the relationship.

6) What three things have been key to your success?

Mentorship - Experienced advisors and board members are critical to making good decisions and have led us to the place we’re in today -- with more than 50,000 individual investors using our platform to deploy tens of millions of dollars of capital into real estate projects across the country every month.

Contrast & Compliment - My brother and I are different people. I worry about everything, and he is healthfully optimistic. I stress out about driving to the suburbs during rush hour, and he is happy to fly to Hong Kong for a 2-hour meeting.

Serendipity - Obviously you have to work hard to be in the right place at the right time, but it simply amazes me how many good people have come into our lives through the most unlikely of circumstances.

7) Would you advise others to go into family business?

Ben: Yes, but start small. Let it grow organically. You learn a lot of new things about people, even close family, when you start to work with them.

Dan: Absolutely. It’s proven that a business run by a team of family members is more resilient and more likely to succeed than any other kind of company. Not only has the family dynamic helped to get us to where we are today, but it is what will ensure that we continue our hockey-stick growth and outpace the competition.

8) What difference has being a family business made in your sales?

Ben: In the early years, when you’re not sure if you are going to make it, we were able to attract the most well-respected real estate players in the whole country, like Silverstein Properties the owner / developer of the new World Trade Center buildings, in no small part because of the reputation of our family real estate business.

9) What difference has your family business made in your community?

Dan: We started Fundrise so that we could change who had the power to invest in local real estate. Real estate investment has typically worked like a country club, where the price of admission is millions of dollars. We set out to change that and drastically lower the barrier to entry. And, as a result, we have been able to build some pretty cool projects as a result. For example, Maketto, which was the first real estate crowd funded property in the whole country, has 175 individual investors from the community and will be opening this spring.

10) Would you advise siblings to start a business together?

Ben: Yes, but initially as a side business. Buy a building to renovate together. Co-author some articles. First learn what it means in practice before quitting your day job.

Dan: The rapid success of Fundrise, and the fact that we’ve created a base of thousands of individual investors with the ability to fund millions of dollars worth of real estate every month, is proof that siblings can work incredibly well together. We both end up working harder and with greater accountability because of our family ties.

11) Do you incorporate your children in your family business? Why or why not? How old are they? What are their roles and responsibilities? We are very open to incorporating children at our business.

Ben: My kids are 3 and 1 years old. Dan is recently engaged. I would tell our kids, “Go dig ditches for a few years before considering working in real estate with us.” You want them to make their own decisions.

12) What's a day in the life of a family business (share a rough outline of your family and business daily life)?

Ben: Divide and conquer. There is a lot of work to do and ground to cover. A family partner lets you double your workload and move fast. At the most basic level, if we have a critical meeting or conference, we can just sign up as “Miller,” and then sort out later who will attend.

13) Do you think family business should be a priority for others (lawmakers, service providers, college students...)? Why or why not?
Ben: How many companies think in terms of generations? Multi-generational outlook is extremely powerful for taking on intractable, long-term problem

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Importance of Developing a Family Business Mission Statement


I try not to be a party pooper, but family gatherings of any kind are my opportunity to get information. My family lives far apart from each other. Most still live in Liberia, a few in England, and the few of us who live in the United States live in different parts of the country. When I get any of them in a room, I asks questions to document the values, thoughts and ideas that we share. It’s vital for my personal and professional development, but it’s also the building material for my family business mission statement.

 Why a family business mission statement?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Daphne Mallory interview with The immigrant Entrepreneur

Daphne Mallory, Esq., is passionate to support family companies. Because they support their communities. Because it’s not about you, it’s about your tribe.
Daphne is an Entrepreneur Magazine contributor, media personality, trainer and family business expert. Born in Liberia, Daphne was sent to London by her family at the age of eight. Weeks before Liberia’s traumatic civil war, she was the only one who they could get a visa to exit the country. From that early age she knew that she was the first one out to the land of gold and that she was expected to pave the path for others to follow. From an early age she knew that she herself had to survive, excel and advance.
She came to America soon after attended a lower income high school, was the first from her school to attend an Ivy League university (Brown), and received her law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law. She clerked for an illustrious justice, worked as a prosecutor, and practiced business law.
Today, Daphne is on a journey to build wealth for others and leave a legacy. Learn from her expertise, victories and struggles so that you can double your current income and strengthen your community with a family business. Get yourself seriously educated and energized by reaching out to Daphne at
To listen to the full interview CLICK HERE

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Managing Priorities in Your Family Business

The payoff for running a family business is huge. You can transfer wealth for generations to come. It's a perfect vehicle for uplifting others out of poverty. You become the change agent in your community and can make a difference in the lives of many. That's why running one is tough. Add to that multiple and sometimes conflicting priorities with your family and business, and you could feel overwhelmed.

List Your Family Priorities

The first word in family business, is "family." That is your number one priority and your business exists to serve every member. As a family unit, you have many priorities. Some include: academic education, leadership development, ministry service, volunteerism, fundraising, board participation and social development. If you haven't already written a family vision statement,start today. Your vision statement will hold you accountable to choose and implement the right priorities for your family. Once you identify those, list them in order, again, using the vision statement as a guide.

List Your Business Priorities

The same applies to establishing your business priorities. I believe that the most important business document you can ever write is your strategic plan. That plan should include a vision statement for your family business, which will guide the priorities you set for running it day to day. Some include: generating publicity, prospecting, sales presentations, networking, drafting proposals and contracts, serving clients or customers, innovating and more. List your family business priorities in order.

Read more about managing priorities in your family business

Win by Telling Stories

I live in many worlds as an entrepreneur, family business owner, board member and community developer. Each of these worlds has its own battles and opponents, and everyone wants to have their ideas and philosophies dominate. I've studied entrepreneurs who engage in the art of war to see how they win. One simple strategy they use is to tell simple and strategic stories. If you listen to them in interviews, or watch their marketing and sales approach, you'll soon catch on to three or four core stories that they share with everyone, everywhere. Hidden within those stories is a subtle, yet powerful message: "I see you. I hear you. You can trust me. Let's join forces." Whether you want to grow your network, increase sales or raise more money for your cause, you can do the same. Here's how:
I See You
People want to see parts of themselves in you. Why do some millionaires wear t-shirts, "cheap" suits, store department outfits, and jeans to events? It's strategic. They want you to see yourself in them. They want to visually tell the story that they are like you. If you are like them, then you know them. You like them. You can trust them. The result is, you will do business with them. After all, they are just like you. Beyond the visual appearance which is part of the storytelling, are the actual stories they share. You may not hear stories about expensive vacations, large trust accounts, and million dollar deals done on napkins. You will hear stories of rejection, adversity, and difficult relationships leading up to final success. Why? These stories say, "I see you!" Your customers, clients and followers want to know that you have been where they are. You relate to them, or at least understand what they need and want. Develop and rehearse one or two stories from your past that your audience can relate to. Sharing the truth about your journey does not have to be manipulative. It's a gift, and sometimes a very painful gift, you were given to excel in business. Use it.
Read more about how to Win by Telling Stories

Sunday, July 26, 2015

500 words mind set Challenge – Focus

Definition: a strategy in which you say no to everything except your core activities in order to have a competitive advantage

Example:  Noah ...The key here for family business founders is that he did not gain an advantage (in this case the entire world) over night. He had to keep his focus for more than a century!

List of Action Steps and Projects

1. Be  fully present, and complete one task for 50 minutes.
2. Sabya (16): Be fully present, and complete one task for 50 minutes.
3. Samuel (8): Build a Lego project using 100 pieces
4. Grace  (4):  Build a Lego project using 50 pieces
5. James (6):   Build a Lego project using 50 pieces.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Q&A with Two Men and a truck

1.       What is the name of your business?  TWO MEN AND A TRUCK
2.       Where is it located? I operate multiple franchises in the states of GA, NC, and the MD/DC area.
3.       Do you have a website(if so please list it)?
4.       What makes your family business experience unique?  I work with my husband.  He started with the company as a mover while in college at the University of SC (USC).  He worked his way up to franchise ownership.  When I graduated from USC, I worked as a Customer Service Representative during the peak summer season.  The position was intended to be temporary while I pursued a career in my field of study; however, I was drawn to the family aspect of the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK organization and decided to pursue franchise ownership instead. 
5.       How is it different from running a "typical" small business? When starting a small business, we wear many hats and are forced to be somewhat of a "jack-of-all-trades." As a business owner, we are responsible for marketing, advertising, finance, sales, and operations among many other tasks.   But, unlike traditional small business start-ups, Franchising has benefits.  Rather than a trial by fire approach to learning all aspects of business management, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK offered training and guidance to aid in our success.  Combined with our previous experience managing a franchise location, we were able to quickly grow in our new market by building positive team cultures and exceeding customer expectations.   The familial character of our venture introduced unique challenges and rewards. 
6.       What do you love about family business? 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How This Mom Got the Kids to Buckle Up While She Launched Their Family Business

Meghan Khaitan is the founder of MyBuckleMate, an invention and family business formed to keep kids safe and provide a better driving experience for families. Her company is based in Ashburn, Virginia. Meghan runs her family business with her husband, Anurag Khaitan, and three children, Indy, Haley, and Jack (ages 13, 10 and 7). MyBuckleMate is an award-winning seat belt buckle holder that keeps floppy back seat buckles propped up, so that kids in booster seats and older can buckle up by themselves. When contacting her for this story, I felt as though I was talking to another mom, and not a CEO, with a passion and a cause. She shared her secrets to success:

Don't fear integrating family and business life.

Make Entrepreneurship Education Your Summer School

Summertime is perfect for supplementing your children's education with entrepreneurship. Through projects based learning activities, you can teach sales, leadership, communication and emotional intelligence. Whether or not they aspire to become entrepreneurs, these skills will serve them well in life. Here are some ideas for the entire family:

Plan an Event for Charity
The event doesn't have to take place this summer. You can plan it now for the following year. For example, your family might volunteer to plan an annual Gala for your favorite charity. You will learn about event planning, social media, publicity, how to write letters and announcements, cold calling, sales scripts and more. Assign small tasks for your children to complete independently. Allow them to work alongside you to complete larger projects. The key to successful entrepreneurship education is to take the time to explain what, how and why you're completing tasks. Make sure they take notes. Encourage and reward them for asking great questions.

Give a Speech
Find opportunities to do more public speaking this summer. Think about your civic, church, community or social groups. Can your teen present a short presentation about the economic needs of a country that your church sends missionaries to? Can your pre-teen give a short talk about how much an after school program has impacted their life? You may have to get creative and make opportunities for your children that don't exist. If you can't find a live audience, have your children present on video, using a smartphone or video camera.

Read more about making Entrepreneurship education your summer school

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Family Business Dedicated to Empowering Short Men Towers Over Competitors

Jimmy Au's for Men 5'8" and Under  in Beverly Hills, Calif., is a family business that has served a niche in men's wear for over 50 years. Jimmy Au and his son, Alan, run the business together. I had a great conversation with Alan about his family business, and was surprised to learn that behind the business was a worthy cause.

Jimmy Au grew up in a dirt village in China. His father built a mercantile business, and Jimmy learned from his parents how to build a family business.  When Jimmy came to the United States with a student visa, he worked two jobs in college. He sent most of his earnings back to help his family and only kept what he needed to get by. Alan shared this about his dad, "He started looking into doing clothing and made more money doing custom clothing than his other two jobs."

Saturday, July 18, 2015

#19 - How to Set Community Development Priorities for Your Family Business

On last week's episode, I talked about how to set community development priorities for your family business. Today, I share how to execute Listen and learn some strategies that may those priorities to make a difference.

You can download and listen to this episode here and/or watch/listen to the Video

Friday, July 17, 2015

Daphne Mallory Interviewed by Daine Helbig

Join host Dr. Victoria Boyd as she welcomes Daphne Mallory, Esq. an international speaker and trainer that focuses on Family Business and Community Development. Her belief is that Family Businesses are a key vehicle for community impact.

Daphne is originally from Liberia, one of the poorest countries in Africa. Her father was sent to Oxford University by his company which paved the way for her to attend school in London after his return, as a child, and alone. She learned to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and leadership skills to survive in three different countries: Liberia, England and the United States.
Combining that entrepreneurial mindset and her belief in the power of family she now focuses on building Famliy businesses to have community impact.
Learn the key aspects to conquer the family dynamics such as, What is the difference between a family and small business and what are some of the key challenges?
To listen to full interview CLICK HERE

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Q&A with Team Epiphany

1. Basic Info:

Business name: Team Epiphany: Coltrane Curtis, Lisa Chu (wife), Valerie Chiam (cousin)

2. What makes your business a family business? (w/ spouse and/or children, siblings...)

My business, Team Epiphany, is a strategy, event production, new-world public relations, and social media agency with offices in New York and Portland.

 I founded the agency over 10 years ago. Today, my wife Lisa Chu is a managing partner and head of operations. Lisa’s cousin Valerie Chiam, our former communications director,runs new business.

 Team Epiphany’s credo is actually “Family Business” – Artist Faust graffitied this onto the main wall of our New York office in his renowned calligraphy-inspired style – because we consider everyone here family. Most of the team hasbeen with me from the beginning, like:

- Our third Agency Partner, Sky Gellatly, who built our social media division from the ground up.

- Our Senior Strategist Jarrett Cobbsworked closely with me at Marc Ecko, Complex and MTV. We also worked together in promotions in the early 2000s- making connections within nightlife that we still use to conduct business today. He’s been with me since the beginning.

 3. How did you come into the business? (transferred, hired by parents? Founder?)

I am the founder of Team Epiphany, but it is no surprise that I had the urge to pursue brand building, as my father, John Curtis- worked as a marketing executive for over 25 years at J. Curtis & Company, with offices in SoHo and Montclair, NJ. He brought me along to various celebrity events when I was growing up and exposed me to all facets of the marketing business, from Relationship building, to strategy development, to client management. Through my father’s encouragement and guidance, I attended Morehouse University in Atlanta, Georgia and it was here that I began to groom the communication skills first learned from shadowing my father’s work. College also offered me the opportunity to forge my own relationships within Atlanta’s burgeoning music and nightlife scenes and to build my skill for identifying and nurturing powerful cultural movements, which followed me to New York City, Miami and beyond.

 Prior to founding the agency, I served as VP of Marketing for Marc Ecko Enterprises, as well as Editor-at-Large at Complex Magazine, where I worked on marketing campaigns with various celebrities and brands. I parted ways with Marc Ecko to pursue a position at MTV as their first Style VJ, where I interviewed various celebrities on the red carpets at events like the MTV Movie Awards, VMAs and TRL Awards.

 In 2004, I left MTV to foundTeam Epiphany. The agency has grown from a one-man shop to a 70+-person agency that has garnered acclaim on Inc. Magazine’s elite list of “Fastest Growing Privates Companies” annually since 2009. Our client roster boasts some of the most creative brands in the game: HBO, Heineken, Cadillac, Converse, Smirnoff, Nike, Moet, Hennessey, and more.

 4. What makes your family business experience unique? How is it different from running a "typical" small business?

Our office culture is a direct reflection of the culture we belong to. We have a uniquely tight-knit office culture and dynamic that makes Team Epiphany a true family business, despite our explosive growth.

 Our business in general is wholly unique. Our agency does things that no other agency can.(Happy to talk more about this on the phone)

5. What do you love about family business?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Improving Where They Live Seems to Come Naturally to Family Businesses

The impact that many family business owners make in communities deserves our attention and gratitude this Thanksgiving. It takes courage, resources and strength to build a business, work together without killing each other, create jobs and give back.

Running a family business afforded me the time to propose (and it was unanimously passed) the first Seniors Advisory Committee for the city of Twin Falls, Idaho. Senior adults in our community can now make recommendations to our City Council to improve the quality of life for older adults. Here are other examples to motivate all of us to do more: