Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Are You Smart? Q&A With Author Harvey Deutschendorf


Entrepreneurs and family business owners are taught to focus their time and attention on business and technical skills to succeed. What's missing are the skills necessary to develop emotional intelligence. Leading with emotional intelligence is critical to improving productivity and creating high performing teams. I interviewed Harvey Deutschendorf, author of The Other Kind of Smart, to learn more about why developing emotional intelligence makes entrepreneurs smart.

DM: Why should entrepreneurs care about emotional intelligence? Shouldn't our priorities be learning to sell, project management, strategic planning? What's the value of developing emotional intelligence?

Monday, June 29, 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

A Family Business for People on the Move

Brooke and Les Wilson are franchisees of Two Men And a Truck. The franchise started as a family business, and has grown to an international organization with more than 240 franchise locations. Les started with the company as a mover while in college and worked his way up to franchise ownership. Team Wilson runs multiple locations in three states, with 83 trucks and 300 employees. They are married without children, and are thinking about the future growth of both their family and business. I wanted to know the keys to running a successful relocation company as a family business. Here's what I learned:

Set boundaries.

Secrets of a Third-Generation Family Business Where Families Come to Work

Steven Kraus not only runs a third generation family business, Skyline Windows, but also a business full of families. Based in Bronx, New York, the company was founded in 1921 by his  grandfather, Sam Kraus. David Kraus, Steven's dad, took over the company in 1948. David passed the reigns to Steven, who is grooming his son, Matthew, to become CEO. Steven's  brother and sister also work at the company.

In a time when many companies struggle with employee retention, his family business model has supported a culture where many employees have stayed for more than 20 years and refer their family members for employment. I wanted to know Skyline's secrets to longevity and loyalty. Here's what I learned:

Share your burdens like a family

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Q&A with Poppy Barley


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

We’re sisters, as well as the co-founders of Poppy Barley.

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

Growing up as runners, we constantly struggled to find boots that comfortably fit our calves and wide feet. Then in 2012, I (Justine) traveled to Bali where I discovered the art of custom-made shoes. I was inspired by the concept of having shoes specifically designed for my feet. When I returned from my trip, I immediately shared this notion with my sister, Kendall. We noticed a void in the marketplace and agreed that beautiful, custom footwear should be accessible – and attainable – to anyone with access to measuring tape and the internet. We set out with a mission to create beautiful, made-to-order shoes that would fit better, feel better and live better and a few months later, Poppy Barley was born.

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

4.      What makes Poppy Barley unique?

There are a few key factors that set Poppy Barley apart from other companies, including:

·        The Very First – Poppy Barley is the first fashion company in North America to offer made-to-order boots online.


·        The Transparency – Poppy Barley engages in an open, honest dialogue. We welcome questions about where our products come from, artisan wages, factory conditions, prices, etc. At Poppy Barley, we will always reveal the “why” behind our decision-making. We believe in transparent manufacturingin order to create an elevated customer experience and a better fitting shoe.


·        The Belief – Poppy Barley believes in “Luxury for the People,” valuing craftsmanship, thoughtful design, fair profits and human connection.


·        The Footwear – All Poppy Barley footwear is meticulously and ethically handcrafted with the finest materials and all-leather components sourced within a 22 mile radius of “The Shoe Capital of World,” León, Mexico.


·        The Price Point – Poppy Barley believes in justified pricing. Our footwear is offered at unheard price points in the custom goods industry. This is made possible by cutting out the middlemen in traditional retail models.


·        The Materials –At Poppy Barley we choose only the top materials and methodologies to create our shoes: Full grain leathers--from cow, calf and goat to deer and bison--sourced from a family-run tannery; padded leather insoles; meticulous craftsmanship; made-to-order processes.


·        The Fit – We share a firm belief that “one size DOESN’T fit all.” By providing an easy, multi-step measurement process, Poppy Barley shoes fit better, feel better and live better.



5.      What do you love about family business?

Aging in Idaho: Parenting Tips for Grandparents

As I engage with many older adults around our community, it’s clear many are raising the next generation. Some of you have taken on parental responsibilities, through foster care or adoption. Others are finding all possible points of entry into the lives of your grandchildren to influence them. Don’t grow weary in doing a good work. Some tips may be just what you need to re-energize you as you pursue a rewarding but sometimes difficult role.

Share the gift of routine. Perhaps there was wisdom in dedicating certain days of the week to complete farm and house chores. For example, Mondays were wash days. Many young adults today struggle with routine in a world where there are so many options. We sometimes enjoy the interruptions and tangents that technology and our busy lives provide. Maybe you can show us a better way. Don’t be afraid to establish routines that would help your grandchildren thrive. If your role is more of influence, share your ideas with your adult children to use with your grandchildren.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Supreme Sales Advantage of a Family Business Is the Family Story

Selling your products or services is the lifeblood of any business. The biggest mistake I made in the startup phase of my family business was not making the investment to get trained to sell. I hid in my home office following an online marketing plan. After failing hard, I got the message. I love selling now. I like making money. Sales is my opportunity to share solutions that will make a difference in peoples' lives. When I solve problems, I get paid.
A family business has an opportunity to employ sales strategies in a way that's different from other entrepreneurs. The talents and skills of everyone working together as well as your family story can be your competitive advantage. Here how to sell together:

Paint a family portrait

Jane Grote Abell, chairwoman of Donato's Pizza, started her story on an episode of Undercover Boss episode: "I think the main difference between Donato's and other pizza companies is that we're a family."
She went on to tell the story of how her dad, at age 18 bought, a pizza place with $1,300.  She shared how her dad chose the name Donato's because it means "to give a good thing." Her grandfather wanted him to choose the name Grody. Abell explained that her dad went with his gut, and now the name Donato's translates into how she operates all areas of the family business today.
That story has stayed with me. If I am ever in a city with Donato's, I will buy pizza there and not from another chain.Tell people how did you family business started. Describe for them a time when you worked alongside your family through difficult personal or business circumstances. The power of a well-told story will take you from obscurity to preeminence in your area. Prospects will remember you and forget your competition.

Sell like a politician

You routinely see the spouses of politicians at fundraisers, even though the "other half" is not running for office. Why? Many voters believe they can know and trust a candidate by getting to know their spouse. The same is true in family business, if you're married. Your partner can make or break you.
I asked a successful family business owner about this. His business involves selling contracts internationally, so he makes trips overseas at least four months out of the year. He does not make a trip without his wife. He is convinced that she is the closer. Clients believe that he is honest because she comes across as sincere. Her official role in the family business is human resources, but she transforms into a salesperson when meeting with prospects.
Make sure that every family member who interacts with the public on behalf of your business knows how to sell through words and actions. Like any political family, you risk destroying your credibility because all eyes are watching.
Read more about  this family blog

Monday, June 15, 2015

20 Reasons to Start a Family Business

The best way to build wealth and leave a legacy is to grow a family business. Think of all of the family businesses whose products, services, and generosity you benefit from on a daily basis. Your family name can be added to the history books for creating a better society and uplifting others out of poverty. Here are 20 reasons to start your family business today:

1.Build wealth for generations to come.

 The wealth you generate in your lifetime can benefit future generations. Reinvest a portion of your profits back into your business, your community and other investment vehicles, such as real estate, to ensure future wealth.

2.Transfer family values.

Lessons From a Family Business That Thrives In the Heartland

Lisa Troyer runs Bunker Hill Cheese Co, Inc., .a family business in Millersburg, Ohio. She has 70 full time employees plus more than 200 Amish families that supply milk to make cheese without artificial growth hormones. Her family purchased the business from her Uncle Crist in 1948, but the factory was established by another family business in the late 1890s. Her father, Peter, became a naturalized US citizen in 1957 at the age of 21 and assumed the business from her grandparents, John and Lili.

Lisa Troyer
Lisa has quite the family history and family business. I wanted to learn more about the lessons she's learned. Here is what Lisa shared:

Know 'ourself'

The phrase "know thyself" does not apply to family business. You operate in a unit and the other members of that unit will impact performance and productivity. Her job as a family business owner is to know the strength of each family member, how their skills can improve the business and how each can be used to develop the family business mission.

Lean on your elders

Lisa draws on the experience of her elder family members. "There’s a special measure of confidence when you know that you are loved unconditionally," Lisa explained. Respect the wisdom and experience of parents and grandparents whether they are entrepreneurs or not.  Learn from, and avoid, their mistakes. Lisa treasures the wisdom of her elders while blazing her own path. It gets tricky though, because you don't really get to leave your parents when you're in a family business. She doesn't always agree with her parents, both now in their 70s, but she values the parental bond and tries to honor them.
Read more about this family business

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Who You Must Become to Be Successful in Family Business

The biggest mistake I made in the start up years of my family business was focusing all my efforts and attention on accomplishing goals. You're probably thinking, that's a good thing. I've had successes, and in many ways, broken through barriers for others to follow. However, doing, doing and doing only gets you so far. I study and interview highly successful entrepreneurs and family business owners. The secret to their success is not in the business building itself. It's understanding and remaining true to who they are, and saying to no false identities.

Who Are You?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Lessons From a Family Business 5 Generations Strong

Family business strengthens a family."
No family business owner has more credibility to say that than John V. Evans, Jr., chief executive officer of D.L. Evans Bank. His great-grandfather started the bank in 1904. John hired his dad and next door neighbor, former Idaho Governor John V. Evans, Sr. They worked together for 26 years until a hip replacement made it difficult to continue. He and his three sons are fourth and fifth generation bankers. Today, the Evans bank is Idaho's largest community bank. It survived the Great Depression and all of the economic downturns since. Though Evans family has defied the odds by keeping the business thriving for five generations, John is a humble man who struck me as compassionate about his own family, his
banking family and Idaho. Here are some key lessons he shared on how to become a successful business family.

Start your children early.

His three sons, John III, Jim and Richard, grew up in the family bank. John taught them early that hard work and dedication make a family bank successful. Each son had to sweep the parking lot and pull weeds. They collected trash and were promoted to bank tellers during their junior high and high school years.
John warns family businesses to be careful how their children advance in the company. Hiring your children and grandchildren is one of the greatest rewards of owning a family business but you don't want your employees to think that your children are advancing because of their status. His children had to prove themselves and work twice as hard.

Prepare your relationships for business growth.

John and Karen Evans have been married for 43 years. She worked with  him for 10 years, first as a teller and later as a customer representative before eventually leaving the banking business.
John explained that one of the main problems with family business is that it's difficult to stop working. The work spills over into family life at home and that can strain the relationship. John thinks that smaller ventures may not be as difficult to manage. Business growth demands that you work together, all of the time, and that doesn't work for all couples.
Karen continues to play an important role in his success by managing the home, attending functions and motivating him when times get tough.

Read more about this family business

Prepare your relationships for business growth.

John and Karen Evans have been married for 43 years. She worked with  him for 10 years, first as a teller and later as a customer representative before eventually leaving the banking business.
John explained that one of the main problems with family business is that it's difficult to stop working. The work spills over into family life at home and that can strain the relationship. John thinks that smaller ventures may not be as difficult to manage. Business growth demands that you work together, all of the time, and that doesn't work for all couples.
Karen continues to play an important role in his success by managing the home, attending functions and motivating him when times get tough.

Monday, June 1, 2015

3 Tips for Running a Business With Your Spouse Without Divorcing or Going Broke

I met my husband using an online dating service. He was in Alaska and I was in Atlanta. One of the things that convinced me that our relationship had potential was the fact that his parents owned and operated a cattle ranch.They spent long hours together. His mom nursed calves in the kitchen in between making meals. They would talk all night long about the day's work. It all sounded romantic.
I have spoken with several wives about their marriage and business lives. I learned from them and from my own experience that owning a business with your spouse is not all romance.  It is an adventure though. I asked them about the secrets to growing a family business that doesn't destroy the marriage. Here's what I heard over and over again: