Monday, June 15, 2015

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

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