Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Q&A with

 1.       What makes your business a family business? (w/ spouse and/or children, siblings...) is made up of my father, uncle, me, first cousin

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

 I worked with the company while growing up and started the website while in college. After initially going into investment banking after school, I quit that business to rejoin the family company full time in 2013 as a personal decision. My family all thought I was nuts for doing so.

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

 It was a complete family role reversal early on.  I, as the grandson, transformed the company from a  sleepy business and saved it from extinction.  It went from a status quo business for 75 years and turned it on its head.

 4.       What do you love about family business?

 I get to see my family every day.

 5.       What do you hate about family business?

 I have to see family every day. 

 6.       What's a myth about family business you'd like to debunk?

People always think we are dysfunctional.  The people and relationships can be at times, but things can really work well.  Family members can slot into specific roles and respect boundaries quite nicely.

 7.       What three things have been key to your success?
1)      We genuinely care. 

2)      We don't sit still and strive for improvement. 

3)      We are workers and really roll up our sleeves.

 8.       Would you advice others to go into family business?

 Absolutely, but with eyes wide open.

 9.       What difference has being a family business made in your sales?

 We have always been one, so hard to analyze any lift, but our story is genuine and I’d hope our customers see us as such.

 10.   What difference has your family business made in your community?

 We make it a priority to employ a lot of people in this community.  When we moved 5 years ago to our new location, all of the employees came with us and we continue to hire more people.  Unfortunately, we had a close community in Newark, NJ which had lasted 76 years. That bond disappeared when the city bulldozed us in 2005.

 11.   Would you advise a couple to start a business together? Why or why not?

 We haven't had much experience with spouses in our business so I don’t have a good answer for this one.

 12.   Do you incorporate your children in your family business? Why or why not? How old are they?  What are their roles and responsibilities?

My kids are under 3, but they adore coming to visit, snacking, and going for rides in the warehouse.  Within a few years, I’m sure they’ll be put to work!

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

- Dad and uncle get in around 7 to beat the traffic, and then brag about how much earlier they get in than everyone else.

- Cousin and I get in around 8, and dads have somehow finished their work for the day :)

- Dad sits upstairs with our bookkeeper

- Uncle sits 3 desks down from me

- Cousin sits 30 feet away with customer service

- We mostly do our own things in our own areas

- I will periodically interact with each one of them throughout the day on little things, and then have a weekly review with my cousin

- We interact with our dads maybe once a day to tell a joke or complain about someone in the family

- Dad and Uncle wander into warehouse, sometimes when bored

- Cousin and I mostly sit at our desks nearly the whole day

- Dad seems to leave earlier and earlier as the week goes by

- Uncle leaves around 4 pretty consistently, though he is on vacation a lot

- Cousin and I leave around 5

- Cousin and I work from him a few hours each day in our own roles, sometimes requiring communication with one another

- Last night I went to my cousin's house and our kids took a swim lesson together

- On Saturday night my wife and I went to dinner with my cousin, his wife, and another couple

 14.   Do you think family business should be a priority for others (lawmakers, service providers, college students...)? Why or why not?

Hard to generalize for everyone but it only makes sense if you can function together.  It's a special thing to be able to be with your family at work, especially across generations.  And it's a beautiful thing to carry on a business that a grandparent started.


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