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?