Only 30% of family business will make it to the next generation. The fact that so many businesses fail to make the transition to the next generation—the usual cause is family strife—means problems not only for the families involved but for the entire global economy.
What can be done in Mitzi Perdue’s book, How to Make Make Your Family Business Last, addresses the issue. She gives practical advice on how family businesses can develop a culture that supports keeping the family business in the family. Her advice can be useful to any multi-generational family. Her I’ve-lived-it experience comes from membership in two long-lasting family enterprises.
Her family of origin began in 1890 with the Henderson Estate Company, a forerunner of the Sheraton Hotels which her father co-founded. Perdue Farms (she’s Frank Perdue’s widow) began in 1920. The secret for the longevity of both families is: neither the Hendersons nor the Perdues left their family’s legacy to chance. Using checklists, activities, stories, and tips, Mitzi shares little-known but practical techniques for teaching members that:
• Family members have a responsibility to something greater than themselves.
• Compromise, including understanding the other’s point of view, is key.
• Membership in a family business comes with benefits but also with the need for occasional sacrifices.
• Elders are responsible for passing along key values and attitudes to the next generation.
Happy, high-functioning business families rarely happen by accident; they happen by design. Using the right knowledge, tools, values, and resources, Mitzi’s book helps families do just that.