3rd Generation Family Business
Most people cringe at the term 'family business'. They say "how could you possibly do business with your family members and get along at the end of the day?". Not only did I get to work side by side with my father my whole life but now I get to work with my kids everyday as well. It is truly a surreal experience I would not trade for the world.
My son, Brad Factor, started working for the business full time in 2009 and has really transformed a lot of our technology and business practices. He oversees the whole operation. My daughter, Amanda Factor, came into the business full time in 2012 and brought her expertise in marketing, social media, and sales to build the brand and ensure continued growth.
Statistics with family business are quite alarming. Less than 13% of family businesses are passed to the third generation. We are happy that we have surpassed that 13% and hope to have our business reach a 4th generation and beyond.
Here are the key characteristics that we feel can improve the success rates of future generations of any family business:1.There is no job that is above or beneath you.
Just because you work for your family business does not mean you get the fast pass to success. When Bill started at CMS, he had to start from the ground up and that is a trait he instilled in his kids. They started at the company loading trucks and answering phones. On busy days, Brad and Amanda will be out on the warehouse floor loading trucks or out making deliveries. You have to step up when needed and you can't be afraid to get your hands dirty. Don't let your pride or dignity get in the way of success.
2. Create a positive business environment that people want to come to work.
We have so many employees that have been with us for 10, 15, 30, some even 40 years! Longevity is a constant at CMS and we credit that to the small family business atmosphere with an open door policy. When you create an environment that people enjoy working at and love their jobs, that reflects on to your customers and brand as a whole. We hire from within which gives people opportunities to really grow their skills and advance. Many of our employees that work for us have kids that work for us as well. Its a family affair all around.
3. Share the same goals and values.
Honor every account and every delivery/transaction that you get. We truly feel blessed with every delivery we get the opportunity to make. Whether you give us one delivery a year or 12 million deliveries, we treat them all as if it was the most important delivery we have ever had. You don't know what tomorrow will bring and your smallest account can turn to your largest account and vice versa.
4. Learn from past generations.
Brad and Amanda are always listening to Bill Factor. From a young age, they learn how he conducted business and how he handles difficult situations. Hy Factor, Bill's father and the company founder, came into work everyday for as long as he was physically able. He passed away in April of 2015 but he was and always will be their mentor and the face of the organization. He was highly respected and everyone loved to get his advice and hear his jokes.
5. Work harder than any other employee.
Many third-generation owners feel entitled based on the past success of their family's business. They don’t want to go out there and work and get their hands dirty. They take the easy way out and this leads to failure. Nepotism is considered a negative in the business world, and family members need to work above and beyond the regular employee to earn the respect. Respect is earned and not given based on your last name.
6. Draw Boundaries.
It is very difficult for family members to keep it all straight, but successful family businesses know where to draw the boundaries and what is acceptable and what is not.
7. Evolve the business.
The current generation running the company needs to stay open to new technologies and realize the business is always evolving. Technology that was once a really good idea could become outdated after a few years. If we didn't follow this rule, people would still be mailing in their delivery requests and waiting days latter for the horse and buggy.
8. Value family traditions. Brad, Bill, and Amanda Factor go for lunch together almost every single day. If you are at Manny's Deli around1pm, you can usually find us there talking business, politics, or the Blackhawks.
9. Preserve the family reputation. You have to be extremely conscious of how you carry yourself socially as your actions inside and outside of work reflect not only on yourself, but also on your family and brand’s reputation.
10. Trust. You can't successfully run a family business without trust. We have a family business with only 3 family members but everyone has different thoughts and ideas and you have to know that you can trust these people and that every person involved genuinely wants the best for the business.