If your boss is “Uncle Dave” and co-workers are your kids and marketing plans are as likely to be discussed in the rec room as in the board room, well, chances are you’re part of a family business.
This tradition certainly has a rich heritage, particularly in the Miami area, but it also brings unique challenges. Offering advice to family-owned and operated businesses was the focus of “Family Enterprises: Best Practices” on March 21, 2012 at Florida International University (FIU). The event was the latest workshop conducted by the Family Business Forum, part of the Institute for Family Business in the Eugenio Pino and Family Global Entrepreneurship Center, part of the College of Business Administration.
Guest speakers Julie Neitzel and Hunter Wilson of GenSpring Family Offices, LLC, a company working extensively with entrepreneurs and wealthy families, offered the 23 attendees important information, including the “10 Commandments for Family Business Succession” and a comparison of governance styles.
“This was an excellent event, making our family members realize we need to get our act back together,” said attendee Beth Graham Martinez of The Graham Companies, a privately held company founded in 1932 by her grandfather. Today the company owns and manages over three million square feet of industrial, retail and office space in Miami Lakes, Florida.
“Many changes have happened since we formulated a well-thought-out plan many years ago,” Martinez said. “In discussing ideas from the forum, we decided to start communicating with one another more frequently, especially now as the next generation is getting involved in the business.”
Forum offers valuable resource and platform.
Under the leadership of director Jerry Haar, the Pino Center established the Family Business Forum to help family enterprises understand the life cycles, values and culture of their companies.
“Our member-driven forum offers an interactive and neutral platform on which a rich exchange of information takes place between principals of family businesses and FIU faculty as well as advisors and consultants,” said Mercedes LaRue, Family Business Forum director.