THE SUCCESSFUL FAMILY BUSINESS: A Proactive Plan for Managing the Family and the Business

Edward D. Hess

(Praeger, 2005)

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Over 80% of the businesses in the United States are family-owned and managed. From the corner deli or barbershop to global empires in brewing, media, and cleaning products, family businesses embody the entrepreneurial spirit that drives innovation and economic growth and that represents the hopes and dreams of millions for independence, self-sufficiency, and wealth. And yet the track record for entrepreneurial businesses is poor: over three-quarters will fail during the first five years and only 10% will survive a decade. Family business statistics show that fewer than one-third pass succesfully to a second generation, often the result of insufficient planning. Drawing from numerous in-depth examples (both positive and negative), Edward Hess offers a fascinating glimpse into the dynamics of family business management and specific strategies to promote the health of the enteprise.

A comprehensive guide, The Successful Family Business covers the spectrum of topics from creating a family values statement and code of conduct to resolving conflicts among siblings to managing transitions in leadership and the potential sale of the business. Other issues include: defining perks and benefits (for family and non-family members), working with the board of directors, and going public. Hess concludes with a series of operating rules that apply to every family business and a listing of practical references and resources.



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“Hess argues that the business and the family are overlapping living organisms, and in order for both to thrive, the family business must develop a proactive process for defining and communicating roles and goals. He gives advice on everything from resolving conflicts among siblings to working with the board of directors. Readership for the book includes all those involved in a family business.”

Reference & Research Book News Review

“An engaging, action-oriented book for family businesses both large and small. There’s no substitute for the experience Ed Hess brings to his subject. From my 20 years of working with family businesses in the real estate industry, Ed Hess’s observations, operating rules, and sensitivity to the issues involved with operating and growing a family business should be welcomed by a variety of family business leaders.”

– Jeffrey A. Scott
Managing Director, Real Estate Corporate Finance, Wachovia Securities