The Chairman's Corner
by Jay Casey
I hope everyone was able to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with each of their families. It is nice to be able to get together on the holidays and reminisce with the ones we love. For some of us, we have the opportunity to do this every day because we work in a family business. While traveling the state extensively during the last few months, I recognized that probably 90 percent of our membership comes from family-owned and -operated businesses!
Family-owned businesses are the backbone of the American economy, from small businesses to major corporations. In addition, family businesses account for 50 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, generate 60 percent of the country’s employment and account for 78 percent of all new job creation.
What truly drives many family businesses is a sense of connection and identity that often doesn’t exist in larger companies. Family businesses allow family members to feel a unique connection with the businesses they serve and the communities in which they live. In most cases, it’s not just having your name on the side of the truck that creates that connection — it’s much more than that. What really makes a family business different is the pride and hard work it takes to keep that name on the truck. More than 30 percent of all family-owned businesses survive well into the second generation, 12 percent into the third generation and 3 percent operating at the fourth-generation level and beyond.
However, perhaps the most intriguing statistic is this one: By 2017, it is estimated that 40 percent of all family business owners expect to retire, creating a huge transfer of ownership. Unfortunately, most of these businesses have no set plan for this transition and succession.
If you haven’t already, it is important to start talking about your company’s succession planning. And the first step for your company to take may be to develop a current and projected company organizational chart.
As for me, being a 40-something third-generation business owner, succession planning is one of our company’s top priorities. As with any company or corporation, planning is essential at all levels. However, as a family business, it touches us in very unique ways. And at the top of the list is the responsibility to provide for the next generation of families who will depend on us for their livelihood and their futures.
I am proud to be a part of the moving industry and even more proud to be a family-owned business.
As we near the end of 2014 and approach the holiday season, from my family to yours, I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
- CMSA Communicator