Show Me More Than The Money

Show Me More Than The Money

Family Business Leaders Who View Private Equity Firms Only As Funding Sources
May Miss Several Opportunities To Realize Their Firms’ Potential

by Joseph F. Trustey

Family businesses are faring better than many other sectors of the economy. But new data reveal that many companies are not quite as robust as their owners might think.

In raw financial terms, family-run enterprises are remarkably secure right now. At a time when corporate debt levels remain high, many family businesses carry almost no debt.According to the latest American Family Business Survey, average revenues have climbed 50% in the last five years, and almost two-thirds of business owners are very optimistic about their prospects. Many can and will self-fund some growth, and their owners therefore see little reason to bring in outside equity investors.

That’s where their perceptions may work against them.

When they look at private equity firms purely as sources of capital, for example, family business owners overlook golden opportunities to address limitations they may not fully recognize. They may also forfeit favorable ways of pushing their businesses to their full potential. Later in this article, we will look at five ways in which the right relationship with a private equity partner can make a lasting difference to a family firm’s vitality. More…

Family Focus: The Mennel Milling Company

Family Focus:

The Mennel Milling Company

AFamily Focus: The Mennel Milling Company   n interview with the current president of Mennel Milling, Donald L. Mennel and his father the Retired Board Chairman addressing small family business issues such as, succession, competition and family roles.

Since its establishment by bankers in 1886 and through its development, The Mennel Milling Company has overcome typical family business challenges. Succession, competition, and family roles have all played a part in the company’s growth and success.Problems between banking families provided the opportunity for the Mennel family to gain control.Also typical in family businesses, the first job in the company for Donald M. Mennel (D.M.), retired Board Chairman, was emptying coal cars.As his education progressed, he was able to carry feed bags and use the broom in the mill,Due to other family business issues, D.M.’s reign as head of the company really began in 1958.

The Mennel Milling Company is currently the tenth largest flour milling company in the country with nearly $100 million in sales.There are four mills within the operation, located in Fostoria, Ohio; Dowagiac, Michigan; Roanoke, Virginia; and Mt. Olive, Illinois.The business and the Mennel family continue to tackle typical family business challenges. Donald L. Mennel (D.L.), the eldest of Don’s three sons, took over as president of the company when his father retired at age 65 to enter law school–graduating three years later from Ohio Northern University.Another son, John W. Mennel, Executive Vice President, is in the sales end of the business. More…