A Family Of Entrepreneurs

by Tom Kurtz

Growing up in a family business was surely a unique experience. I am certain that the simple observation of watching my parents and older siblings respond to the challenges of the business with dedication and perseverance helped to shape my values and work ethic.

As our family topsoil business was growing, I clearly remember my mom, Dolores, our first sales and marketing person (although she didn’t know it at the time, she thought it was about survival), stirring something on the stove while she was explaining to an individual that six cubic yards of topsoil would spread 1,000 square feet, two inches thick.

During the soil season (the end of March through November), my dad, Mel, was always gone before I got up and would come home late at night covered with dirt and dust. My folks didn’t have much time to watch me play little league baseball and things such as that, but I didn’t know any kid, outside of my family, who learned how to drive a truck at age eight. By the fifth grade, I was helping my dad after school and summers working at the topsoil field. It was at this point that I knew I was hooked, and that the family business was right for me. More…

When Family Shareholders Want Out

Too Many Aunts, Uncles, and In-Laws Who Own Stock and Have Clashing Interests and Personalities can Bring a Company to its Knees.
Here’s how to Buy Out Some of Your Family Shareholders to Preserve the Peace.

by Harvey D. Shapiro

Death, it sometimes seems, may be the easiest way out of a family business. With proper attention to insurance, succession, and estate planning, those who leave this veil of tears can also depart from their family firm with limited impact on the business. Other exits are often decidedly more traumatic for the businesses and the individuals involved.

Nonetheless, many family business owners have to realize there inevitably will come a time when some shareholders decide they want to do something else with their time and money. They may want to convert their investment into assets that are more liquid in order to meet other personal or business needs; they may want to diversify their assets to avoid relying too heavily on the company; or, they may find themselves tired of the business–or (perish the thought) their relatives. More…