This month I’ve taken different direction from what I normally write about. As you know, I try to discuss, explain and help small businesses in this industry move in a positive, forward and profitable direction. Most companies that I get the opportunity to work with are highly motivated and want to help their company reach its next level. They seem to instinctively know and believe that if they are successful in doing so, it will make their company a better place for all involved. They work long hours themselves and they have no problem asking others to work long hours with them. They want the company to get better and they make a lot of promises to themselves and the others that they work with. The promises are both spoken and unspoken. They don’t realize that in their excitement as to how it’s going to be in the future is heard by others as fact. They believe, or at least would like to believe, that they can count on the “promises” made to them and to the company.

For example, an owner in the startup phase of a business will say something like, “Work hard and you will have a place in the company’s future.” To some employees, they take that as a job for as long as they want to be there. They are then quite surprised when the business grows and goes and they are let go at a point in the future because they no longer fit the mold that the company needs to move forward.

A few years ago, Rutgers University released an amazing find regarding the length of time that a business fails in. What they found is that that two-thirds of ALL businesses fail in the first five years of business. The remaining third that did not fail, were tossed back into the race to continue to work to keep their business moving forward and viable. A lot of businesses have family members working in the business. A lot of the times, family members are expected to work harder than non-family members and work for less compensation. This generates a lot of hard feelings for the individual and continues to generate ill feelings inside of the family. 

I’m involved with higher education in business and have always found it to be very beneficial, both personally and from a business perspective. So what I would like to propose is to ask you to participate in the first ever Restoration Family Survey. I believe it will help each of you individually, help your family, help your business and help the industry!

For years it has been known that family-owned businesses make significant contributions to the U.S. economy by generating approximately half of our nations GDP, employing 85% of the private sector and creating 86% of all new jobs. However, despite such contributions, the succession rate among family-owned firms drops significantly with each generation. It is estimated that 35% succeed in transitioning from the first to second generation and the third and fourth generations successfully transition at a rate of 12% and 4%.

On that note, I’d like to introduce Dr. Jacob A. Avila, Business Department Chair, MBA Program Director, Assistant Professor of Management, who along with Dr. Francois Jacobs, are the two sponsors of this family survey out of California Baptist University.

It is their hope that through this study they can collect enough data to advance our understanding of family business dynamics in the restoration industry. They also hope to develop an understanding of the health of family firms in the restoration industry and perhaps find answers to some of the following questions:

  • If family businesses are so important to most economies, why does the succession rate drop so drastically with each generation?
  • What behavioral patterns exist among family owned firms?
  • How cohesive (healthy) are the relations among the family members of family owned restoration firms?
  • How do family members communicate when addressing challenges in the business?
  • How are decisions made?
  • How are generations perceived by family members?
  • Are there areas where specialized training may serve to benefit family members of family owned restoration firms?

The incentive from such a study? That we all learn from it and become better and stronger as an industry. Please take 6-10 minutes to fill out the survey, so that we can have the data to go to the next level of business in our industry.

A link to survey is below: