All in the Family
How five Marin businesses thrive while sharing
the same gene pool. BY CARRIE KIRBY
MAN Y FAMILY BUSINESS founders envision passing their enterprise on to their chil- dren and grandchildren — but that dream doesn’t play out for most. Only a third of family businesses outlive the founding generation, and just over one in 10 will be
taken over by the grandchildren. Beyond that? The pool of
survivors shrinks to 3 percent, according to Raleigh, N.C.’s
Family Business Institute.
To move forward together, multiple generations must share
a common vision, and they can’t forget the “business” in “family
business,” says Wayne Rivers, president and co-founder of the
institute. Families will naturally do what they can to keep
everyone happy so that they can sit down together at Christmas,
Rivers says, but “they still have to make decisions about the
business." He warns that many family companies falter because
they lack decision-making protocols.
What is needed to operate a business that your grandchildren can carry forth? We talked to five families with
businesses or roots in Marin about how they have kept Mom
and Pop’s or Grandma and Grandpa’s enterprise flourishing
over the years.