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INTRO 24, working for family biz

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thechosen1

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Hey y'all,
I don't want to share too many personal details but basically I work for a medium-sized industrial company in Texas that is owned by my family. The company has been very successful but we've been in operation since long before I was born... lots of business owners in my family, grandparents, uncles, my father, etc. Thing is, right now I'm just putting in my 9-5 (we really start at 7 am) and I want to do a lot more than just follow in the footsteps of someone else, without being stupid (like blowing up all my money doing something I know nothing about). Though I have ventured into several micro-businesses, you could say, and made small money.

I had a house of my own the past year, lived in it while remodeling and I sold it for a healthy profit (moved back home because I hate spending money). This basically doubled my net worth.

I've got a solid money system going like MJ talks about in Unscripted (I read a lot of books) but really trying to go fastlane to 100x the size of my portfolio and be able to say I "did it myself" to some extent. I've got great dividend stocks, etc. Thought about rental properties, but using huge leverage to barely make enough COC to replace an AC unit doesn't sound like a great business model.

I know everything about this family business, but of course I'm not thrilled about it and we rely heavily on our "human resource systems," and operate on a project-basis, so every bit of revenue is an uphill battle.

Still, this might just be the best thing I will ever have a shot at, and I'm blessed to have this when so many friends have student loans and can't find a $40k/year job. That's why I'm here, plus the legacy and "why" of working on your family's business!

Anyway, that's my introduction.
 

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thechosen1

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Has anyone read this post?

Anybody here come from a family business background?
 

PeterBoss

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My family used to run a couple of enterprises. I am still part of one, but I am very hands off and not really part of it (not by choice).

I think working to grow the family business as much as possible is great, specially when young. I would give it a couple of years, help the company grow as much as possible and then go on your own once you have enough experience.
Unlike working for someone else, which limits your involvement, when you are working with family, even with highly structured companies, gives you the chance of being involved in a LOT of different areas and processes.

Grow it for your experience, grow it for your family and parents and be thrilled that your work will help the people you care about be better off.

I can't think of anything more beautiful than that.
 

thechosen1

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Thanks, Peter! I agree. I'm torn between dedicating everything to this business, and wanting to explore more on my own. But I know I have a huge advantage here that I would not want to give up for a "normal" 9-5 job.
You said you're still involved in yours - what else do you do now?

I've wanted to buy or start another business, but without quitting my job here (especially for experience and potential to be a part owner someday). That seems to be a pretty limiting constraint for me, since getting an enterprise going takes a lot of dedication.
 

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Hi, welcome. Most of my family members are business owners too, or have been (some sold or retired, etc). One of my two current concerns was started by my dad, and I started acquiring it and making it new again, so to speak, around 10 years ago.

Although the "human resource system" is theoretically less efficient than an automated business of some sort, don't knock it too hard. What you have is an opportunity to learn how to keep one going, and manage it, and importantly, not have to start a new one from scratch. A human resource system is the same as an administration... it's the people and habits that arise, by accident or by design, to keep an organization going consistently. It's also a great starting point for automation... sometimes you may find that a job that takes 10 people can in fact be done with one person plus some computer programs, shop-bots, CNC machinery, etc. Then the question is which is more efficient and gives better results, consistency, less trouble for the owner or managers.

Buying another business is on my list too. Right now, my impression (from a few conversations with business brokers) is that there are plenty of interested buyers in the SMB market, but overall the inventory is somewhat weak and low quality. Maybe that's a problem in the short term, or maybe it's an opportunity, who knows. But I think starting with a going concern is a good idea. It's much easier than starting something from scratch, in my experience. You would think I'd learn :happy:

Anyway, good luck, you're in a good place.
 

Walter Hay

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Young blood from within the family can either make an established business bloom or shrivel up.

I think it is a shame to fail to take up such a priceless opportunity as the one open to you. If you do take it on, be sure to avoid making changes without consulting the older and wiser family members who know the ropes. In many cases there will be resistance to change, so be sympathetic to that. Who knows, you might be in that same position one day.

On the other hand, don't be shy about researching possibilities, and if you do come up with a world shattering idea, setting it out in detail just as you would if submitting your project to a bank for funding.

You know the saying: "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know."

Walter
 

thechosen1

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Thanks Rabby and Jon.
I agree, this is the opportunity of a lifetime so I refuse to leave or move somewhere else! There’s been a lot of scripted pressure from friends, girlfriend etc. to “move someplace more fun” and get a “salary job.” Etc...
definitely sticking with it, for my family’s legacy, and because I’m so lucky to be here.
still keeping my eyes open to further opportunities!
thanks for replying y’all
 

thechosen1

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Young blood from within the family can either make an established business bloom or shrivel up.

I think it is a shame to fail to take up such a priceless opportunity as the one open to you. If you do take it on, be sure to avoid making changes without consulting the older and wiser family members who know the ropes. In many cases there will be resistance to change, so be sympathetic to that. Who knows, you might be in that same position one day.

On the other hand, don't be shy about researching possibilities, and if you do come up with a world shattering idea, setting it out in detail just as you would if submitting your project to a bank for funding.

You know the saying: "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know."

Walter

thanks so much. Definitely learning all I can from my grandpa - he’s the man.
I want to see it continue and blossom, not be the generation that screws it up.
Gotta learn everything available and keep showing up.
 

Jon L

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The main opportunity I see is the ability to learn from seasoned business people who:

1) Care about you (try finding that in the normal job market)
2) Are dedicated to your long term success, and are patient enough with you to help you get there. (try finding that in ANY job market)

You sound like you value this opportunity and are humble enough to take their feedback/learn from them, but also know when to push, too. That's a pretty rare combination.
 

Lyinx

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I'm in similar shoes... dad started the biz year before I was born, because he wanted to be at home with the family (I'm the oldest) so you could say I was literally born into the biz :)

got one weird question... how old are you?
my brothers & sisters were all told to get a job outside of the family (I encouraged it) to get a good work ethic (family does have good work ethic, but you can barely have a parent tell a 16 yr old what to do, they'll get huffy) so they all got jobs outside of the family to help them during that time.

I was just in a class with @Kung Fu Steve , tons of helpful info... maybe if you follow him or check it out, he might sell you a private course or a replay to the 3 1/2 hour course that he just did... but you might need to be an insider to get it? not sure on the details, but he helped a lot of people out (myself included)
 

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Lyinx

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Ha, and advice... you read a lot (similar to me) so my advice is: you need to do stuff... reading is good, but if you never apply it, what does it help?
 

thechosen1

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The main opportunity I see is the ability to learn from seasoned business people who:

1) Care about you (try finding that in the normal job market)
2) Are dedicated to your long term success, and are patient enough with you to help you get there. (try finding that in ANY job market)

You sound like you value this opportunity and are humble enough to take their feedback/learn from them, but also know when to push, too. That's a pretty rare combination.

thank you. I want to do it right. Sometimes I’m impatient, so want to go fast lane faster! Lol

I have a lot of lessons from the old man that I’d like to share on here eventually, might make a thread, but after reading MJ’s books... it’s really all CENTS.

customers want to fill us up with work. It’s a win win! Right? No, grandpa refuses to have one customer generate the lions share of our revenue for the year-too risky. That’s control.

Anyway, this community rocks.
 

thechosen1

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@Lyinx im only 24. I have a degree in mechanical engineering but I don’t consider myself only an engineer!
work ethic is something I value very highly, but also something I need to work on. Every day trying to contribute somehow. I agree about reading and not taking action - I’m definitely an over-analyzer
 

Lyinx

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@Lyinx im only 24. I have a degree in mechanical engineering but I don’t consider myself only an engineer!
work ethic is something I value very highly, but also something I need to work on. Every day trying to contribute somehow. I agree about reading and not taking action - I’m definitely an over-analyzer
I'm 27 - so that gives me a few years on you... but not many :)
 

thechosen1

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I realize I never tagged @MJ_DeMarco because I didn't know how!!
If you read my first post, any comment would be awesome.
 

GoodluckChuck

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Hey @thechosen1. Thanks for sharing your predicament.

I too am part of a family business. I grew up working in it and left and came back many times. The last time I came back followed 2 years after starting my own marketing company. Becoming a partner in the family business early this year allowed me to apply what I've learned to the family bus and double our revenue when compared to the best year ever.

Only you will be able to judge whether or not it's the right move. For me, there is a lot more money opportunity in marketing at the moment because the margins are so much higher, but the family construction business has loads of other perks that are valuable to me right now. My goal is to organize both businesses so I have the option to sell or scale more. I'm also comforted by the diversity in my income during these rough and turbulent times.

Why not just take on as much as you can handle? If you have a bus idea, do it on the side. You already know the fam bus like the back of your hand so it shouldn't be hard to maintain. You'll be able to apply what you learn in the new bus to the old bus. Maybe you'll even find a way to combine the two for something really special.

I think the worse thing ppl can do is sit idle in indecision. Decide on a step and take it. Real decisions only have to be made when you're entering the realm of no return. Most decisions and plans of action can be changed or backtracked if need be.
 

thechosen1

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I'm still having a hard time tagging usernames - is there a simpler way?

Thanks for the reply, @GoodluckChuck

It's nice to hear that others have been in the same boat. That's definitely good advice; I'm one to take it, too. Right now the main other business I have in mind is renovating, flipping, and renting real estate... But I want to get into the online world more, too.

I guess the best thing to do is take action on the closest opportunity.

I'm glad to hear that y'all are doing well and that you've managed to come back on as a partner - that's awesome!
 

Matthew Hinton

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I also work in the family business. My grandfather started an excavating company in 1958. Now my parents own it. I have worked in the company since I was a kid. I went to college and got a degree in advanced manufacturing. I had 3 jobs after college working in factories and hated all of them. These past few years have been a little rough as well. It’s hard to work for your parents.

Their company has so much potential but they are comfortable with where it’s at. It frustrates me but I can understand why they would just want to coast. They make enough to be happy. As for myself, I feel like I’m wasting my most productive years (I’m 28).

I’ve been searching for something else which has recently brought me to real estate. I’ve renovated 2 houses and have one of those under contract at the moment. Im hoping I can use real estate to make my exit out of the family business.

I know it would seem like a waste to turn my back on the business but I will not be happy with myself if I go into my 30’s depending on and feeling held back by my parents.
 
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thechosen1

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I also work in the family business. My grandfather started an excavating company in 1958. Now my parents own it. I have worked in the company since I was a kid. I went to college and got a degree in advanced manufacturing. I had 3 jobs after college working in factories and hated all of them. These past few years have been a little rough as well. It’s hard to work for your parents.

Their company has so much potential but they are comfortable with where it’s at. It frustrates me but I can understand why they would just want to coast. They make enough to be happy. As for myself, I feel like I’m wasting my most productive years (I’m 28).

I’ve been searching for something else which has recently brought me to real estate. I’ve renovated 2 houses and have one of those under contract at the moment. Im hoping I can use real estate to make my exit out of the family business.

I know it would seem like a waste to turn my back on the business but I will not be happy with myself if I go into my 30’s depending on and feeling held back by my parents.

We sound like we're in very similar situations with similar thought processes. I've read some of your threads and really enjoyed them! Following, and will DM if you're up to chat about ideas and plans.
 

Matthew Hinton

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We sound like we're in very similar situations with similar thought processes. I've read some of your threads and really enjoyed them! Following, and will DM if you're up to chat about ideas and plans.
Absolutely. Send me a message anytime. I’d love to help if I can.
 

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Lyinx

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I also work in the family business. My grandfather started an excavating company in 1958. Now my parents own it. I have worked in the company since I was a kid. I went to college and got a degree in advanced manufacturing. I had 3 jobs after college working in factories and hated all of them. These past few years have been a little rough as well. It’s hard to work for your parents.

Their company has so much potential but they are comfortable with where it’s at. It frustrates me but I can understand why they would just want to coast. They make enough to be happy. As for myself, I feel like I’m wasting my most productive years (I’m 28).

I’ve been searching for something else which has recently brought me to real estate. I’ve renovated 2 houses and have one of those under contract at the moment. Im hoping I can use real estate to make my exit out of the family business.

I know it would seem like a waste to turn my back on the business but I will not be happy with myself if I go into my 30’s depending on and feeling held back by my parents.
Just a random guy on the internet here, but I'll chip in (my parents are in similar situation, don't want to lose their income stream)

we had a few good talks with pop and mom - and they see that they want to sell the business over the next 10 years to me and my brother...

so we're buying a small bit at a time, to ensure gradual takeover. Dad is working about 30 hours a week in the business and helps make sure that we don't get sloppy :)

The goal is a majority ownership change within 10 years. We bought 25% (15 and 10, for me and my brother) and will buy more shares as time goes on.
 

thechosen1

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Just a random guy on the internet here, but I'll chip in (my parents are in similar situation, don't want to lose their income stream)

we had a few good talks with pop and mom - and they see that they want to sell the business over the next 10 years to me and my brother...

so we're buying a small bit at a time, to ensure gradual takeover. Dad is working about 30 hours a week in the business and helps make sure that we don't get sloppy :)

The goal is a majority ownership change within 10 years. We bought 25% (15 and 10, for me and my brother) and will buy more shares as time goes on.

This is awesome!! I love hearing about this and it's so exciting that others are in similar situations - very hard to find people like this in real life who want to discuss.

In our situation I definitely could not afford to buy out the business without loans. It's been growing for about 60 years!

Big boss has no plans to retire either - he's going on 80, and he loves it here!

Anyway, this is all a constant learning process.
 
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Matthew Hinton

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@Lyinx

We’ve had a similar talk. Several actually. I like the plan you have to gradually buy the business. I have brought up a similar plan with my parents but they’re not interested. They too want to “retire” in 10 or so years.

The feeling I get is that they want to keep things the way they are until then. I guess it’s the typical scenario of people being resistant to change. If you’ve read the E Myth you may be familiar Gerber's different classifications of entrepreneurs. I feel like my parents would be considered “technicians.” I think this mindset makes it very hard for them to trust me or any of their employees.

“The Technician is the doer. ‘If you want it done right, do it yourself’ is The Technician’s credo. Things aren’t supposed to be dreamed about, they’re supposed to be done.”
 

Lyinx

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@Lyinx

We’ve had a similar talk. Several actually. I like the plan you have to gradually buy the business. I have brought up a similar plan with my parents but they’re not interested. They too want to “retire” in 10 or so years.

The feeling I get is that they want to keep things the way they are until then. I guess it’s the typical scenario of people being resistant to change. If you’ve read the E Myth you may be familiar Gerber's different classifications of entrepreneurs. I feel like my parents would be considered “technicians.” I think this mindset makes it very hard for them to trust me or any of their employees.

“The Technician is the doer. ‘If you want it done right, do it yourself’ is The Technician’s credo. Things aren’t supposed to be dreamed about, they’re supposed to be done.”
Dad is/was very similar. I'm also similar to the technician, but I (and Dad now as well) see the need to employ more people and have systems in place.

Ask Grandpa: "how long do you expect to live?"

next : "do you want your business to die with you?"

If he wants to see it continue after his death, how does he see it going? Most business people will have an idea for how they think it will happen, but you might not know/realize it.
 

Lyinx

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Is your business currently growing? or do you have a lot of 10 yr employees?

if you have a lot of lifers, then the system is most likely not geared to teaching new blood. the old blood will think they can just hire someone to take over, but have no idea how long it takes to switch over.
 

Lyinx

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BTW: have you taught new hires? multiple at one time? was it easy?
now imagine how it would go for them to teach someone (they've had even more experience in the biz, so they will find it even harder to teach)
 

Parks

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I'm sitting in the same boat as you guys if you take a peak at my introduction post, it is frustrating trying to change or introduce new change to a family biz. Hard for them to see the issues as they are used to it and are fine with them.

For me it's a tree service family biz but I'm aching them for a change. Lol
 

thechosen1

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Haha this is awesome, it’s turning into a thread all about family businesses!

Honestly guys I’ve worked every summer here since I was a kid but only been full time for a short while (well I was full time in the summers but not full year). So I guess saying I know “everything” about this business was silly!

I haven’t hired people, interviewed or trained them. At our peak we were barely under the cutoff for “small business” - we have a lot of people and systems. So people are trained but we are somewhat beyond the owners training people directly. I guess we are in the management stage of the E-Myth. Still there every day!

Eventually my dad will probably be the one in charge. But right now we are just working through the 2020 Covid slowdown. It seems like all the big companies have stopped spending money. Things literally trickle down in our industry - it’s very easy to see how the big guys buy and it all flows down through the supply chain.

we need mega corps to invest so they will do projects with us, our vendors need us to do projects, and their suppliers need them to be ordering in bulk.

but if consumers aren’t spending and nobody is traveling, why would you build a new factory or plant or refinery?

thousands of lives and jobs hang in the balance.
 
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