Since leaving the corporate world finance area of publicly held companies, my most enjoyable experience has been working with, assisting, and serving the closely held family owned business. I love the challenge of arising every day and thinking of ways to assist these business owners in growing the profitability of their company. There are many reasons for this enthusiasm but let me give you three.
- Their motives are pure. By this I mean they are not trying to play ” the earnings game” to impress someone up the corporate ladder. There is no corporate ladder to impress. Instead, I have learned their motives can be such things as building security for their families, giving to charities they believe in, and leaving a legacy that benefits not only their families, but the communities in which they live.
- They have a genuine concern for their employees. These business owners know they would and could not succeed without the loyal dedication of their people. They do not look upon their employees as stepping stones or objects to be used for their personal benefit but instead want their people to succeed and look for ways to help their workforce grow. Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, said it well when he said, ” a company can grow without losing its passion and personality but only if it is driven not by profits but by values and people (Hess,141).”
- They deal in reality. When I meet with these business owners to review ” the numbers “, they want the answers to these questions. Where does my company stand in all critical financial areas? Does this mean we are on track? If not, why not? Where are we headed and why? What can we do now to ensure a solid financial future? As Edward Hess observed in his book, Smart Growth, when answering the question as to why private company CEOs were more aware of and concerned with the risks of growth than public company CEOs, ” could it have something to do with the fact that private company CEOs have invested their own money in their business and in most cases have invested a significant portion of their wealth (Hess,138)?”
It is extremely refreshing for me to work with these companies. They are an inspiration and motivate me to strive for excellence in a competitive world.
* Hess, Smart Growth