There is no doubt in my mind that the family business is both the foundation of our country and its hope for the future. We have a family business and we do business with family businesses of all sizes, from one-man and one-woman entrepreneurial ventures launched from home to 4th generation businesses such as J.D. Miles and Sons Roofing, Windows, etc. that is area wide. These family businesses all have one thing in common; the family has everything on the line.
A family often starts a business that has grown out of a passion. Someone had a dream and ventured forth with a business. Next thing they knew, the family became involved, sometimes one at a time, sometimes jumping in en-masse! And years later, generations later, they wonder where the time went. When people love what they do and love the people they do it with, work, no matter how hard, feels like play.
Between day one and wondering if great grandfather would be pleased with where they have taken the company, there are lives that have merged with the life of the business. Some of those lives belong to blood relatives, others belong to the "work family." Everyone in a family business knows what this means. It means that those pulling the wagon uphill (both ways) for a family business have become a part of that work family, bloodline notwithstanding.
Just as with any family, there are relationships that mimic siblings, parents and children, grandparents, favorite aunts and uncles. Our business is almost 30 years old now and some of us have been together almost that long. We have gone through weddings and births, separations and divorces, deaths, graduations - everything that goes on in real families. We have history. We have love and joy and sorrow. We laugh and we cry together, we band together in difficult times and celebrate each other's wins.
We believe the family business is the foundation of this democracy and the work families have ingenuity, commitment, integrity. Not everyone has admirable traits, but the vast majority have them. It makes us proud to be a family business and it makes us proud to do business with other family businesses.
Like growing old, it isn't for the faint-hearted. But, like growing old, it beats all the alternatives hands down.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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