By Richard N. Seaman
When starting a business, entrepreneurs are faced with a kaleidoscope of choices. Their commitment to grow a business faces a multitude of challenges. These entrepreneurial experiences are well documented by the many stories of the entrepreneur’s journey through early stage funding, venture capital, private equity, and exit strategies.
Challenges to the entrepreneurial spirit become even more complex when it is a family business, particularly if the entrepreneur wants to have the business survive him or herself and successfully grow into future generations. This vision contrasts sharply with the lifestyle business or “harvest your business” mentality.
To have a vision of growing a small family business into a sustainable multimillion-dollar growing business requires an open-mindedness, culture, and leadership ability of continual change. The organization must develop business processes that support innovation, human capital development, strategic planning, and quality assurance in manufacturing and service.
If the vision is to have the business be multigenerational, additional processes must be created and implemented that support good governance and effective education and stewardship of future generations of family shareholders. These processes recognize the DNA of the organization and the family that drive the sustainability of the family business enterprise.
A Vibrant Vision shares the experiences of the author in his growing their family business after his father passed away at a young age and building the industrial fabrics business into $200 million of annual revenue while at the same time encouraging his children and grandchildren to become stewards of this treasure we call a family business.
"A VIBRANT VISION lays out a path for visionary entrepreneurs to build not only successful, sustainable businesses but also BE a force for good while still participating vigorously in a market-based society."
The Babson Entrepreneurship Executive Project
"A VIBRANT VISION is a compelling call for stewardship and building an institution out of a family business."
The Center for Family Enterprises at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management
"APPLYING THE LESSONS of this insightful, engrossing bookbased on Seaman's own family business experience will greatly increase your chances for multi-generational success."
Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration
in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit,
Harvard Business School