Third Quarter 2011
FAMILYBUSINESS Official magazine of the
PASSING IT ON:
Insuring Business Continuance
WHAT IT TAKES TO
make it in the
Artisans, manufacturer keep it local
Tips on Hiring Teens (yours or someone elseâ€™s) A Supplement to Banker & Tradesman
Our 100 years means that wherever you are going, we can guide you there.
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Massachusetts Family Business Official magazine of the
Made in the USA Artisans, Manufacturers Keep It Local A husband-and-wife team of artisans works together with second generation distributors to create and market a goal – and a legacy. COVER: JIM DOWD AND HIS WIFE, SANDRA BONAZOLI, CO-FOUNDERS OF BEEHIVE KITCHENWARE INC. OF FALL RIVER.
from the president
Applications are now being accepted for the 2011 FBA Awards for Massachusetts.
insuring the survival of your family business Insurance can help ease transition, and help the business thrive under the next generation.
climbing the possibility tree Your tech problems are this family’s business.
is there a lack of backbone in today’s family business? The most successful family business requires members to push back.
tips on hiring teens Your own or someone else’s.
payroll isn’t just payroll Benefits around by thinking out of the shoebox.
from the president
Summer’s Here, And The Time Is Right – To Apply For The FBA Awards
Official magazine of the Family Business Association. Inc.
101 Huntington Ave., Suite 500 Boston, MA 02199 fbaedu.com
By Edward Tarlow
or many Massachusetts families, summer brings a welcome break from the famously unpredictable New England weather, drawing people out of their homes for vacations and visits with family members near and far. It is an opportunity to bring loved ones together to appreciate all that is good about living and working in Massachusetts. Whether it is a week on the beach, an afternoon hiking, or long hours taking advantage of all the opportunities a busy E DWAR D TA R L O W season has to offer, the Family Business Association encourages Massachusetts family businesses to take some time to complete an application for the FBA Awards for Massachusetts 2011. We are thrilled to have already received our first wave of applications for this year’s FBA Awards program, which will culminate on November 3 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge. These applicants have taken the time to discuss not only the history of their business, but also the great memories and sacrifices that help to form a family legacy. As many of our previous applicants have told us, the most meaningful part of competing in the program can be working with loved ones to closely examine the family business from all angles, including growth, family dynamics and community involvement. The self-evaluation of the application process is not the only benefit of involvement. As finalists, applicants may enjoy free advertising and public relations opportunities in print, radio and television; the prestige of being part of the group of past winners and finalists; recognition of their philanthropic efforts; and acknowledgement of triumph over adversity.
Family businesses face the same difficult challenges every other business endures, while also working against a unique set of personal and professional challenges that non-family businesses could never imagine. Despite these obstacles, family businesses have powered the slow recovery of the United States’ economy and are the backbone of the Massachusetts economy. Family businesses provide significant employment opportunities, revenue generation, economic growth and are also traditionally active within their local communities. If you aren’t part of a family business, you can still participate by nominating a family business! Just follow the simple nomination instructions at www.fbaedu.com. The FBA will send your nominee an application with all the information they’ll need to apply and will accept their applications until 5p.m. on August 19. Be sure to follow up and encourage your nominee to complete the application! While family businesses from Cape Cod to the Berkshires reevaluate their past, present, and future in order to prepare for the FBA Awards for Massachusetts 2011, we at the FBA also have a chance to look back at all that has happened since last year’s awards. It has been a year filled with exciting educational events and webinars focusing on topics as diverse as strategic philanthropy, mergers and acquisitions, and social media. Our exclusive purpose when we formed the organization remains our exclusive purpose today – to educate individuals and the community-at-large on issues relevant to the 5.5 million family businesses that make up the majority of the American economy. Whether the term “family business” describes a large and highly visible financial giant or a small family bakery, Continued on page 19
EDWARD TARLOW IS A FOUNDER AND PARTNER AT TARLOW, BREED, HART & RODGERS, P.C., AND PRESIDENT OF THE FAMILY BUSINESS ASSOCIATION. 4
President Edward D. Tarlow, Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C. Directors Jeffrey S. Davis, Mage, LLC Al DeNapoli, Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C. Brian Nagle, BNY Mellon Wealth Management Vice President Catherine Watson, Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C. Treasurer Richard A. Hirschen, Gray, Gray & Gray, LLP
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Now is the time to nominate! Visit fbaedu.com. 5
Insuring The Survival Of Your Family Business Y By Richard A. McGrath
our business may be successful today, but will it succeed you? Most businesses don’t last past the first generation. Fewer than a third of family businesses survive into the second generation, only 12 percent survive into the third generation and a mere 3 percent make it to the fourth generation, according to the Family Firm Institute (FFI). That statistic may not be alarming if you consider that some businesses are created with the idea that they will be sold or will go public, while many very small businesses are designed to last only until the owner retires. Yet there is a huge gap between the number of business owners who want their children to succeed them and the number that actually do. In a survey of family business owners, Barclays and The Economist found that two-thirds wanted their children to succeed them. Compare the statistics for those that make it to a second generation with those that want to, and you’ll see that half of the business owners who want their children to run their business fail – and the numbers only get smaller from one generation to the next. There are many well-run, well-known family businesses that manage to keep it all in the family, generation after generation, but not every business can be a Wal-Mart, Ford Motor Company or Zildjian Cymbal, the world’s oldest family business, which was founded in 1623. Sometimes a business dies of natural causes. The owner decides to shut it down because there is no one in the next generation interested in running it. Maybe the business has become outdated or overregulated. Maybe the next generation lacks 6
the ability or the commitment to make it work. Often, though, the death of a family business is tragic, because it is either unnecessary or contrary to the owner’s intentions. The owner or owners may not have planned for succession or they may have planned inadequately. They also may have been affected by a major lawsuit or by one of the three “Ds” – death, disability or divorce of an owner. Keeping the Business Alive What makes multi-generational family businesses different? How does a momand-pop business transform into a mom, pop, children and grandchildren business? What can be done to improve the odds of survival? The toughest part, of course, is the transition that takes place right after the death, disability or retirement of an owner. Divorce, a lawsuit, a natural disaster or other
major incident could likewise cause a disruption in business. In any of these cases, a large sum of money is needed just to keep the business operating. A business may be worth a great deal of money, but it lacks liquidity. The need for cash may make it necessary to sell the business, perhaps at a discount to its actual value. That’s where insurance can help. Every business is different and there is no single insurance policy that can protect a business against every risk. Disability insurance, directors and officers liability insurance, employment practices liability insurance and other forms of insurance can help to mitigate day-to-day business risks. But the insurance that will play the most important role in perpetuating a business from one generation to another is cashvalue life insurance. Consider that life insurance can create a “death benefit” worth millions of dol-
Compare the statistics for those that make it to a second generation with those that want to, and you’ll see that half of the business owners who want their children to run their business fail – and the numbers only get smaller from one generation to the next.
lars when an owner dies. If the insurance is owned by a trust, the death benefit will not be subject to estate or income taxes. Funds generated in this manner can be used to address many different issues. For example: Rewarding all children equally. Business owners need to accept that they will not be running their business forever and need to plan for the next generation. Doing so can be complex, as parents need to be honest and objective about the skills, ambitions and work ethic of their offspring.
What happens, for example, if the owner has two children and one remains in the business as the successor-in-training, while the other takes a different career path? Do you leave the entire company to the child who will run the business? If so, how do you treat the other, equally loved, child, who is also an heir? Add more children or, worse still, more marriages and planning for your family can become as difficult as running a Fortune 500 company. The death benefit from a life insurance policy can ensure that cash is available for children who will not receive an ownership interest in the business.
Paying estate taxes. Up to $5 million in assets can now be exempted from the federal estate tax and a marital trust can be used to double that amount to $10 million. Assets worth more than the exemption are subject to a tax of up to 35 percent. Business owners who don’t expect their assets to be worth more than $10 million when they die still have to worry about state taxes. In Massachusetts, which has a top rate of 16 percent, the exemption is only $1 million. In addition, the federal exemption could change in a couple of years, for better or worse, when current legislation expires. Life insurance owned by a trust can provide the cash needed to pay not only estate taxes, but any other tax bills and anticipated expenses. Buying out an owner. Many businesses, of course, have more than one owner. Owners may be partners from different families or they may be from the same family. When one owner leaves the business, whether because of retirement, disability, death or some other reason, the other owners need a mechanism to purchase that owner’s share of the business. A buy-sell agreement is typically used to ensure that surviving shareholders have the first right to purchase the stock of the former owner and to provide the former owner, or his or her beneficiaries, with a fair market price for the ownership interest. Life insurance is typically used to fund the agreement. If the departing owner is still alive, the cash value, rather than the death benefit, can be used to purchase the ownership interest. Because it has cash value, life insurance can be used for practically any business emergency. These are just a few examples. Before taking action, be sure to consult with your business advisors, including your insurance representative, your attorney and your accountant. n This article is written for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice.
RICHARD A. MCGRATH, CIC, LIA IS PRESIDENT AND CEO OF MCGRATH INSURANCE GROUP, INC. OF STURBRIDGE, MASS. 7
CLIMBING THE POSSIBILITY TREE YOUR TECH PROBLEMS ARE THIS FAMILY’S BUSINESS By Christina P. O’Neill
n 1994, David and Catherine Gravel had just had their fourth child, had just finished building their home, and had David’s aging father move in with them. And David didn’t have a job, having just helped sell SelecTerm, the computer-leasing company for which he’d worked for nine years, to GE Capital. It seemed like the perfect time to start a business from scratch. “I thought it would be difficult for him to go back to being an employee” after the sale of SelecTerm, because of the autonomy he had enjoyed as a manager there, says Catherine, now GraVoc’s vice president. She was also concerned that because of the family’s growth, if David did take another secure job, it would be all the harder for him to leave if he were not happy with the employment arrangement. And that’s how GraVoc Associates Inc. was born. It turns out that climbing up the possibility tree without getting stuck out on a limb is a company specialty. The business’ main focus? 8
If it’s an IT problem or challenge, it’s whatever you’ve got. Growth By Osmosis GraVoc Associates Inc., the information systems, information-security and informationtechnology consulting company David and Catherine co-founded with a partner, Susan Vocatura (who left the company in the 1990s), today exceeds $3 million in annual sales and has 20 employees, who service the Northeast, primarily New England. Its proprietary systems include property management, business-process management, health care, and cemetery management, all designed to help clients manage inventory and business processes. It’s headquartered on downtown Peabody’s main drag. And all four of the Gravel children – Brian, Nate, Katrina and Sarah – work there. David Gravel , who holds an MBA from Babson College, also has first-hand experience in the evolution of IT over the last 20 years. His experience at SelecTerm gave him a grounding in both accounting and IT, because the company’s clients included large financial institutions. The challenge: melding the two disciplines together in a way that a non-tech accountant could love. In the early 1990s, IT was still in the hands (and
The Gravel family in their Peabody office. Seated: Company co-founder David Gravel. Standing, left to right: Nate Gravel, Brian Gravel, Catherine Gravel and Katrina Gravel. PHOTOS: CHRISTINA P. O’NEILL
brains) of tech specialists. The technology was not user-friendly; command-prompt had yet to give way to drop-down menus and desktop icons. And memory capacity for a typical computer was a fraction of the capacity of today’s average digital camera CF card. As for outside storage, a 3.5 inch floppy disk held 1.44 megabytes of data. David Gravel had come to believe that there was a market for automated accounting processes among small to midsized businesses. An example of the need: A construction company that used a refrigerator-sized computer that took all night to
process one iteration of the general ledger. To improve such performance, computers would have to be networked. This was a do-ityourself proposition, and customizations were tough. Inter-operability between different programs was relatively rare. If a custom application met 80 percent of a user’s needs, it was considered good. Gravel’s knowledge base grew by osmosis – a favorite word he uses when describing GraVoc’s evolution. He relied on the Accounting Solutions Continued on page 10
Possibility Tree Continued from page 9
Library at first, to determine how many solutions might be available in the accounting field. He soon made connections with experts who advised him on equipment essentials. The network platform he developed used Microsoft Access on the front-end, where data was input. Then came the hard part – convincing accounting firms he could make a network that worked. Once that milestone was achieved, interest in the process spread out to non-accounting firms. The more exposure the company got, the more work came in. The construction company referred a roofing company; that company referred him to a Chinese food company, which referred him to a produce marketer, and so on. And once it built systems for its clients, the systems needed support. “Business grew by not saying no,” Gravel says. “We took what was there.” Creating New Markets Then came Y2K. As the 1990s neared their end, GraVoc’s customer base started changing. In addition to colleges and power plants, banks, concerned about the potential for systems failure, created a burgeoning market for disaster-recovery products and increased storage capacity. Gravel would visit a prospective client for a complementary two-day audit and would find several areas that required work. The client’s network, its information system, information security, and custom development were all disparate disciplines. He addressed all these segments, to diversify the company’s fields of work. If one segment wasn’t going well, others would make up for it. Solving the IT problems of clients has resulted in creation of new markets. GraVoc teamed up with five cemeteries to develop what is now the GraVoc Cemetery Management System. Now used by 14 cemeteries, it’s an electronic database of information that once resided only in books and cards, making it available to management, users, and kin of the deceased. One cemetery, established in 1865, came to GraVoc with records that dated back only to 1989 on an old Unix database that only represented a fraction of total interments. A major scanning and data-entry initiative got all the records on a system that mimicked the original Unix database, making them all accessible for the first time. 10
David Gravel finds time to engage in community affairs, as well as running the business. He’s currently a sitting City Councilor-At-Large in Peabody.
Basic IT support for financial institutions is a staple. Six years ago, Haverhill Bank, the state’s oldest co-op bank, contacted the company seeking help for more timely resolution of network problems than their existing provider could supply. The bank’s auditor recommended GraVoc. Within a year of that first call, Haverhill decided to give the company all of its IT business, through GraVoc’s Information Security services. “They’re our first call,” says Patrick Dwyer, executive vice president and treasurer. “They understand our needs.” GraVoc helped the bank pick a vendor for a new phone system, and helped with a software upgrade. After a merger, for which system integration took place over a weekend, GraVoc helped the bank reopen the next Monday without a glitch, Dwyer says. Enter The Second Generation Catherine Gravel, who encouraged her husband to start his own business rather than seek a secure job, worked in the medical field until starting a family. She then started her own home-based seamstress business, and became actively involved in the business when the youngest child, Sarah, entered grade school. As the Gravel children grew up, the first contact they had with the family business was cleaning the office on weekends, which they describe as “the proverbial rite of passage.” That chore currently falls to Sarah, who does data entry as well. Nate Gravel, now director of information security, was the first of the second generation to join the company, in 2004, going full time in 2008. He worked in the office on winter and summer breaks. Nate holds a
bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in Spanish, and served as a guest lecturer in Latin American studies at Salem State College. He originally thought of GraVoc work as a temporary engagement until he could find a teaching job. But once he did so, he found reality was not what he had expected. The reckoning point, he says, was teaching a course in Latin American history. The course was taught in English, and he realized that many students were taking it because it was seen as an easy credit. “I had passion for the material,” he says, “but nobody else did.” He’s now fully engaged in an essential part of GraVoc’s business, conducting research for information security: risk management and compliance, IT assurance, and audit. He has obtained certifications of CISA, CISM, CRISC and MCP. Brian Gravel, the oldest of the second generation, took a completely different path. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Quinnipiac University, and worked in the media industry for nearly a decade. He co-founded DivergingSoul Media Production in 2006 with Matthew Molk. However, it became clear that film and music weren’t going to be their bread and butter. One-third of their work was referrals for web and media services from GraVoc clients. “We took on every project we could,” Brian says, developing websites that can be found efficiently through search engine optimization. DivergingSoul was acquired by GraVoc in 2010, but kept its name. “It was a good move strategically for us,” Brian says. DivergingSoul has a studio and a green room in the GraVoc building, and Molk is now an associate in media.
Katrina Gravel joined the firm in 2010 after graduating from Colby College with a bachelor’s degree in English. She’s an associate, and started out doing the filing and data entry that Sarah now does. She found that she enjoyed the work and that there was plenty of it. After discussion with her parents, they agreed to bring her on board as a full time employee in the fall of last year. She focuses on marketing, social media and community outreach, and is elemental in creating the company’s website and blog – “putting my English degree to good use,” she notes – and learning the HR duties of payroll processing, billing, benefits and more. She schedules part-time employees for projects, and this spring, developed a summer internship program for two college students, who will work with staff. A Business With Community Roots The town of Peabody can be misleading if one’s only view of it is the tech valley driveby on Route 128. It’s a blend of old and new. Drive into the heart of town and you’re on a surprisingly busy Main Street full of early
20th century buildings. Revolutionary War history nests cheek by jowl with the North Shore Mall, one of the country’s first outdoor shopping centers, which opened in 1958. (A Revolutionary War-era grave was moved during its construction, and the mall ownership subsequently created a monument to the displaced patriot. Ironically, perhaps, Peabody is not a GraVoc Cemetery Management customer.) The Rotary Club is active in Peabody, and Catherine Gravel is an active member and past president. There’s a new YMCA, for which DivergingSoul created a comprehensive fundraising video in spring of 2009, and GraVoc is a big supporter of activities of the Peabody Education Council, of which David Gravel is chairman. He also served eight years on the Peabody School Committee and is currently a sitting city councilor-atlarge. As an alumnus of Salem State College, he is now a member of the school’s Center for Entrepreneurial Activities Alumni Advisory Board. He says the company’s three main charitable endeavors are fighting cancer – his mother died of it when he was young; im-
migrants, drawn from his nine years’ experience at the Massachusetts Department of Education’s Migrant Program, working with the children of migrant farmers and fishermen; and improving living conditions in Peabody. He credits Catherine with being the prime mover behind the community efforts, and notes that Katrina has taken over much of the work associated with the Peabody Educational Council. It’s clear that David Gravel is proud of the accomplishments of the second generation. “The part that’s amazed me the most is how comfortable they are in front of CEOs and presidents,” he says. “Business is so ingrained in our family, it’s hard not to become part of it,” says Nate Gravel. He notes that the company’s anything-you’ve-got approach to client solutions has offered employees an abundance of opportunities to increase their professional comfort zones. “We use what we know and leverage it against what we don’t know,” he says. n CHRISTINA O’NEILL IS EDITOR OF MASSACHUSETTS FAMILY BUSINESS MAGAZINE.
ARE YOU PREPARED FOR WHAT’S NEXT?
The time to pass control of your family business to the next generation will be here before you know it. Has your accountant helped you prepare for a successful transition? Are you ready for what the future will bring for your children? For yourself? With more than 65 years of experience in such issues as business succession, tax planning and family compensation, we can help make the transition to the next generation smooth and sure. Call Richard Hirschen at (781) 407-0300 to see the kind of guidance you should be getting from an accounting firm.
CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS VISION • DIRECTION • SUCCESS Westwood, Massachusetts 781.407.0300 www.gggcpas.com “Sharing in a vision and providing direction so our clients can achieve success.” 11
THE WORK BEHIND
‘MADE IN Peter Benson, vice president at B&J Manufacturing Corp., shows the components of Beehive’s manufacturing process: Pewter ingots, a circular rubber mold to pour the pewter figurines, and a cup prototype. The one he’s holding is a Beehive design. PHOTOS: CHRISTINA P. O’NEILL
Soldering on: Jim Dowd at work.
THE USA’ TWO SOUTH COAST BUSINESSES STRIVE TO SUSTAIN A GOAL AND A LEGACY By Christina P. O’Neill
Small-business artisans offering custom-designed products face the constant balancing act of making quality products and making a profit margin that will sustain their business. So do their suppliers. The husband-and-wife team of Jim Dowd and Sandra Bonazoli founded Fall River-based Beehive Kitchenware Co. in 1999. It offers high-quality home, kitchen and baby items. Many of them are in pewter, made in small batches in the U.S. – in fact, by another family-owned business, second-generation B&J Manufacturing, in nearby Taunton. B&J produces giftware for companies much larger than Beehive. Many of them are wholesalers, wellestablished in the giftware industry. B&J also manufactures museum repro-
ductions, custom trophies and corporate-gift products. Both Beehive and B&J Manufacturing have been in constant problemsolving mode during a difficult economy and have come up with new ways to do things to respond to changing demand. Both companies are profitable even in this economy, but are constantly challenged to remain that way. “We’ve had to scramble,” says Dowd. “We felt strongly about making high-quality products with material integrity.” Both Dowd and Bonazoli hold MFA
degrees in jewelry and metals. They segued into architectural metalwork for a couple of years, but decided they wanted to sell items that they themselves designed. Their first foray was copper craft items, but those turned out to be labor intensive, so they switched to pewter, the main content of which is tin. But over the last 12 to 18 months, the price of tin has skyrocketed. Beehive responded by ordering pewter in bulk quantities to get efficiency of scale from a pricing standpoint. Continued on page 15 13
TOP LEFT: A savvy marketing campaign has gotten Beehive Kitchenware national attention. An example is a placement of these pewter measuring spoons in the February 2011 issue of Oprah Winfreyâ€™s O magazine. TOP RIGHT: Sandra Bonazoli at the work table. LEFT: Beehiveâ€™s products include both pewter and ceramic housewares, shown here in the workshop.
‘Made in the USA’ Continued from page 13
Last year, Beehive raised prices out of necessity, between 10 to 15 percent. While its products have a perceived value higher than their mass-produced counterparts, “because they are functional, there’s a limit to what people are willing to spend,” Dowd says. Beehive’s gross sales have increased year over year since 2008, with 2009 sales up 18 percent over those of 2008, and sales in 2010 up 28 percent over 2009, Dowd relates. However, margins haven’t kept up during the recession and nascent recovery. The challenging economy has also been a factor. Things are picking up now, but during the recession, a customer who had spent $100 on a hostess gift in better times would only spend about $50. Changes in retail tastes have also created challenges for boutique shops. Department stores feature designers affixing their names to brand specialty lines of home goods, a marketing strategy once the province of boutiques. Initially, Beehive only sold wholesale, but that market has changed since its founding. The line of baby products introduced two years ago “was a great shot in the arm for us,” says Dowd. The urge of a giver to offer something special to a loved one is now coupled with the safety factor, which is steering customers more toward items made in the U.S.A. “When they think about those products going into a baby’s mouth, [people] are willing to spend a bit more for that. That’s been a great addition to our line, and we are able to maintain a decent product margin,” Dowd says. Five or six years ago, Dowd and Bonazoli watched the growing outsourcing movement of manufacturing and wondered if they should also go that route. But businesswise, such a move would create a different model from what they were interested in. Over the last two to three years, the “Made in U.S.A.” pitch has caught the ear of more buyers who are looking for domesticallyproduced items, Dowd says. The Buy Local Ideal The South Coast region of the Massachusetts, and neighboring Rhode Island, share an industrial heritage as a fertile center for jewelry craftspeople and manufacturers. Taunton, 20 minutes upland from Fall River, garnered a world reputation as the so-called Silver City because of the presence of Reed & Barton and many other long-term fine metalworking companies,
Developing new designs and products is essential, says Dowd, as is maintaining relationships with existing customers while seeking new customers. manufacturing primarily hollowware and flatware in both sterling and silver-plate. During the early to mid-1970s, the outsourcing movement began for higher-volume, lesser-quality silver goods, and today there are many empty factories along I-195 in Fall River. Reed & Barton, a nationallyknown seller of fine ornaments, flatware and housewares, was one of the last major players to outsource its manufacturing business overseas. B&J, which had produced silverplated products for Reed & Barton before the outsourcing, embarked on an aggressive re-pricing campaign over the past two to three years, according to Peter Benson, B&J’s vice president, and the company won back some low volume and high-volume Reed & Barton items by matching overseas prices and providing higher quality coupled with better service and delivery. B&J Manufacturing was started by Peter Benson’s father, Horace Benson, in 1946, after his return from naval military service. He concentrated on men’s jewelry until the mid-1960s, when tastes changed, and the company transitioned into small giftware manufacturing, using the same fabrication and finishing processes as for jewelry. “It’s the same process,” Benson says. “We just use bigger tools.” When next generation got involved, Benson and his two brothers took the business into larger giftware manufacturing. “Fortunately, we had my dad to teach the basics. We learned a lot along the way.” B&J’s employee count of 35 today is far below the 150 person workforce of the 1990s, but it has held its place in the industry by taking on the manufacturing operations of other U.S.-based brand-name companies. In addition to Reed & Barton’s manufacturing, it has manufactured giftware products for Lunt Silversmiths, after having acquired the latter’s machinery, which is now used exclusively to manufac-
ture for Lunt. Other brand-name customers include Tiffany, Gorham, Towle, Lenox and Oneida. B&J also turned its excess plating capacities into an electroplating service to companies that require it to manufacture parts, but lack the capacity to do it themselves. Local manufacturers have the advantage of quick turnaround. Last year, Beehive received an order from Saks Fifth Avenue for holiday ornaments in September that they needed shipped in mid-October – want-ityesterday in the world of retail holiday orders, which are usually executed in the summer months. Luckily, B&J Manufacturing had already finished its holiday busy season when the order came in, and was able to meet the demand. Cross-Marketing Beehive’s website carries an impressive list of retailers – and also press coverage in national home and lifestyle magazines, including an item feature in the February issue of Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine this year. The sales side is another challenge. When Beehive started selling directly to customers, it encountered pushback from wholesalers. Dowd and Bonazoli established a policy of pricing their direct sales the same as retail prices, and encouraged customers to support the closest local store. “It gives people the option, if there’s a shop around the block, they can get it there,” Dowd says. Beehive recently teamed with a bookbindery in Pawtucket on a group marketing project for a recipe journal the bindery had created. In a ‘paired’ email to each other’s customers, the two companies combined the recipe book with a Beehive measuring spoon sets. “We got responses from some of their customers that hadn’t heard from us, and vice versa,” he says. Developing new designs and products is essential, says Dowd, as is maintaining relationships with existing customers while seeking new customers. Toward the latter aim, Beehive is exhibiting at trade shows in different regions and in new, but tangential markets, such as the National Stationery show. Dowd cites the symbolism that objects hold. One Beehive customer still has a gift his father gave him for Christmas one year – and that customer thinks of his father every time he uses it. Of Beehive’s objects d’art, he says, “We want as many people as possible to use them and enjoy them.” n
CHRISTINA O’NEILL IS EDITOR OF MASSACHUSETTS FAMILY BUSINESS MAGAZINE. 15
Is There A Lack Of Backbone In Today’s Family Business? By Wayne Rivers
wenty-two years ago when we started our work at The Family Business Institute, most of our business inquiries came from junior generation family members complaining about their parents, who were reluctant to let go of the family business. While that trend has ameliorated somewhat (many of those family businesses have now moved from the founding generation stage to the sibling partnership stage), we still get our share of younger folks complaining about their seniors. When I was a younger man, I thought there was a tragic epidemic of narrow-minded old people who couldn’t see the forest for the trees, refused to deal with reality, and prevented their hardworking daughters and sons from leading their family companies. Now, with a lot more gray in my beard, I wonder if I had it completely backwards. It could be that the biggest problem in intergenerational family business succession isn’t the reluctance of the senior generation to let go, but rather the lack of courage among younger generation family members who refuse to persistently assert themselves! (Disclaimer: The Family Business Institute is not advocating the “violent overthrow”
of family business authority and decisionmaking from one generation to the next. This isn’t Tunisia or Egypt!) What we are advocating is that junior generation family business members develop their courage, assert themselves in a positive way, and undertake a process of reasoned engagement with the senior generations in their lives. Here are some examples of recent inquiries to The Family Business Institute: A 42-year-old president of his family business is wrestling with how to deal with a mentally ill sibling who also works there. He consults his 78-year-old father, the founder of the business and owner of one-third. The president has a reasonable, well thought out action plan for moving the situation forward, but Dad vacillates from day to day on the right course of action.
In fact, Dad was to have a critical meeting with the mentally ill son last week. He lost his nerve and, in essence, gave the son yet another chance. The president, even though he knows exactly what he should do, will not take action. He’s going to “wait and see” what happens next – again. A 54-year-old in the real estate business calls and rambles for an hour about how his 82-year-old father won’t give him any responsibility in the family business. He says he has been miserable for the last 10 years, his marriage is falling apart, his grown children don’t respect him, and, at his age, he doesn’t have any business alternatives in his life. He has gone to Mom and the family business’ advisors to try to create a lobbying group to appeal to Dad, but it has been ineffective. He doesn’t have a plan for what to do next. A 52-year-old has been running the day-to-day operations of his family company for some time. Dad, 78, has been semi-retired for about six years, but still controls any part of the business he chooses to at any given time. The son’s two primary issues are: 1) his pay is artificially low because “someday all this will be yours,” and 2) his sister’s pay is the same as his even though she is a college professor, has no real job at the firm, and hasn’t darkened the doorway of the office in ages. He bitterly says to us about his father, “I can’t wait for that old man to die!” But he isn’t ready to take issue with Dad’s directives. In the examples above, and many others which trickle over our transom on a monthly basis, the common theme is that the younger generation doesn’t effectively confront the senior generation in a well designed process of reasoned engagement. They wait until issues become too much to stand, and they blow up which, of course, causes Mom and Dad to blow up. There is heat, frustration, tears and anger, but there is no path for successful resolution and no concrete steps towards improvement. Courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk, danger, uncertainty or intimidation.
Courage allows people to overcome adversity and difficult circumstances. It means carrying out one’s own vision in a concrete way. It is our opinion, humbly submitted after decades of observing family businesses, that courage is often lacking among successor generation family business members. A few years ago The Wall Street Journal called looking for a story. They specifically
wanted to write about junior generation family members who had “thrown out” their predecessors in a family business “palace coup.” We tried to help them with their story, but in looking over the hundreds of family businesses with whom we had dealt over the years, we could only find two instances which evenly remotely approached the storyline they were trying to establish. Continued on page 18
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Lack Of Backbone Continued from page 17
An amazing fact leaped out at us: in the two instances where younger generation family members successfully and decisively stood up to domineering seniors, they were the two most financially successful family businesses with whom we had ever dealt. One son had taken a company with $10 million of revenue at the time of transition to a $850 million powerhouse. The other son had taken a small manufacturing company which did less than $5 million in annual sales to a company a few years later which was doing between two and three times that amount in net profits! Were these two gentlemen as successful as they were simply because they stood up to their domineering fathers? No. However, they could not have carried their family businesses to that kind of success had they not had the courage to assert themselves and their leadership. Their parents, brothers, sisters and nextgen family business candidates could not have prospered in terms of their minority ownership if these two gentlemen had been less courageous 20 years ago. Their entrepreneurial passions needed to find an outlet, the family business was the right conduit, and they made their intentions known and clear to all around. A common trait among all entrepreneurs is courage. No one who lacks courage will have the faith and confidence necessary to embark on the uncertain path of entrepreneurship. Furthermore, senior generation family members admire seeing courage in other people including – especially – their offspring. When we describe courage, we don’t mean foolhardy faux bravery or taking ridiculous and unnecessary risks. We mean the kind of courage that instills people with faith, resolve, persistence and dedication. If it’s a fact, then, that younger generation family business members don’t assert themselves in the kind of courageous ways necessary to facilitate intergenerational transition, then what should they do? What’s the prescription? Here is a
A common trait among all entrepreneurs is courage. No one who lacks courage will have the faith and confidence necessary to embark on the uncertain path of entrepreneurship. short tutorial on how to have a difficult conversation with an assertive person – in the case of family businesses, an assertive person who happens to be not only your boss, but also your mother or father: • Make the decision to stand up to the person(s) and embark on a process of reasoned engagement directly, oneon-one, and alone. • Prepare. Write down the problem(s) you need to handle and your wish(es) for the outcome(s) from the discussion. • Plan and write out a list of points you need to make to support your goal. Use facts, reason, and evidence wherever possible. • Prepare yourself for the likely objections, disagreements, or reactions you may expect from the other person. As you write down the objections, consider how you will handle them in a reasonable, calm manner. • Prepare yourself for what you will do if the meeting goes awry. Are you willing to, as one family business owner told us years ago, “put your keys on the table” and walk out the door? Are you willing to deal with your mom’s or dad’s anger for a period of time and endure the silent treatment? Are you willing to endure siblings possibly questioning your motives? Are you willing to endure in-laws coming to your spouse, getting him/her involved, and trying to lobby you indirectly?
What are your alternatives? • Arrange a specific time, place, and duration for the meeting. Stick to the agenda you’ve created while honoring other people’s wishes to add to the agenda. But don’t get distracted, and don’t get drawn into side arguments. Stay focused. • Be persistent. The first meeting probably won’t end up in a successful conclusion or resolution. Schedule another meeting with a specific time, place, and duration, and continue the process of reasoned engagement. A component part of courage is persistence, so steel yourself for the need to come back and address your issue(s) as many times as necessary. Entrepreneurs and senior generation family members respect courage universally. While they may not vocalize it this way, one of the reasons family business owners are often reluctant to let go of running the family company is that junior generation family members don’t exhibit the kind of action-oriented courage that they would ideally like to see in a successor. Stand up for yourself using sound preparation and persistent reasoned engagement, and you’ll be doing a service not only for yourself but also for your parents, siblings, employees and customers. n
WAYNE RIVERS IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE FAMILY BUSINESS INSTITUTE, INC. FBI’S MISSION IS TO DELIVER INTERPERSONAL, OPERATIONAL AND FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS TO FAMILY AND CLOSELY-HELD BUSINESSES. HE CAN BE REACHED AT 877-326-2493, INFO@FAMILYBUSINESSINSTITUTE.COM, OR ON THE WEB AT WWW.FAMILYBUSINESSINSTITUTE.COM REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION. 18
FAST By C. Forbes Sargent III
Tips on Hiring Teens
iring teenage employees can be a cost-effective way to supplement summer staff. But employers must also consider certain nuances associated with employing a teenager to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and to ensure a safe and pleasant work environment.
Work Permit Employees under the age of 18 must obtain a work permit before starting a job. A work permit application, issued by the local school superintendent where the applicant lives, must be completed by the prospective employer after an employment offer is made, signed by the teenager’s parent or guardian, and for 14- and 15-year-olds, must include a doctor’s completion of the “Physician’s Certificate of Health” section. The employer must keep a copy of the issued work permit on record at all times during the teenager’s employment.
Hours Federal and state laws restrict teenage employees’ work hours. Employees aged 14 and 15 may not work more than 40 hours per week, eight hours per day, six days per week during the summer (July 1 through Labor Day) and only between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Employees aged 16 and 17 may work up to 48 hours per week, nine hours per day, six days per week, year-round between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on nights preceding school days and between 6 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. on others. Restaurants and racetracks are allowed certain exceptions based on when they stop serving patrons. Notably, all teenage employees require direct adult supervision after 8 p.m.
From The President Continued from page 4
our goal remains to support family businesses and recognize their accomplishments through educational events, webinars and the award program. Last year, we received more than 400 nominations for the FBA Awards 2010 program, and we are on track to exceed
Machinery/Equipment/Safety/ Type of Work Massachusetts law restricts the type of work teenage employees are permitted to undertake and the types of equipment or machinery they may operate. Employees ages 14 and 15 are, among other things, prohibited from working on ladders or scaffolding, working in amusement places (such as bowling alleys), and from performing any baking activities and operating certain appliances. Employees ages 16 and 17 have fewer restrictions, but are still prohibited from many hazardous jobs, including work-related driving of any vehicle (with the exception of golf carts in certain circumstances), working 30 feet or more above ground or water, or using most powerdriven tools and machinery, including meat slicers. A complete list is available at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s website: www.mass.gov/Cago/docs/Workplace/teenguide_final.pdf.
Harassment Teenage employees are protected by the same anti-discrimination and anti-harassment statutes as adult employees, and an employer may be held liable for workplace incidents. Interactions between young employees close in age, characterized by familiarity or youthful rapport, may cross the boundaries of appropriateness or may be interpreted as harassment. An employer should implement a training program and a clear policy regarding discrimination and harassment.
Employee Status Although often transient, teenage employees are “employees” within the meaning of federal and state tax and labor laws. Employers must apply the same hiring standards as when hiring an adult employee for a permanent position, including withholding and verifying that the employee has authorization to work in the United States via the I-9 form. n C. FORBES SARGENT III IS CHAIR OF THE CORPORATE DEPARTMENT AT SHERIN AND LODGEN LLP.
those numbers in 2011. The FBA could not grow without the support of a diverse group of corporations, chambers of commerce, trade associations, educational institutions, civic organizations and support from family businesses. With the support from these groups, our awards program and educational offerings get bigger and better every year. Between work and play this summer,
carve a bit of time to evaluate your family business history, goals, and community involvement. For applications, nomination forms, and more information about the FBA Awards for Massachusetts 2011, please visit our website, www.fbaedu.com. We look forward to the opportunity to recognize all that Massachusetts family businesses do for our towns, our state and our country. Have a wonderful summer, and best of luck! n 19
Payroll Isn’t Just Payroll BENEFITS ABOUND BY THINKING OUT OF THE SHOEBOX
hallmark of a successful business is one that automates repeatable data processes. And no administrative operation repeats like payroll. But payroll is not an isolated business activity. It affects many other areas of most businesses – employee benefits and human resource concerns such as hiring and termination, for example. The more integrated payroll functions are into these related arenas, the more efficient the business – and the more likely it is to survive to be passed on to the next generation or sold as a going concern.
“The dynamics of family businesses are unique because they have their own set of challenges and interfamily relationships,” says Jason Maxwell, president of Beverly-based MassPay Inc., which offers payroll, human resource services, and property and casualty insurance to small business clients. Then there’s size of the company, a critical determination of where a company falls in the hierarchy of scale that state and federal governments use as yardsticks. Full-time equivalent employees are measured by dividing total quarterly payroll hours by 500. If the answer (quotient) is equal to or greater than 11, that translates into 11 or more full-time equivalents.
To illustrate the interrelatedness of payroll and other HR functions, MassPay’s recently-formed, separate business entity offers property & casualty, commercial, auto coverage, and employment practices liability. It also offers support for workers comp reporting on a pay-as-you-go basis. Companies that use this service don’t have to pay upfront premiums for workers comp, nor do they have to compile payroll records for an audit. Each pay period, MassPay sends the client’s gross payroll and worker classification to the insurer, and at yearend, the information is already compiled, and payments made reflect the actual amount owed. Companies need to be conscious of Continued on page 22
FBA 2011 Webinar Wednesdays DON’T MISS THE NEXT FBA WEBINAR: WEDNESDAY, JULY 27, 2-3 P.M. July 27
Diversity of Thought: A Valuable Component of Family Business Governance
A dynamic panel will provide broad and valuable perspective regarding the importance of Diversity of Thought in governance and strategic decision-making in family businesses. This panel will feature David Grossman, co-president of Grossman Marketing Group; Leslie Murphy of Murphy Consulting and former chair of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; and Stephanie Sonnabend, CEO of thirdgeneration, family-controlled public company Sonesta International Hotels. A SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR FIRST FBA WEBINAR WEDNESDAY CONTRIBUTORS: Understanding the Tax Implications of Selling Your Business Mike Tetrault, Wolf & Company
Non-Qualified Retirement Plans Jeffrey Hart, Tarlow Breed Hart & Rogers and Bennett White, The Kelliher Group
Philanthropy & Your Family Business Josh Baron, Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise, and Aviva Sapers, CEO, Sapers & Wallack
Social Media – Is Facebook Right for Your Business? Kristin Sundin Brandt, Sundin Associates
Webinars that have already been held are now or will be accessible on the website of the Family Business Association at www.fbaedu.com/webinars 20
Employee Benefits: Healthcare and Qualified Retirement Plans Herb Daroff and Jim Bianchi, Family & Business Advisory Group Peace of Mind: Do Your Lifestyle Strategies Bring You Piece of Mind? Stephen Franson, Franson Family Chiropractic and Bonfire Health, and Margery Piercey, Wolf & Company
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Out-Of-The-Shoebox Continued from page 20
their entity type, when compensating teenagers who are children of owners of the company. Payments to minor children are not subject to either FICA (Social Security and Medicare taxes) or FUTA taxation for businesses that are operating as sole-proprietorships or single-member LLCs. On the other hand, a corporation wholly owned by a parent (a parent person, not a parent
company, in this instance) would have to withhold FICA taxes from child’s salary. Maxwell recommends that an employer consult with a tax attorney or CPA to determine the best way to compensate a minor child. To show the legitimacy of tax deductions, it is important to keep proper payroll documentation on file. That’s where the importance of interfacing time and attendance systems and accounting software with the payroll system reduces the need for human inter-
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Herb Daroff, J.D. CFP® James Bianchi, CLU, ChFC James S. Wolfson, CFP®, CLU, ChFC ® Shaun Erickson, CFP Scott Falk, Timothy M. Duffany Managing Partner
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vention and helps build a more efficient company. Issues that arise are compensation of the youngest generation of family members; the need to fairly treat non-family members; and the need to strike a balance between non-family members and the youngest generation. Companies have to establish a reward system and a real focus on human resources and open communication within a company. “The more open, candid discussions people have, the less those issues impact companies,” Maxwell says. The most successful rewards programs are based on hitting attainable goals, he notes. They should be a way to create a “win-win” for the employer AND the employee. Rewards could include financial bonuses, performancebased stock grants or options, or company lunches. Maxwell suggests that a family business have a team of experts in place that specialize in payroll, legal, human resources and benefits. To that end, companies should develop an advisory board, to ensure that they have the right processes in place. Key players include CPA and legal professionals in addition to the payroll and HR functions. “It’s critical that business owners make sure they’re not positioned to be on an island,” Maxwell says. n
BEVERLY-BASED MASSPAY PROVIDES SMALL- AND MID-SIZED BUSINESS OWNERS A FULL SUITE OF SERVICES TO SUPPORT THEIR PAYROLL, INSURANCE AND HUMAN RESOURCES NEEDS. MASSPAY IS A SPONSOR OF THE MASSACHUSETTS FAMILY BUSINESS ASSOCIATION.
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The winners have been chosen.
now it’s time to celebrate. Women of FIRE Awards Luncheon Monday, august 15th, 11:30 – 1:30 | hyatt Regency Boston
Carol Bulman Jack conway & co., Inc.
F i re
Finance | insurance | real estate
Andrea Daskalakis Massachusetts housIng InvestMent corporatIon
Amy Tierce FaIrway Independent Mortgage
Boston prIvate Bank & trust
Hope Aldrich eastern Insurance group
Amanda Strong colony realty partners
Joan Parsons rIeMer & BraunsteIn, llp
Pam Goodman Beacon coMMunItIes developMent
Jennifer Pinck pInck & co.
Recently, Banker & Tradesman set out on a quest to find the best and the brightest women from the Massachusetts FIRE (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) sector. With the help of B&T readers, we had no shortage of nominations, but a very difficult decision. In the end, we chose a baker’s dozen – 13 brilliant, innovative leaders who are more than deserving of the title Women of FIRE. These 13 accomplished professionals will be honored on Monday, August 15th at the Hyatt Regency Boston with an awards luncheon featuring keynote speaker Cathy Minehan, former President & CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and incoming Dean of Simmons College School of Management. Please join us as we salute the achievements of the first ever B&T Women of FIRE.
To purchase tickets, log on to www.bankerandtradesman.com/womenoffire Questions? Contact Barb Dimauro at email@example.com or 617.896.5321
Mary Lentz Mccall & alMy
M. Susan Elliott Federal hoMe loan Bank oF Boston
Barbara Boylan skanska usa
Keynote speaKeR cathy Minehan
In this issue: the challenges of manufacturing in the U.S.A. Two family-owned firms – Beehive Kitchenware Co., a first-generation artisanal...