by Ann Zuraw | Featured Contributor
The lessons I’ve learned growing up in a successful family real estate business are countless. (How you define “successful” is a discussion for another day.) Today as a business owner myself; I realize luck had nothing to do with it!
My family worked diligently to master the complex challenges and intricate details of a successful working family business. They enforced certain conditions and boundaries, created a fair and transparent family board and put business before family to ensure their success.
My family understood that with knowledge, perseverance, and commitment from each family member, they would build a business that would survive for many generations (the company started in 1928). They enforced ethical business practices and made business matters a priority over family issues – this rule was never debated, just a fact.
The real estate development company owned by my family had a simple rule: No individual was to personally profit from the business, and all revenues were reinvested, there were no dividends, no payouts, no loans. All capital gains were to be reinvested to avoid taxation. The long-term goal was to build the company and develop the land.
Looking back at how our family managed the business with an infrastructure, which was instrumental.We evaluated the business performance using investment measures, professional board meetings following Robert’s Rules of Order, and with the transparency of all information. The culmination of the years and generations of hard work and perseverance was the vote sale of the company in 2007.