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Author: Melinda Sherwood. Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on

February 16, 2000. All rights reserved.

The Family Business: Drew Mendoza

The American family is not a dying institution, and

Drew Mendoza, president of the Family Business Consulting Group

( in Marietta, Georgia, has proof. "Family

business is growing," says Mendoza, "There are between 10

and 20 million privately-held or publicly-held businesses run by


Not only is the family unit still in tact, it’s working well for


businesses, says Mendoza, who teaches "Making Sibling Teams


at the Rutgers Family Business Forum on Thursday, February 24, at

8 a.m. Call 732-3445-7504. Cost: $185.

Mendoza, who grew up in New York and earned a BSW from University

of Buffalo, Class of 1977, studied family systems theory and strategic

planning at the University of Chicago. "What makes family


unique is the overlap of family matters with business matters, and

an overlap of family management and ownership issues," says


"You have a group of people wearing a number of different hats

and asking things like `how do we make decisions on who our successor

will be when choosing between offspring we love or a manager who’s

been here forever? How do we make decisions among our offspring? How

does one sibling terminate a sibling or a brother-in-law?’"

Succession — who’s going to run mom and pop’s shop — can tie

up a business owner’s energy, and even create rifts in the family

or bring a business tumbling down. One way families can work through

that issue effectively is to bring in an outside board of directors.

"An outside board can provide beautiful counsel to the leaders,

but it also takes the issue of succession out of the kitchen, if you

will, and into the board," says Mendoza.

Rather than get preoccupied over succession, owners should focus on

building a long-term business strategy, says Mendoza. "Our


has found that having a strategic plan is a bigger contributor to

the continuity of the family business than having a succession


he says. The elements of such a plan: "Knowing where you’re going,

how you’re going to get the capital, and the process by which you’ll

make difficult decisions."

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