Overhead view of family-owned business Custom Truck One Source headquarters in Kansas City

Fred Ross, CEO of Custom Truck One Source, recently had the following article published in the Kansas City Business Journal. The full article is included below. You can also read it directly on the KCBJ Website (login required).

According to SCORE, of the 28.8 million small businesses in the U.S., 19% are family-owned. Over time, these businesses benefit from different generations running operations together. I know firsthand the benefits of working with family: I started my company alongside nine of my siblings, and we currently have many nieces, nephews and cousins working with us as well.

Family-owned businesses are essential and distinct organizations in the world economy. They operate in every country, and they may be the oldest form of business organization and structure. Family businesses are unusual entities due to their concern for the long-term health of the company over generations, strong commitment to quality in relation to their family name, and humanity in the workplace, where the care and concern for employees are like that of an extended family.

While the benefits to the family may be obvious, there are many benefits for potential employees of family businesses to consider. Here are six of them:

1. Family businesses frequently can provide the opportunity for a real relationship with management. Because of the family atmosphere already in place, the C-suite is invested in the culture of the company and in the well-being of the employees.

2. Family-owned companies are willing to sacrifice for the good of the company. When bad things happen, like the Great Recession, everyone pulls together, tightens their belts and puts money back into the business that you wouldn’t see otherwise. There has to be buy-in from the top down for this to work.

3. When family is your business, failure is not an option. When push comes to shove, employees have to get paid, even when the family doesn’t. The family commits to greater sacrifice for the good of the business and its employees.

4. Employees can have greater trust in management because of the family culture (managers often consider all employees to be family). It is an “all for one and one for all” mentality.

5. Family-owned businesses typically have a set of shared traditions and values rooted in their history. Everyone wants to work with companies that they can trust. I would argue that family-owned businesses beat the competition in that regard because their brands are directly associated with their family legacies and reputations.

6. In a family-run business, employees are more able to enjoy a greater variety of roles.  For example, it’s not uncommon to play to the strengths of an employee or family member and tailor a position to not only embrace their capabilities, but also to strategically place them so their strengths can greater benefit the business as a whole.

During this time of furloughs, layoffs and record unemployment, it is certainly worth looking into the background of the company you might choose to work with. Give special consideration to family-run businesses. They are good for the family and employees alike.