Specialty Food Magazine

Winter 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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impact for many years to come, affecting future generations. I am currently completing an evaluation of where I see our segment of the specialty food industry in the coming 10 years. At the current rate of change in our society, if I'm not looking 10 years out, we will certainly fall behind. As leaders, it's easy to fall into a routine of reacting to the current market and daily challenges instead of keeping your eyes up and staying focused on "what's next." Only time will tell whether we're doing it right or not, but the team we've put together is second to none. I'm going to stay the course and let the next few generations build on the foundation we continue to lay. Robin Bienemann, entrepreneur in residence, Family Business Program, University of Connecticut Family businesses come in all ages and sizes, and the transitions between generations also take a wide variety of paths. The best transi- tions start with defining success for the family, the business, and its employees, customers, and the community it serves. Defining success can only happen with communication within the family and the management team. Private businesses, especially family businesses, are all about values and value. What are the family values that have been maintained within the business and culture? What is the value of the business in economic terms? It's important to be clear on both when defining a viable future for both the family and the business. The three most common transitions are—next generation takes over, professional management team steps in, or new ownership from the inside or outside. Your family may have the next generation ready to take over and the family needs to understand the 'money'— there are funding sources that can help. If your family doesn't have a generation ready to take over, you can consider a professional management team with family as a board of directors. Or, if neither of those work, then sell to your employees or a new owner. In any of these cases you need to have your financials in order and a solid plan for the coming years. If your family struggles with communication or is struggling with a plan—ask for help. A wealth of resources exist that can help families. Every state has a Small Business Development Center with free advisors (sbdc.com). A wide variety of academic programs exist across the country. These programs offer educational and community programs. Families can work with professional advisors who are trained to work specifically with family businesses. If you're not already part of an industry or business association then consider joining. They often have a network of trusted resources that can help. Julie Gallagher is managing editor of Specialty Food Magazine. Josh Zeldner, nectar director, Z Specialty Food Working with family is the most fulfilling adventure I can imagine. After graduating college, I learned about financial planning, com- mercial real estate, and the hammock business. At some point it hit me that my parents had spent most of their adult lives building our pioneering varietal honey business. When I committed to joining Z Specialty Food in 2010, I knew I was taking on all of it: the products, the sales, and most importantly, my family. I love my family, and there is no other experience quite like working with them in a day-to-day operational capacity. Whether it is a question about which products to promote and which to discontinue, or where we should put that new cabinet, there are always a handful of perspectives to weigh. Our relationships and decisions are founded in the values of respect and appreciation. These guiding values help us make a positive impact on our customers, staff, and communities. My father and the founder of our business, Ishai Zeldner, passed away this past Father's Day of a brain tumor. This changed everything. My father's death brought with it a real and permanent shift in the way decisions are made and carried out in our business. With mortality in sight, we are constantly reminded that our decisions create deep impact, far beyond our family, and even our business. Thanks to the vision of my parents over the past 40 years, Z Specialty Food has finally reached a period of growth in which we are actively designing a new facility that we will move into around January 2020. My whole family, including my mom, sister, and wife, have helped craft and design the future of Z Specialty Food. Stephanie Lindley, CEO and fourth-generation owner, Byrd Cookie Co. Being part of a family-owned business provides incredible opportu- nities, but there are plenty of challenges in dealing with the unique dynamics of a family. It's critical to surround yourself with trusted, experienced advisors who can help you navigate the trouble spots that will inevitably enter the business. Most family-owned businesses will face a similar set of challenges during the succession planning years. Succession planning is not the time to navigate alone. Additionally, succession planning should include your non- family executives. Those are the individuals who will likely be the glue to help bridge the transitions and keep your employees assured that their jobs are not in jeopardy. You need to keep those folks informed and assured that they've invested their time in a solid and stable organization. The goal of my generation is to reposition Byrd to sustainably grow for another 94 years. Decisions made now will have a significant Can you share some advice or best practices for succession planning within a family-owned business? Q: 98 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com specialty food maker

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