N&Q: Lessons from a 350 year-old family business; innovation and the next gen...

What can a 350 year-old family business teach us?

A brief interview with Willem van Eeghen, the former head of Van Eeghen Group, a 350-plus year-old family business, provides some insights into why his food distribution and production company has survived so long. All the standard responses are there - commitment to the long term and conservative financial policies. But also some others like the company’s adaptability in terms of ownership and to markets. Willem van Eeghen is also president of the international association of family businesses that are more than 200 years old, Henokiens. Worth a read…

 

Innovation and the family business

The Financial Times ran a story this week about innovation and the family business, which looks at the importance of engaging with the next generation. The article talks about the need for the older generation to give the incoming generation the freedom to put their ideas into action. But not all family businesses are following this principle, says the article, which quoted a piece of research from the Institute of Family Business. The research found most family businesses rarely involve the next generation in strategic decisions on innovation and entrepreneurship.

 

A new book by a family business pro

Joachim Schwass, professor emeritus at IMD, has written a new book. Called Wise Family Business, the book aims to help families in business identify new and better ways of achieving longevity, sustainability and performance, say the publishers (Family Capital hasn’t read it yet). Co-authored with Anne-Catrin Glemser, a research and program development manager at IMD, Wise Family Business develops the idea that family businesses have successfully translated strong identities into strong brands. And are not only perceived as attractive employers but also add meaningful value to the business over generations, say the authors. No doubt the book draws on Professor Schwass' huge experience in the area - he founded the IMD Global Family Business Center more than 25 years ago and is considered one of the leading family business academics.