Fed up with the corporate rat race?
Maybe it's time to consider starting a Mom-and-Pop
Ardis Burford, a copywriter for Burford Company Advertising in
Richmond, Virginia, has to remind herself to call her creative
director and boss by his name, Doug.
"If we talk to clients and I say 'Dad,' they're going to roll their
eyes," says Burford, who, along with both of her siblings, works
for Mom and Dad at the family ad agency.
The Burfords aren't alone. Running a family business represents one
of the most enduring Ameri-can dreams, and each day, thousands of
cubicle- bound corporate workers, closet inventors, young
entrepreneurs, and middle-aged ex-managers take a stab at that
dream with a spouse, child, sibling, or parent. In just the past
five years, Americans have started more than 3 million family
businesses, says Dr. Joe Astrachan, Wachovia Chair of Family
Business at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.
Harvard Business School notes that 80 percent of the world's
businesses are family-owned, and the family company is becoming
more prevalent. When family businesses succeed, they can take their
place among some of America's most powerful companies. Family-run
businesses account for half of the nation's gross domestic product
and nearly 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies, Astrachan says.
Think Ford, Wal-Mart, Anheuser-Busch.
"The advantages of starting a [family] business aren't always about
money," says Astrachan, who edits the Family Business Review, a
scholarly journal devoted to family-business trends and research.
"You decide when you work and when you don't. You have the ability
to be authentic when you want to be."