Rules To Live By

Starting Early

In the best of all possible worlds, the realization that guidelines are essential if the family wants the business to succeed from generation to generation is enough to get a family working on them. That's what's happening at MCI Products Group, a Plainview, New York-based family business that creates, develops and manufactures new products, ranging from collectibles to gifts and decorative items for clients. Brothers Mike and Bruce Zutler are the second-generation leaders of this company, started in 1970 by their father, Aaron.

"We're thinking about a whole slew of family business questions," says Mike. "Should spouses be allowed to work in the business? (Bruce is married; Mike isn't.) At what point and how will children come into the business? (Mike has no children; Bruce's are young.) Should children be required to work elsewhere first? We'd like to think through the problems before we have to face them."

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This article was originally published in the February 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Rules To Live By.

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