Runnning a Multi-Family Business

Responsibilities And Accountability

For key members of both families. When Tip Top Poultry, a Marietta, Georgia, poultry processor, launched operations a generation ago, the two owners, Al Burruss and Chet Austin, were friends with different yet complementary talents and interests. Burruss enjoyed the operational side, Austin the financial side. Their sons, Robin Burruss and David Austin, who now run Tip Top Poultry, have each followed in their respective father's footsteps. That kind of labor division keeps the bond strong.

Having separate responsibilities and different areas to manage helps ensure that every member gets the respect and sense of personal achievement they need. Although most two-family firms eventually develop a system of accountability, the ones that survive with joint ownership do so because the owners have committed to the company's mission. "When we have disagreements, we talk about fairness-not equality," says Kaloyanides. "[No one] involved with this company sees this as an entitlement. It's an opportunity earned every day through hard work and commitment."

Need more management tips? Check out the section "Managing the family business."

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This article was originally published in the June 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Team Effort?.

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