BY NORM BRODSK Y
Norm Brodsky is a veteran
An M.B.A. in the Butcher Shop When not
entrepreneur. He is laying the
groundwork for big things.
to join the family business; hiring the right
No. 2; and how to focus on two things—the
present and future—simultaneously
I grew up in a family business that I absolutely love. It’s a
butcher shop, and I’m the fourth generation. For many years,
I tried to work with my dad, but we’re both strong willed, and
I decided to follow my own path and went for my M.B.A.
Today, I work for a large financial institution. About four
years ago, I moved back to Detroit to be closer to my family.
I have been able to get more hands-on with Dad’s business,
and now he wants me to buy it. And I want to buy it. The
problem: I make a nice six-figure income that I can’t afford to
give up. I also like working from home, as I do now. My
dream would be to keep my job but buy out my parents so
they’d have some money to retire on. I’d be in charge, but
I’d let them continue to work part time. (My mom still runs
the office.) The problem is, I have no idea how to value the
business, pay for it, expand it, and run it from home.
—Jeff evans, Marketing and OperatiOns
richMOnd Meat packers, richMOnd, Michigan
You always face the challenge
of keeping your emotions from
getting in the way of making
sound business decisions.
Those emotions are especially
strong when you’re dealing with
family issues. I was worried
that Jeff Evans was about to
make a bad decision based on
his emotional attachment to a
business that has been in his
family for four generations.
My specific concern had to
do with Jeff’s idea of trying to
run the family business on a
part-time basis from his home
while keeping his full-time job
as an account executive for a
major financial company. In
my experience, it almost never
works to run a business like
this one—a multigenerational
mom-and-pop that relies on a
personal touch—on a part-time
basis. If you’re not on the scene
full time, seeing what’s going
on as it happens, you miss
things that you should be
factoring into your decision
making. As a result, you wind
up making mistakes that you
could have avoided.