How Family Business Values Inspire Exceptional Service
By Mike Jarrett
Would it surprise you to learn that family businesses comprise 90 percent of all business enterprises in North America? Large, publicly held corporations have traditionally been viewed as the backbone of America’s economy, but it is privately held, family companies that are instrumental in keeping the economy running. Family-owned firms are more inclined to focus on people – clients and employees – who are the lifeblood of the business, whereas public company stakeholders tend to fixate more on the bottom line, especially during times of upheaval. The board of directors may concentrate more on profits, capitulating to shareholder expectations and interference, and implementing short-term decisions based solely on increasing stock value.
The advantage of being a privately held company is the opportunity to focus more on the client’s journey and experience, and the well-being of employee and vendor relationships. Employee engagement, open communication, and transparency are highly encouraged. Workers who believe that management sees and appreciates them feel empowered, particularly in crisis situations, to serve clients at a higher level. Family-owned businesses tend to make long-term decisions that benefit the entire organization and set the stage for future growth and success. It’s a wholistic approach to business that bears out when you look at successful family-operated companies in the United States: Cargill, Giant Eagle, Mars (as in M&M’s), and Menards, to name just a few. Well-known and respected Ohio family-owned companies include: Discount Drug Mart, GOJO, Kokosing Construction, Sandridge Foods, and Vitamix.
The Conway Center for Family Business, which provides education, networking, and support for family-owned businesses in central Ohio, describes them as “America’s Economic Engine.” According to The Conway Center’s website, family firms generate 64% of the country's gross national product, account for 62% of national employment, and 78% of new job creation. Family businesses tend to put clients and employees first, emphasize social responsibility, and have strong internal cultures. A study noted on the site found that family-owned businesses have a stronger company culture and score significantly higher on worker motivation and leadership than non-family firms.
Family-owned businesses excel in promoting their vision, values, and shared goals. They present clearly defined mission statements and core values to their staff and clients, establish trust and confidence, and allow the business to develop and promote its signature identity. Internally, employees see core values as the foundation and source of stability in an uncertain world, especially now amid the global pandemic. Jarrett is proud to be a family-owned business. Our focus is on creating a company culture where employees feel empowered, the staff is aligned with our vision, and we are challenged in a high-performance environment to provide exceptional service every day. In times of adversity, this is even more important.
Our core values are constant, immoveable, unchanging, and a great source of confidence and hope to navigate the present and prepare for the future. Shared core values boost morale, inspire motivation to work smarter and harder, and make employees feel included in a part of something important. Family-owned businesses embody these ideals, and the end result is an exceptional level of client service, particularly during times of crisis and urgency.