Keeping Our Family Business Alive


How we’ve prepared the next generation

When Dale and Dena started Double D Family Mat Shop they put “Family” in the name because it was so important to them but they didn’t necessarily plan on the business becoming the family business enterprise that it is today. However, tradition, family, and entrepreneurial spirit have always been high on their list, so it was only a matter of time before the business would continue into the next generation.

In their own words here are three ways Dale and Dena have prepared their children to take over the business:

1. Give the second generation the freedom to make their own decisions. We have taken a step back to let our daughters run the business their way rather than dictating everything. We still have final say if we disagree with anything but we let “the girls” make their own collective decisions on running the business and planning for the future.

2. Promote family unity early on. When the kids were too young to be involved we sowed tight family bonds that will be difficult to break when it comes to the tough decisions involved in running a family business. Vacations, meal times, weekends—all were important family time—and as the kids got older, making business decisions became a natural extension of that.

3. Foster entrepreneurial spirit. We showed our kids that it is okay to go out on your own and do your own thing. Whether it was embarking on an international trip in high school, volunteering to be a leader in numerous work and school organizations at the same time, or saving up money to buy their own cars at a young age, risk taking was a normal part of life in our family. That spirit will translate into the willingness to take calculated risks in business as we transition to our second generation.

Only 30% of family businesses survive into the second generation. We’d love to hear what your family business has done to keep the business afloat despite the odds. Share your stories in the comments below and learn more about our story here.