Leader Letters are monthly letters from the Maintex Leadership team. This month, Maintex President Linda Silverman discusses what it means to run a family business.
While it can sometimes feel like large corporations are the dominant force in business today, successful family businesses remain a mainstay of the U.S. economy. The Conway Center for Business reports that family businesses represent 62% of the country’s employment and account for 78% of all new job creation. However, it also notes that fewer than 10% of family businesses survive through three generations.
That is why I feel so fortunate that Maintex is a third generation family business. Maintex was founded by my father, Ralph Silverman in 1960. Today, both the second and third generation of the Silverman family are involved in working for the company and running this business.
Read More: The History of Maintex
Family Culture at Maintex
Family extends beyond our founder and our leadership team. 19% of our employees have family members who work at Maintex. Our team members include brothers and sisters, parents and children, aunts and uncles, nephews, nieces, and cousins. In our social media posts, we often use the tag #MaintexFamily and as you can see, we are genuine in that title. We truly are a family!
I like to think that there is a reason we have so many family members working together. Many team members who work at Maintex recommend our firm to their friends and relatives. I believe this is because of our supportive company culture, the people we attract, and the loyalty we cultivate.
The Benefits of Family Business
As compared to other companies, family businesses tend to have greater longevity of leadership. In many instances, family leaders work for the company for decades. This results in organizational stability and continuity. In the case of Maintex we are in our 59th year of business with family members directing our firm. In fact, although we are not all tied by blood, many members of our dedicated leadership team have worked at Maintex for decades.
Another very important aspect of family business is an enhanced sense of commitment and responsibility. Personally, I can’t help but think about Maintex, whether I am on or off the job. For me, Maintex is more than my job; it is a 24/7 responsibility. There is a passion I feel for my business and our associates. I believe this deep personal connection to my work has led to a better understanding of our company, our industry, our customers, and the vital issues we face each day.
I also believe that this kind of thoughtful, diligent work sets an example for our team members. It demonstrates our level of commitment to this company, giving them a sense of security, loyalty, and an increased passion for the work we do together.
Managing a Family Business
Managing a family business generally involves plenty of flexibility. Our team members understand the importance of working as a team, which can mean wearing many different hats and assuming responsibilities outside of our exact job descriptions. This kind of flexibility allows each of us a broader understanding of the business. We all support each other to get the job done effectively and efficiently so we can move the business in the right direction.
I believe the most important dimension of being a family business is the aspect of shared values. At Maintex, these values were established by our founder, Ralph Silverman. They include honesty, a strong work ethic, loyalty, and charity. These values are being passed down to the next generation and are hallmarks of how every employee operates within our company.
The Clean Up
Maintex is a true family business. We have had the involvement of three generations of Silvermans, many loyal, long-term employees who have become like family, and several other families working on our team. Our family origins give deep personal meaning to our work and our family values are proudly represented in the culture of the company.